October swarm - help me keep them alive
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  1. #1

    Default October swarm - help me keep them alive

    New beek here with no bees except a new October swarm. I live in San Antonio, Texas. I've been researching and lurking lots of sources for about a year. I make all my equipment and all of it is medium foundationless frames in medium 8-frame boxes. I was about to take down my traps when a swarm moved into a bait hive in San Antonio on Oct 12.

    The bait hive had one medium frame of drawn comb tied in the frame in the center and 4 medium empties. They densely covered the drawn comb and drew new comb over 1/3 to 1/2 of the other 4 frames, also densely covered in bees, so pretty small swarm - I'm guessing 1 1/2 maybe 2 lbs???

    Day 7 I put them in a 8 frame medium and added 2 frames with tied in drawn comb on the outsides and one empty frame, put a top feeder on them and a queen excluder over the entrance. Truthfully I was so anxious I didn't find the queen or any eggs.

    Day 11 I looked at them much closer (there were still 10 things I didn't think to look for) , didn't find the queen but one of the frames that is 1/2 full of new wax is capped brood and larva. All the other frames are being worked except the new empty. They are filling the new drawn comb I gave them with clear liquid, honey? Some pollen. I took the excluder off the entrance and closed it to the smallest opening.

    They have been bringing in a lot of pollen all along and in the 5 days with the feeder took about 1/3 quart of 1:1 syrup. They drew out a little more comb.

    The only resources I have is a bunch of decent looking drawn comb I can tie into frames.

    My questions:

    Should I make them a 5-frame medium or two to give them better density, or wait and see if they fill out the 8-frame box?
    The 8 frame med they are in is the same size as a 5 frame deep. They should have some new hatched bees around the first of November. We often have pretty nice weather through November with some chilly spells. Some years I have gone swimming Christmas. Still 85 now but 70s & 60s around the corner.

    I'm most confused about testing for mites & treating them. I think I'm going to make an oxalic acid vaporizer that looks like a smoking pipe made of copper and you heat the bowl with a torch and the stem fits in a small hole in the box.

    I am ultimately going to move them from my small lot in San Antonio to my farmhouse in Ottine, Texas where I have a yard waiting for bees. I'm retired and spend alternate 3-4 days in a row back and fourth between the 2 places. Its about 60 miles away so easy trip anyway. So both places get about the same attention.

    For now it seems like since they are bringing in a lot of pollen I ought not to make them find new sources. Or will it matter? There are bees on my place, but I never caught a swarm out there.

    Thanks for any input
    Marvin


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
    Posts
    1,594

    Default Re: October swarm - help me keep them alive

    Feed,feed and feed.It sound like you are doing what you need to.Just keep doing it.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Deep Brook, NS, Canada
    Posts
    603

    Default Re: October swarm - help me keep them alive

    You can wait until they have about 80% of the comb drawn out before you add another box. You can feed 1:1 syrup as long as the weather is warm to help them draw comb, and watch for the pollen to dry up. You may need to add some pollen sub.
    I want bees that make up for my mistakes.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Deep Brook, NS, Canada
    Posts
    603

    Default Re: October swarm - help me keep them alive

    OA treatment works well, but about 50% or more of the mites are under capped brood and the OA can't touch them. The best time to treat would be about 6-8 days after you hived them, before any brood is capped.
    I want bees that make up for my mistakes.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: October swarm - help me keep them alive

    2nd year- Hived a mid August swarm and kept them tight. They are living in a resource hive in a 4 over 4 (half of those are full honey frames). Fed them ProSweet from MannLake from the get go and protein patties. Also did a series treatment with OAV. Moved their box next to a large hive for winter and wrapped them. They are thriving.

    Remember that whatever space you give them they will need to provide HVAC for. Tighter is the safe bet. Feed feed feed- protein and thick syrup- already inverted if you can afford it so it can go right to stores (ProSweet).

    You are doing great. Very exciting.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

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