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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
At about 4:30 yesterday my wife calls me and says "you are never going to believe what is happening outside our window" (she was at work) ... A SWARM in a tree, right outside the window. So I start asking questions, how high up, can cut the branch ect and she says hold on and hangs up and leaves me hanging for 10 minutes before she finally called back.

Meanwhile I am loosing my mind trying to think about how I can catch it. I had no equipment and I am in a short sleeve shirt and jeans. I talked to some one here quickly and they said you need a full suit for that. Anyways I thought I would give it a shot anyways. When I talked to my wife again she said it was about 8ft up and that they would not let me cut the branch. So I run and talk to my boss and he says it's ok to go. I grabbed a box and borrowed a ladder from work and drove over there. It was a small swarm for sure. I am guessing it was only about 3000 bees. They were on a 1.5 inch branch and about 8ft in the air. It would have been perfect to cut but since that was not an option I just slammed the branch down holding the box under the swarm and 75% dropped down. I climbed down and shut the flaps. We decided that we needed another box, so my wife ran inside and brought out 2 more smaller boxes. I went up and slammed the branch down again and got probably another 10-15%. Then I did it one more time. So I had 3 boxes with bees in it. The last box probably only had a small hand full. And there was maybe 5% left on the tree. I grabbed a little branch with some needles on it and swept the few bees that were left around to make sure there was no queen in there. I was pretty confident that I got her. I was in go mode so I forgot to get any pictures of the swarm, but I think one of my wife's coworkers may have got some.

I drove straight home and it took about 25 minutes because of traffic. I think about 5 bees found a way to get out on the way home but I made it back with most of them. I set the boxes out and took my swarm box out of the tree and Started leveling a spot at the neighbors. Once I got the spot ready I went to get the bees. The first box with the most bees in it was pretty quite. The other 2 boxes were going nuts. I am guessing the queen was in the first box and the other boxes were trying to find her. I dumped the first box in and then the second and third. It went smoothly. They immediately starting fanning near the entrance and the top that did not have bars on it yet. I am guessing that is a good sign that there is a queen in there? I got the hive all closed up and they were coming in and out. I noticed that several of the bees I was putting in had pollen already with them. I guess that is a good sign that they were prepared for a fresh start. The neighbor checked on them this morning and said they were coming in and out. He didn't notice pollen though. I don't have a window in this little box so I am going to get into the hive tomorrow after lunch to see what they are up to. I am worried that this was such a small swarm that they my struggle. What do you guys think? is this to few bees to make it?



Fanning




 

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Awesome! I got my first one yesterday as well. It was similarly sized. A softball maybe. The home owner had two huge ones the day before, but didn't know anyone collected them.
 

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Hahha.. i love this picture of them standing around the gap like little safety engineers going ohhh man.. this will NOT do... get guys to close this up.

 

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That is awesome that we both got one on the same day. Keep us updated on the progress.
Mine had only a handful of bees left yesterday. I don't think they had a queen. We put them on top of our struggling hive and watched them find their way in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
At least they should do some good that way.

Alright I am not sure about this swarm now. The bees are staying in the hive, some are coming and going. What has me worried is that they are not festooning much at all. They are just kind of spread out on the bottom and sides of the hive. These pictures were taken 24 hours after install.

This is looking straight down into the back of the hive. You
can see they are just spread out on the sides. There are a
few hanging onto the bars but what are all these other bees
doing?


I found a 1"x2" piece of comb on probably the third bar back
(on the left of the pic). I guess this is about on par with
my first hive after 24 hours considering how few bees there
are.
 

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Neat that they're building comb already! Hope you get a nice "feral" genetics hive out of it! I'd love to end up with a hive or two of ferals before the end of the year to see how they winter vs. our packages from California.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Neat that they're building comb already! Hope you get a nice "feral" genetics hive out of it! I'd love to end up with a hive or two of ferals before the end of the year to see how they winter vs. our packages from California.
I wonder how many truly feral swarms there are out there. I am pretty sure that these probably came from a normal hive. Maybe not though.

I am pretty sure these guys are going to make it, at least for the immediate future. They had good size chunk of comb built today and are all balled up like I would expect. I can't see them doing this if there was no queen. I have yet to see her though.



 

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from my own experience on swarms, you are going to want a bigger hive, and soon. I'm in the middle of a nector flow and I have a 10 frame deep thats in need of some more room after 3 or so weeks. I'm actually planning on moving them to their new top bar hive tomorrow evening, should prove fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am going to start on the new hive nixt week.

After 2 inspections my worries are finally put to rest. Exactly one week after install I thought I saw some eggs and then on the third drawn bar I found my queen.





 

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Nice Congrats, Looks like a mutt swarm I caught, 3 distinct different colorations, and the queen is exactly the same color as yours. Enjoy, Good Luck. G:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Alright I think this little hive is at a critical point. The population seems like it has dropped a good amount since I last got into the hive. They have about 4 bars about the size of the one below. all have brood and capped brood so I do think they will pull through. So far we have had some pretty decent summer weather. We have had a good amount of rain but plenty of warm sunny days also. Things are in full bloom right now. The entrance is not super busy but it is pretty early in the day and it is cloudy and wet out. Comb production seems to have almost stalled since I last looked in here. I guess they are concentrating on feeding the brood right now.


 

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So about June 19th they should start getting a boost in numbers, right? As far as comb building goes, I think that's a function of 1) how much the bees can cover and 2) how many bees are tied up caring for brood like you said. Our packages stalled out, but as soon as the new bees started emerging, they've started drawing comb like crazy again. First orientation flight yesterday, about nine days after initial emergence.

I just caught a swarm yesterday, as you saw in the thread I made. Did you feed your swarm at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah the 19th is about when I expect to see some reinforcements. I experienced about the same thing with my first hive. They stalled out for a bit and then 2 weeks later they were booming.

I did not feed my swarm at all. From what I have read a swarm is prepared for what is ahead. They have full bellies. I noticed pollen on some of the bees in the swarm. If you have plenty of bloom I would not feed them. Mine have been fine.
 
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