Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Dundas, ON, Canada
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    Default Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Hi Friends,

    Need another quick advice if you may. Today I have caught a medium size swarm on my property, don't know where it came from, does not look like any of my hives. Anyway, I only had 5 frame nuc box on hand so I shook it in and they seemed OK with that (I put a couple of drawn frames in there, the rest is new foundation). I know that everyone says swarm may leave if they consider box too small, and I can put together full size box by tomorrow, so should I move them over right away or leave them in the nuc box until they outgrow it? The swarm was not large enough to fill full box outright, so they are not cramped or anything.

    Which is less likely to result in absconding - staying in 5 frame nuc box for a week or two or being moved into another box just a day after being hived?

    Thank you for advice as always!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    2,641

    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    How many seams are they filling? Not enough swarm experience to offer an opinion, but just how big the swarm is will help others. J

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    If in doubt, add a second story to the nuc.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Dundas, ON, Canada
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    If in doubt, add a second story to the nuc.
    I don't have extra nuc box right now, but could make one tomorrow. I guess the question then is- how many days do I have to provide them more space?

    I really don't know how to describe the size of the swarm as it was irregular formation spread across few branches, so not like a nice round ball that I could measure/estimate... It was not huge, but not small either... :-(

  6. #5
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Look at the bees now and see how many of the frames they are covering. With swarms, you almost always have three weeks. That is when it is possible to have new brood emerging and causing things to become more crowded. But, if your flow is on, you do not want the bees to be filling the few frames in there with nectar and become honey bound either.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Dundas, ON, Canada
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Look at the bees now and see how many of the frames they are covering. With swarms, you almost always have three weeks. That is when it is possible to have new brood emerging and causing things to become more crowded. But, if your flow is on, you do not want the bees to be filling the few frames in there with nectar and become honey bound either.
    OK, so if I'm going to open the nuc to look at them, wouldn't it make sense to move the frames to full size box at the same time? Everything I read says not to disturb new swarm for a week or so. Perhaps I should leave them as is and move them to new box in a week? Is that a safe approach?

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Popping the top and counting frames covered in bees or adding a second box are minimally invasive procedures. No need to pull frames and disturb the girls. If you want to put them in a larger box, then yes, I would wait for them to settle down and start laying. You should see pollen coming in about six days after capture if it was a mated queen. 10-12 days if it was a virgin. That is when I would move them.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Dundas, ON, Canada
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    OK, that helps. Thank you!

  10. #9
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    Jun 2019
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    Dundas, ON, Canada
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Caught the second swarm in 2 days, very close to the first one, but this time almost at ground level so placed a full deep in front and they started walking in. If this continues I will need more boxes/frames...

  11. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    I just had a look at your 10 day weather forecast. I think I'd be moving them to a single deep by the end of the weekend. It will be warm enough that the big box will be fine by Monday. Put the nuc where you intend to put the regular box. You can help anchor them in the meantime if you donate a frame with some hatched open brood on it and a frame with some honey/pollen.
    Zone 6B

  12. #11
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    Jun 2019
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    I just had a look at your 10 day weather forecast. I think I'd be moving them to a single deep by the end of the weekend. It will be warm enough that the big box will be fine by Monday. Put the nuc where you intend to put the regular box. You can help anchor them in the meantime if you donate a frame with some hatched open brood on it and a frame with some honey/pollen.
    Yes, it is in its final resting place already and they seem to be active, but obviously too early to see pollen coming in. My apiary is a bit short on laying queens right now (long story), so can't really spare the brood, but if the swarms continue coming in as they are, I probably don't care if some leave... It is our 6th spring in this place and I never had seen swarms before. Again they could be a bit deeper in the forest and I would never notice, but these 2 were right on the edge of the woods.

  13. #12
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    Sep 2018
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    if you have both deep 10 frame and 5 frame NUC be less disruptive to add a second NUC box, then in 3 weeks if move them over

    GG

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    if you have both deep 10 frame and 5 frame NUC be less disruptive to add a second NUC box, then in 3 weeks if move them over

    GG
    Yeah, I just figured I could "evict" (into full size hive) some other bees that are taking my nucs and use that as the second story for swarm nuc. A bit short on woodenware now as I went from 4 to 8 colonies in a short period...

  15. #14
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    Feb 2015
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    if you have both deep 10 frame and 5 frame NUC be less disruptive to add a second NUC box, then in 3 weeks if move them over

    GG
    That's a really good point. Do both. Put together a second story nuc box by tomorrow then do that, because you'll always need another nuc box anyways, its not wasted effort. If you had one now you would be using it now. You expect more swarms in the future and are short on wooden ware. Then make a 10 frame deep.
    Zone 6B

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Quote Originally Posted by dekster View Post
    Yeah, I just figured I could "evict" (into full size hive) some other bees that are taking my nucs and use that as the second story for swarm nuc. A bit short on woodenware now as I went from 4 to 8 colonies in a short period...

    I am with you, I am down to 1 NUC box. Doing a combine, and 5 to 10 conversion to get 2 back today.
    Thought I had lots....OF 5 frame boxes, those little buggers are very handy.

    GG

  17. #16
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    Jun 2019
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    One more swarm landed in my backyard today, but this one is in a tall tree, there is no way to get to it. 3 swarms in 3 days, it is not coincidence- something attracts them here. Can it be that they smell all the other hives in the yard and consider it "safe space" for stopping?

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    could be lots of things , Not likely your hives.

    Lay Lines
    geographically a crossing spot.
    They often rest after a short flight, are there hives about a mile away?

    We had a cedar tree in a row at my dads place, we did not have bees, every other year the swarms would bivouac there, odd and very repeatable, we caught several. And in the exact same tree.

    If you want it put out a decoy, size wise matching the swarm, let them find it , or they move on... Most trapped swarms were in a tree, found the trap moved in. this one could do the same..

    Now the trapping skills rather the catching skills come into play.

    GG

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Asheville, NC
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    Default

    I run all nucs.
    If a swarm is big...two boxes.
    If small, one box.
    Feed right away.
    In all this up and down weather I would think dry and warm would be attractive. Especially if there's food.
    I haven't lost a swarm yet. Caught three this year. All increasing.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Dundas, ON, Canada
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post

    If you want it put out a decoy, size wise matching the swarm, let them find it , or they move on... Most trapped swarms were in a tree, found the trap moved in. this one could do the same..

    Now the trapping skills rather the catching skills come into play.

    GG
    OK, thanks for advice, I put a box nearby with one drawn frame inside, will see if they express any interest.

  21. #20
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    Jun 2019
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    Dundas, ON, Canada
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    Default Re: Caught Swarm - Nuc or Full box?

    Quote Originally Posted by little lion View Post
    I run all nucs.
    If a swarm is big...two boxes.
    If small, one box.
    Feed right away.
    In all this up and down weather I would think dry and warm would be attractive. Especially if there's food.
    I haven't lost a swarm yet. Caught three this year. All increasing.
    Original swarm in question (single nuc box) seem to be bringing pollen in this morning, so hopefully all is good. Will try to transfer them to full deep on weekend.

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