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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, my bees are bringing in such big loads of pollen, they're crash landing on the blocks in front of the hive. I actually saw two bees grabbing another loaded one and helping haul her up the ramp and into the entrance. :rolleyes:

Here's my question. My bee mentor thinks he might have a swarm about to happen and he doesn't need it. He's caught all he wants for the season and has offered it to me and I want it.

I have an empty hive body and plenty of frames available, but only six frames of small cell wax wired up. I figure that's enough to start them out, and I have more wax to put in more frames.

BUT I have no extra covers or bottom boards. It'll be a couple of weeks before I can make a trip up to Kelley's, so is there a way I can fudge a box that will work for them without the official equipment? We have lots of building materials but no time to actually learn/build the correct sizes of everything.

Has anybody fudged with non-bee-correct stuff before?

Let me know. If I can't work it any other way, I guess I'll just miss this swarm. :(

thanks in advance
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Any box will work to put a swarm in. You just end up doing a cut out later.

But you have a box. You just need covers and bottom boards. Any board will do for a cover. It can even be two or three one bys laying side by side without even nailing them together and a rock on each to hold them down, or, when traveling, just nail them down into the box. They need to have some kind of exit, which would normally be the bottom board. You could drill an entrance in the box and just use any old boards on the bottom. The only problem is they will eventually propolize the frames to the bottom board.

All in all, for temporary housing most any box will do for a swarm, within the bounds of common sense, ventilation etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Michael.

I thought I should be able to fudge. After all, trees don't come with proper bee-correct equipment. :0)

I have a ready source of queens just a county away--one of the guys in our bee association is raising queens professionally in conjunction with a state program. Would you suggest getting a new queen immediately? I would assume this swarm will likely be with an old queen since I've been told that is the normal modus operandi--the old queen takes off with most of the workers and leaves the virgin queen in the hive to rebuild the old colony.

I know you're interested in feral bees from seeing some of your posts, but I haven't read or done any real research on what you're doing or why. So since I'm new, if you have thoughts on a newbie requeening a swarm, I'm all ears.

Thanks, as always, for the willing help.
 

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>Would you suggest getting a new queen immediately?

Would I? No. I never do. A swarm has an energy that I don't want to interfere with.


>I would assume this swarm will likely be with an old queen since I've been told that is the normal modus operandi--the old queen takes off with most of the workers and leaves the virgin queen in the hive to rebuild the old colony.

The first swarm, yes, and this is probably the primary swarm. Afterswarms have virgins. Sometimes a swarm has several queens in it and I don't know where they all come from. I've seen them with an old (marked) queen and several virgin (unmarked) queens. I always suspected that more than one hive swarmed and the workers and the other queens got confused with all the nasonov in the air and ended up in one big cluster.

>I know you're interested in feral bees from seeing some of your posts, but I haven't read or done any real research on what you're doing or why.

My theory is if the bees are surviving the mites and my climate without anyones help, they can continue to survive in my hives without anyones help. Mother Nature has already done a breeding program for survival and I didn't have to wait for most of my hives to die to find the survivors.

>So since I'm new, if you have thoughts on a newbie requeening a swarm, I'm all ears.

I never do. Some operate under the assumption that she's an old queen so she should be replaced. Some assume the hive swarmed therefore that genetic line is prone to swarm. I think all bees are prone to swarm under the right conditions.

I just checked one of my hives yesterday that has a four year old queen. It's my strongest hive. Judging by the strength I honestly thought she'd been superceded. But there she was with a yellow dot on her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay, thanks for the info.

My gut instinct was to watch this swarm (assuming I actually get it) move into a hive with its old queen and see how they do and get an education that way. If she's not performing well when I see the brood pattern, then I can consider a replacement, or I can do it in the fall if they aren't nice bees. But I think to see one start out from an intact swarm as compared to the packages I've started would be a good experience for a newbie. It's very convenient having an excellent queen breeder right nearby. It takes a lot of the stress out of "requeen or not?" because I don't have to order and wait. I can usually just call the guy and go pick her up. So I think I will try it the Michael Bush way and wait and see. :0)
 

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I agree with Michael on swarms. Swarms seem to have some type of almost kenetic energy and the less you do to interfere the better. Having said that if after a couple of weeks her brood pattern isn't good and you don't see very positive genetic traits (good honey gathering, hygenic behavior, plenty of pollen, gentleness) I'd squash the living daylights out of her and requeen from a good quality supplier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Joel.

I will watch. Just hived this swarm tonight. I think I probably busted that kinetic energy all to heck with my clumsiness. But they're in a makeshift hive and hopefully they'll do okay.

The bee guy who helped me get them thinks they are from one of his hives and he thinks he knows which one, and he says they're nice gentle bees and have prospered, although they've been reluctant to move out of the split tree trunk he cut out to get them and into the box he attached on the top of it. Wouldn't you know they'd thumb their noses at a nice hive and swarm. I hope they don't feel the same about the hive I put them in.
 

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Sorry for not reading the whole thread. I made 2 temperary bottoms today. Take a board about the right size and level it. Set your hive body on it and trace 3 sides of it. Place 3 short boards(mine happen to be 2X4s) to make the 3 sides of a bottom. Then place any board(sheet type like plywood, OSB ect.) on top. It helps if these scrap pieces are close to size. With all the swarms I have been catching I have run out of BB and covers. Friday and Saturday are going to be nice so I will be cutting several out.
 

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Since I am homeless, (I live in an apartment now), I take my swarms and cut outs to my ex sister in laws home until the weekend when I take them to the farm.

She still has one hive of her own, but since she broke one ankle and the other knee last fall she hasn't done a thing with her hive. I think she is losing interest. :(

Last Friday I found a little afterswarm of hers and hived it in a deadout in her yard.

Monday I took a swarm over there and this time I found a nice swarm close to the ground in a small mulberry tree. I hived that one in about five minutes. I then looked around and found another one about twenty foot up in a tree.

Well, I was a little short on equipment, most of my stuff is in storage across town, but I had with me one medium box of PC that was used last year. I placed it under the swarm, found some firewood, and after a few tosses knocked the swarm clump right onto the box of frames, well, mostly. I placed a couple of pices of wood under the box to make a space under it for an opening and put a piece of plywood on top. I then watched as they fanned the rest of the bees into the box.

I have done bottomless hives in the past without any problems and this one will be ok until I get them to the farm for a bottom and lid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I borrowed an old bottom board from my bee mentor. Right now the hive is sitting on two concrete blocks, a piece of plywood with a 2X4 positioned strategically to support the feeder (I don't like feeding on the outside, but I have no more boxes at the moment), his bottom board, a hive body with a piece of plywood for a top cover and a rock on top.

I'm a little worried about mites. I have started my two packages on small cell with sbbs and they're only a couple of weeks old so I hadn't monitored for mites yet.

Now I've brought in this large-cell swarm and its on a regular bottom board and I have no doubt there are some mites on these bees. Guess I better monitor all my hives for mites this week. :0/
 
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