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Package in trouble and weak I hived my first swarm to save them

727 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Zbee
I can't help but get a bit lengthy with this, I tend to get a bit excited talking about bees. This is especially true when mother nature is doing her thing! Like any good story there is tragedy, drama, hope and excitement. :D

A quick background- I started 2 packages last year. One of them was running GREAT, I couldn't ask for a better hive. I even managed to get 3.75gallons of honey from them and they're running strong so far this season. The other died off with queen issues and me not being aggressive enough with the SHB. I started another package earlier this season around March 30th.

I checked on that hive a week later and the queen box was 100% cleaned out. Great first step.

I checked another week later and there was a good tight pocket of capped brood, no other larvae and the hive was trying to make their own queen.

This is the front of one frame, there were 4 queen cells on them.

This is the other side.

I gave them another week and the queen cells were all opened up, so I closed up the hive and let mother nature do her thing. I checked them again in a week and there were larvae in various stages. With some luck and a little help this hive will get going.

A picture of a swarm was forwarded over to me Wednesday night but I didn't have enough daylight to be able to get my things together or get to them. The only other swarm I tried to get was in a soffit and the home owner opened it up and they all flew off before I could get to them. I was quite nervous and horribly inexperienced. But hey, I've watched videos and read a few things, right?!

I got to the swarm early Thursday morning. WOW. Wow doesn't describe it, but man. Wow. The rest of the swarm came to the group and there were twice as many as first pictured. They were 5' off of the ground and it couldn't have gone better. Oh my gosh. Absolutely so very cool. No smoke, a handheld snipper for the branches etc.

I took a picture but decided to take another with something next to it for scale.

The only minor hiccup was when I clipped a branch and it popped another causing 2 good handfuls of bees to fall to the ground. I just knew with my luck the queen would be in there. I placed my nuc down (sidenote: That I made with cutlist plans from here last year, am I glad I did that! Thanks guys!!) close to the group on the ground with the entrance facing them. Almost immediately they started en-mass crawling into the nuc. I must've gotten the queen into it at this point. I finished getting the large group into the nuc and took a quick video of them making their way into the nuc.

The video is being edited in youtube to rotate correctly right now, so initial view may not be correct.

I could get by in a pinch with enough equipment for 3 hives but would have to make/buy more very soon. Mainly, I don't have enough room for a third hive as I put lattice around 3 sides of my two hives hoping to get clematis to grow on it to hide them from view of the golf course.

I chose to do a newspaper combine with this year's package hive. I placed the frames and dumped the rest of the bees into an empty hive body with the top propped ever so slightly so the ladies could go get some water etc. I wasn't able to check them until midnight but they were still there. Due to rain and 24hr shifts I won't be able to really check on them for a few days but I'm hoping for the best.

So, what did I do wrong or what could I do better next time?

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I am not experienced enough to offer any credible advice on what to improve, but you seem to be doing all the smart things and very purposeful in your approach. I just wanted to comment that those are some awesome pictures of that swarm. Absolutely stunning.
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