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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a swarm move into an empty hive that I had sitting next to my occupied hive. The empty hive was from a deadout from SHB. They are covering about 3 frames, I see lots of larvae in different stages and eggs. They are also brining in nectar and have about 2 frames of capped honey. I left them alone otherwise. I just wanted to check them. Their manner was quite friendly. No running or aggressiveness from them. Although they are a bit smaller in size compared to my existing hive. Hubby calls the bees in my existing hive chunkers. They are just well endowed and curvey. I took a quick peek into the existing hive. The brood box is filled to the brim. The are moving up to second box and putting honey and pollen there. They look good so far. No need to expand them yet. I want to keep a strong population because of the SHB, so I basically keep the entrance small and keep just enough space for them to expand before I add another box, or move the frames around. The small hive beetle are bad here, even with the oil traps and everything. I lost 2 hive to them so far. Nasty little buggers.
Joyce
 

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Joyce, if the bees are smaller than your existing colony you may have survivor bees that have been in the wild long enough to be regressed, if so they may be able to control the pests better than your other bees. Not because they are regressed but because they have survived without help. I started out with three hives from commercial packages, and later picked up some local survivor swarms, it didn't take long for the three commercial colonies to die off, but six years and many hives later the feral bees are doing just fine. I would watch them closely they may be your future breeding stock.
 

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jwhatman....Very curious, where did your first, or perhaps I should say existing bees come from? All my bees are ferals (swarms, removals, etc) , and my mother, who is a new beek in Mass, always comments how little my bees are compared to hers. Hers were packages from GA.

And yes....SHB are AWFUL down here...as are wax moth. I keep counting my blessings that varroa are of minimal concern in my feral bee world. As it sounds you already know, a strong hive will keep SHB and wax moth at bay....but once weak, watch out! And it sure does happen quickly! :eek:
 

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Keep this group a little crowded if possible. Two years ago I lost a couple of frames to SHB's (SLIMED). I put in beaucoups of traps in a knee-jerk reaction, 2 per box. Last year I did not use a single trap, but made sure that where there was either brood or stores there were a good many bees. I did pull and discard one frame as there were few bees and loads of SHB's. Other than that, while SHB's were there, the number of bees kept them in control.

I caught a swarm in mid-May; it is my best of my 4 colonies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The original bees are from a breeder in Georgia, good producers, fairly nice, except the usual times, and easy to work. I am finding out that I have to keep the boxes crowded to keep the SHB under control. I tried The oil traps, and a few other things, it doesn't seem to help. But keeping the hives crowded and letting the girls sort it out seems to be the trick. Even when I had them in full sun they were inundated with SHB. The little swarm is doing well. I really can't wait to see what will happen with them. I didn't get into beekeeping for the honey, I got into it for the understanding. I love to just sit out there and watch and learn what they are doing. It's my idea of a science experiment.
Joyce
 
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