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I Think I Finally Hived My Swarm! Now, 2 QUESTIONS!!

865 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Andrew Dewey
Based on experience from a couple nucs I've installed in years past, my new hive (from nuc and hived 23 days ago) filled the first deep far sooner than expected. It wasn't foundation, but drawn comb instead. I guess I forgot to take that into consideration!! I thought I'd give them 1 more week before inspecting and, POSSIBLY, adding a second deep.

To my surprise, while eating lunch 2 days ago, I looked out the window and saw bees everywhere! It was like a cloud! Then, it almost looked like the swarm images in a cartoon! It looked like a tornado of bees! Suffenly they landed in a sapling about 25 feet in front of the hive. I let them quiet down a bit and the snipped the branch off the tree and shook them into a nuke box with 3 frames of drawn comb. At that point, I rushed into the house as I had an appointment to go too.

1 1/2 Hrs later, when I returned home, I checked on them as there was no activity around the nuc I put the swarm in.... It was empty!

I walked around my yard and found them in another tree about 40 feet up! I knocked them down twice and reinstalled them in the nuc box like I already did once and, again they left and went back into the tree. I did this 2 more times over the next day and they kept leaving. So, I sawed off the limb without sawing all the way through so it would drop slow to the ground. It dropped a little faster than I hoped and a bunch of bees were shaken off to the lawn.

The bees that remained in a clump on the limb I gently scrapped off with my gloves into a box and dumped them into that nuc box YET AGAIN! That was several hours ago! I think this time they stayed!

Now there is a lot of activity around the nuc, there is a pile of old wax and debris outside their doorstep now and, when I go down near it, several bees come right over to me and start buzzing me. As I walk away, they follow me for about 100 feet away before returning to the nuc box.

So, it appears they are cleaning up the old drawn comb in the nuc box and defending it too! So, I'm still new and this is my first swarm, but I think I hived them!

QUESTION: It is a 5 frame nuc and I have 3 drawn frames in it. When should I put the other 2 frames in?

QUESTION: My extra hives are 3 hrs away 1 way. I won't be able to get them back here until Monday night or Tuesday. Will the swarm that is in the nuc box be OK until then? THEN I will have my extra hive bodys, covers and bottoms and I can give then a new home with 5 more frames of drawn comb!!
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Without the extra two frames they will probably build crooked comb if you're not careful. Get the two other frames in as soon as you can. Sounds like you had a real circus getting them into the nuc. They can fill a ten frame deep full of foundation or starter strips in a week if they try as you saw. Watch the nuc closely or you may be chasing a swarm again in about 30 days. I had a swarm do that to me, swarmed again about 30 days after I hived them. Got honey bound and I didn't realize it until after they swarmed. I did manage to catch the second swarm though.
Second question, your nuc should be ok until you get the extra equipment. They will be ready for a full size hive real quick, just be ready for them. Good luck with them and keep us informed.
It occurred to me that one reason the bees might be leaving the nuc is that they find it physically inadequate - not big enough. You've seen the swarm, I have not.

In the past I have had swarms move into a 4 tall stack of five frame nuc boxes, and it looks like one may have moved into a five frame box with 4 drawn frames in it. I'll check for certain later this afternoon.

My usual swarm collection box is a 10 frame deep.
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