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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I looked into beekeeping once several years ago, but for a number of reasons the timing just wasn't right.

But about 2 weeks ago a swarm decided to take up residence in an old hamper that was on my back patio, so it seems that the hobby has come looking for me this time. Rather than pay someone to take them away, I picked up a beginner's kit from Dadant with the hopes of properly hiving them.

And that's where I run into questions. They've been in the hamper long enough that they're settled in and building comb, but all of the reading I've turned up so far mostly relates to hiving a swarm instead of a settled colony.

Is it basically the same process? Part of the issue is with the heat here and the lack of ventilation in the hamper, they are bearding a good part of the day so some of them are inside the hamper and some are outside.

Right now my game plan is to get up around 5AM before they start foraging and they are all still in the hamper, give them a good smoking, and go for the open-and-dump approach. I assume I should move some or all of the comb they've built into the new hive since it'll have any developing brood, but I'm not sure. Any help is appreciated!

JD
 

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Hi JD
How far out are the wild combs built? Do they have anything in them yet? If they are just starting and there isn't much there, then yes, shake them in and remove the hamper and put the hive in place of it.

If they are built out a ways and have brood or stores in them at all, I'd cut them out of the hamper and tie them into the frames (frames without any foundation in them) using light cotton string, and put into the new hive box. Here again, remove the hamper and set the hive box in it's place.

After 3 to 5 days, you can then remove the hive box to where you want them to be permanently. Just move it at dawn or dusk and put some branches or grass or sticks on the front board as obstacles for them to have to maneuver around to come and go. That will make them reorient and they'll find home in the new place. It'll take them 3 to 5 days to get totally used to the new location but they'll be fine.

Welcome to the beesource forums, it's good to get another californian in here. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply! They're built out quite a bit, so I'll try to move over as much of the comb as possible. I don't know yet how much they have in the way of brood or stores, as they're usually bearding when I'm home and opening/closing the lid would result in quite a few getting crushed. But I just tried lifting the lid slightly and it is quite a bit heavier than a week ago when I last checked. They arrived on the 25th, so they've had nearly 2 weeks to settle in.

As far as the old hamper goes, once the colony is moved into the new hive can I get away with wrapping the hamper in a garbage bag and relocating it to another side of the property until the bees acclimate to their new home? I'm thinking it might be good to keep around as a bait hive.
 

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I agree, that hamper is a proven swarm trap, keeping it might be a good thing. I just meant to move it away somewhere, so the bees won't keep trying to go back to it. Bees program themselves on the exact location of the hive when they go on their orientation flights when they are 10 days or so old. Moving the hamper away and putting the hive box in it's place will keep the bees coming into the new box.
 
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