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Late Swarm

1961 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  GaryG74
Got a call today from my beekeeping buddy that he'd gotten a swarm call but was in Atlanta, so could I go and pick them up.

Cluster was about the size of a softball and moved right into the box except for a hundred bees or so that insisted on staying on a twig, so after several tries we just left them, too much to do at home.

So I now have a small swarm happily ensconced in a nuc box in my apiary. I'll need to modify an inner cover since I don't have any to hand with holes in them (I keep the collection boxes solid), and plan to raid one of my other hives for a frame of emerging brood when I get some. In the mean time, I'll rig up some feed and see how they do.

Sorta late for a swarm, we are in our summer dearth until soybeans and asters appear in August, but I'll take free bees anytime I think I can get them to survive.

Anyone had success with a small swarm in early July?

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Anyone had success with a small swarm in early July?

Sure. Just be prepared to do a lot of feeding this summer. Not sure if it's worth the investment, but you can be the judge of that. There's plenty of time left in the season for them to build up and prepare for winter, but they will need a lot of help.
Well, my mini swarm has stayed put in the box, between two frames up near the front. I cut a hole in the inner cover tonight about an inch by an inch and a half and screened it so I can feed them with a jelly jar for the time being, don't want to drown them with a bigger jar. I'll put a square of BeePro patty about an inch square on tomorrow, it's raining again.

If I have a laying queen they should, with some nursing, survive. May never get out of the nuc box for the winter, but that's OK too.

Best of luck! I had a softball size swarm land in my back yard last year about second week of August! Talk about a late swarm. And at that point I had only started reading about beekeeping. I had made a crappy crooked deep hive body out of scraps and right after building that they came.

So you are better off than I was and looks like you are in the know of what to do. I bet they are in good hands and will overwinter with plenty feeding and care.
>Anyone had success with a small swarm in early July?
No not by themselves.
Basically you have a queen to make a nuc.

>and plan to raid one of my other hives for a frame of emerging brood when I get some.
This will make the difference. This late in the game I would add 3 frames of brood/nurse bees, anything less might not be enough. 3 frames might be enough to feed and not worry about getting robbed out.

If there is no queen then I would just throw them in the inner cover of a smaller hive and put a empty on until they accept their new home (20 min).
I've not had time to really check yet, but they are taking syrup. I'll look for a queen tomorrow afternoon. A very small cluster, about the size of my hand on two frames, but I'll be able to put at least a couple frames of brood in with them shortly.

Worst case I'll have to combine them with another hive. I may have a queenless hive, I'll be checking tomorrow, and that might be a good thing to use this swarm for.

My tiny swarm is doing great -- hand sized patch of brood on two frame faces and they are storing syrup and pollen substitute and drawing comb. I added a frame of stores (pollen and honey) from another hive today along with bees, so if they don't kill the queen they should be able expand rapidly. I'll need to come up with a better feeder arrangement until I can get them into a deep, or decide to keep them as an overwintering nuc.

The best part of the story is that the homeowner called and as ANOTHER swarm, probably bigger than this one! So I'm off to town tonight to capture another one, which will probably go to my brother's, I'm starting to get cramped here. I'll probably steal some brood from his hives to boost them up this time, hopefully there is another laying queen in that one and not a virgin.

At any rate, this is fun even if they don't make it.

Congrats on the small swarm doing well. Hope the new swarm pick up goes well too.
I caught two small swarms in July or August last year. Fed them and gave them a couple frames of brood from other hives (two frames each). They made it through the winter and took off like crazy in the spring. Both produced two swarms each and the main hive and the swarms are building up real good now. Sometimes small swarms are better than those monster swarms.
Found a nice fat queen walking around today. No signs of brood yet, but I have trouble seeing eggs in fresh comb. Looked like there were some shiny spots in that fresh comb, though, which usually means hatching larvae. I'll know more next week. Looks good, though, no robbing and the bees seem to be happy.

Other hives not so good -- transferred a frame of eggs into my brother's Italian package from this spring, nothing but occasional drones in there, so I'm sure there is no queen and I'm getting laying workers. Ditto for my big hive that swarmed, some drones in worker cells and nothing else. will need to procure some eggs from my buddy, dont' want to steal everything the Russian hive has even if they are going great guns (six frames of brood in a dearth). My Italian package from this spring is doing fine, plenty of brood, so I'll check for eggs tomorrow, didn't do anything with them today but swap the feeder out for an empty super.

Beekeeping is a blast!

Sounds like the swarm is doing great. It's a lot of fun and a learning experience either way it goes. Good luck with them and keep us informed.
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