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Newby gets a swarm from his new bees..Why?

2390 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  honeyshack
I purchased a package of Italian bees installed them on april 8 th fed them gave them plenty of room and ventilation. They built up quickly as I was adding my second brood box in the 1st half of may. they drew out 7-10 frames so I added a queen excluder and my first super.About 10 days later they swarmed.I have 98% of my bees left as the swarm finally landed in a tree out of reach "of course" but was only the size of a tennis ball maybe. They held this position long enough for me to get my ladder and within 5 minutes they were gone.Lots of capped brood ,uncapped brood and tons of workers and drones. there were about 5 swarm cells that I counted.I put it all back togeather and am now sitting on my hands..Does anyone think the queen excluder pissed them off that's why they swarmed? Why was the ball of bees in the tree so small? Now what? Thank's for any and all help on the matter..
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Ididn'tdoit -- Obviously you DID

Who knows why the ball was so small
Now what -- It is time to check the BOTTOM brood box. Is there a layer of honey across the top of it ? Is the upper brood box full of nectar ? If the answer to either of these is yes then you must fix it or your new queen(s) will also swarm quickly.
i would removed the excluder if the foundation above it its not drawn, espicially if its a first year hive. If you refuse to remove tghe excluder move a few frames from the brood box up to encourage the bees to move up and give empty frames to the brood box.
toss the excluder the first year - they really dont like to draw wax above it -
just add supers the first year

also dont worry about the queen laying in the super- she just needs room to lay - just add another super once they have drawn out the first one 80%

as far as the honey bound - ive done a lot of things to fix it- a quick and easy way is to just take a spacula and scrap it off into a bowl - and take it home - then move the frames around - so that there is open comb in the center area of the brood area - that way she can lay -- as i said - drawn open comb - not foundation - they cant build it fast enough to please a queen at this point

also - when a hive swarms - they have made that idea up about 17 days ago
so if they swarm - think back about 2 weeks ago and think .....what should i have done ????

hope this helps
Thank's for the advice. Here is what I found in detail. The one and only super I had was the one directly above the the "swarm inducer" I mean queen excluder.{1st }The bees had pretty much done nothing in that super the whole ten day's or so that it was on.{2nd} The second deep hive body is absoloutly jam packed with workers drones and larva tons capped and some uncapped.{3rd} The lower deep hive body is darn near compleatly empty. They have drawn out 95% of the comb on the pierco frames in both brood boxes though. In the upper deep there is some pollen and some wet stuff that I gather to be nectar. Not too much though. I would have to guess that that upper deep is around 50 + pounds. As i said before the lower deep is drawn out but mostly empty. there is some "honey" stores up around the corners of some of the frames but nothing too impressive. I use the term honey loosly because this is the sugar water stores that they packed away when Iwas still feeding them. I removed the excluder left the swarm cells alone except for accidentally crushing 2 of them, I still have a couple left though. The upper brood box is so incredibly full of bees and the bottom is absoloutly empty I was thinking of reversing the boxes to make them feel like they have more room. I know bees like to build up so wouldn't that be a good idea? Please let me know what you all think. Thank's.. Jimmy
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rotate the boxes, however, move two or three frames of brood to the empty brood box to encourage the bees.
More than likely the empty brood box is empty cause the bees all hatched, and since the queen left the building many days ago, you now have an empty box.

Your small swarm is probably an after swarm. You probably lost the big one!

If you do not take care of those swarm cells, you will probably have more after swarms. I would leave only one carefull not to damage it...also GENTLY check the swarm cell you are keeping. very carefully check the bottom. Some time the cap is still on, but the queen vacated.

If the end of the swarm cell looks a can opener opening a can, she is out. I have had cells where the queen left a small end not chewed, the "lid" closed over after she left.

Queen excluders work if used with some ingenuity. Place one frame of capped brood above the excluder to encourage the bees to move through it...make sure the queen stays in the bottom. And, if your frames are not drawn, spray with some sugar water to encourage the bees.
With the excluder, you can also turn it 90*. Normally but not 100% it will keep the queen in her place...not always... but it will give the bees space to move between the brood chamber and the honey super

You really do not want the queen laying in the honey supers...

1. as she lays in the super, the comb darkens and will darken you honey.
2. brood equalls pollen, your honey super will have pollen in it. Again darkening the comb.
3. honey supers with no brood in it has less of a chance with small hive beetles. If you are in an area with small hive beetles, they will damage your honey supers
4. If there is brood in a honey super, it is harder to remove the bees when you want to pull honey because they will want to stay with the brood. In essence a headache.
5. and this is a big one...If you manage your hives right, there is absolutely no reason why the queen should need the space to lay eggs in a honey super. It means that the brood chamber is to packed with honey. Get that hoeny out of the chamber and into the super.

Lastly, bees consume most of the syrup you give them in the spring. Rarely is there syrup in the brood chamber if you do it and time it right. More than likely, what you see is nectar that has not been dried and capped. It will run when not dried an capped

Best of luck
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