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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Grass Grass family Snout Plant Wildlife


Today I caught my first swarm and to me it seems to be a very large one. We put them in two mediums but I wasn't sure if that was enough room and was thinking about adding a third. I am a new keeper this year so I have a lot of questions and really feel in the dark at times. Any help or tips would be appreciated. Sorry for the poor picture. Sometimes cell phones can only do so much haha... I hope you can get an idea as to how big it was.

Thanks Scott
 

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Swarms seem very large until they settle and start to work. Unless it it indeed a very, very, large swarm, 2-10 frame mediums will give a lot of room. If you are using foundation, I would say no problem, but, if you are using drawn comb, I would not add a third. The bees need to cover all the frames.

Bottom line, I would not open the hive for three or four days, let them settle and go to work. Then decide if they are crowded.

cchoganjr
 

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I caught a swarm like that 3 weeks ago on the 17th, 20ft high in a drooping crab apple. It was a fun capture to say the least. Nearly filled an entire deep, 8 frames solid. Within a day I had 2 old combs completely filled with nectar. I added another deep 1.5 weeks later since they were on a strong flow. Looking at the hive yesterday you'de never think it was a swarm, so big 2 boxes 80% drawn. So keep in mind if you're on a flow they will quickly draw and fill many combs since there is no eggs, brood etc. Then once there is larva to feed and care for the activity outside slows down and population declines until the next generations hatch out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok I have another question and will have to fill you guys in with a few more details. We habe two mediums with frames right now and an empty medium above this ones. We used the empty medium kind of as a funnel so we could pour the bees into the boxes. I took a peek inside and it looks like at least half the bees are clinging to one of the cornersame of the empty medium and also on the inner cover... what can I do to convince them to make their way down into the two lower boxes? I was thinking about moving them away from my other 2 hives and then opening the lid. Shaking the bees off the lid and empty box. I was thinking they would crawl down into the lower boxes so they could escape the light. I was also thinking I could put some screen over the empty box (to keep them from flying off) and then they might work down into the frames? Any ideas from the experts? Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I also just peeked under the box and looked up between the frames (my box is on a expanded metal stand and I have a screened bottom board) and the frames in the bottom box are empty for the most part. So I think there is room for them to move down if I can convince them it is a good idea.
 

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If you bother them too much, they will leave. You can up your chances of them staying a couple of ways. Put a queen excluder (using it as an includer) between the bottom box and the bottom board for a week but not longer than 10 days. The queen can't leave so the colony stays put but the drones can't get in or out either during this time. Add a frame of open brood - they are less likely to leave if there are babies to take care of. Always nice to add a frame of honey if you have it. I've caught 6 swarms this year (did not catch one last year) in swarm traps. One was huge, bigger than this one. It was so big, all I could see was bee butts at night sticking out of the entrance. Usually I leave them alone for at least a week (my traps are nucs with 4 foundationless frames and 1 drawn out frame) but this swarm was so big I moved them the next day into a 10 frame deep. That was 3/30. Yesterday, I added a second honey super on top of the two deep colony. The first honey super is almost capped. I expect to pull it by the middle of next week. I love swarms! Good luck! BTW, if you want to move them down, knock the box and pour them down.
 

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Nothing wrong with filling it with frames, just don't leave it vacant, as they will likely start building their own comb off the inner cover. Bounce them down into the two bottom, then fill with frames, Then leave them alone for a week, then if you see they are only in the bottom two, you can remove the third, or manipulate the frames so that they are in the bottom two mediums. If they need three, leave it on.

cchoganjr
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I got suited up and brought a box full of frames which I was ready to throw into that top box. I got them one ed up and decided to just shake them into the bottom two boxes. They seem to be happy in their new double story medium hive. I'm glad I didn't wait because they were starting to draw comb in a Manu different types parts of the inner cover. Thanks to all who gave their advice... it sure makes jumping into this hobby a little less unnerving when you can get on here and get advice from the pro's.
 

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For hundreds of millions of years swarms have gone into cavities, and hung their combs down from the ceiling. Never leave an empty box on top of a swarm. Never leave frames out of a box. This is what you get. This was medium frames in a deep cardboard nuc box with cutout combs laid into the empty space:



 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow looks like a mess. I am glad I got in there, got the down into the two boxes and pulled the empty. I can tell that I am going to sleep better not worrying about whether or not they were going to move down on their own. I know if they are going to draw comb now they will have to do it between the frames.
 
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