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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm enjoying some great videos of Michael Palmer at the National Honey Show. He explained a comb honey production technique where you hive a swarm, move the issuing colony behind it's original stand and put the hived swarm at the location of the parent hive. You'll get a new colony in swarm mode drawing out new comb like crazy and get the benefit of all the parent colony's foragers in full force bringing back resources to the new swarm. Lots of new comb builders and lots of resources coming in to maximize build out speed.

Last year I was lucky enough to be at home to witness a swarm build up in the air. I brought the swarm down and hived it. However I could only speculate on which hive it came from. Are there telltale signs you can observe to know exactly which of your hives the swarm issued from?
 

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Agree with Michael on this one. I've had a couple times in the yard, found a swarm in the trees. I couldn't tell which hive it came from, none of them looked at all depleted. Once last summer, the swarm was HUGE, and I'm pretty sure it was a same day find, they were gentle, didn't kick up much / any fuss and no stings when I got them in the box. They wouldn't fit in a 5 frame box, and were still overflowing when I made it 2 high. Left it as a 3 high stack, got 14 drawn frames in 2 weeks.

Whichever of the hives it came from, I couldn't tell. Guess it's possible they flew into the yard from somewhere else, but that's not really likely. Nearest other hives we know of were a mile or more away, and this one was sitting in a holly tree, only 30 feet from my hives.
 

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You could do an inspection and if you see queen cells, it would be a fair guess that it came from it. I just had one of my hives swarm, 10 days after I did a full inspection on it. I saw no QCs during the first inspection but about a dozen when I inspected after the swarm. I took one of the frames with a QC on it and made a split. Plus, I was able to catch the swarm. If it stays put (I put a queen excluder on), I just increased my hive count by 2.
Should I feed my swarm hive or let them forage?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for sharing the wisdom! Noticing fewer numbers coming and leaving a certain hive's entrance and reduced bearding is what I've always assumed. But I agree, inspecting the suspected hive would likely remove any doubt.

ericweller, don't feel bad about putting some feed on your new swarm. If they need it they'll take it. If not, they prefer nectar and will forage if they are able.
 
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