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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey- any ideas?
My one and only hive deaded out earlier this winter. I de-corpsed it, and left it open, it has been visited the last few weeks by a few feral robbers (not the Italians that died off, these were darker and smaller). Didn't get too excited about them, as there weren't many, and it's a while until I get my replacement bees.
It turned cold and rainy again last week, and I took the opportunity to close up the hive. Peeked in today just to keep an eye open for moths and such, and there was a new cluster, probably a few hundred, and nobody anxious to fly off to wherever 'home' is. It was too late in the day to do a real-live look-through, and they weren't so happy to have visitors. Could I have picked up a swarm even though nothing is blooming except the maples? Do I shake 'em out and tell them to get lost, or wait and see what happens?
 

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Sounds like a swarm. Smoke them and lift the frames out and look for a queen, If she is there, reduce the entrance and put a hive top feeder on it, with 2 to 1 sugar syrup. Might also consider a nuc, if you have one, and put a division board feeder inside. On your entrance reducer, make the hole small, like 3/8", as the weak hive will not be able to defend anything larger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, I'll be.
Was hoping for a swarm later, wanted to give the feral stock a try.
Yep, there's a nuc box on order.
Still LOTS of honey in the frames, surely that's what attracted them in the first place.
I will reduce the entrance, don't want to lose my 'free' bees.
Is this fun or what.
 

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I’ve heard that here on this sight before, however my understanding is that you do it when you are doing inspections or taking off honey supers I don’t think ya leave the tops off for any length of time, but then I am wrong a lot. Just ask my wife..
P.S. Do a search on robber screens. Hope this helps.
 

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Do not expect that small cluster to be a swarm. Even bees that do not like each other (from different source colonies) will cluster for the mutual benefits. If you closed in robbers, what you see is what you get.

In the late winter period, before field forage is readily available, scouts are looking for the less fortunate weaker colony to rob. Prime robbing season. A deadout is a gimme. They jump on it.

In OH, it's much too early for swarms of any kind - even absconds. Keep them penned up. Any survivers will add to the population of your new bees, and they won't eat much.

Walt
 

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Do not expect that small cluster to be a swarm. Even bees that do not like each other (from different source colonies) will cluster for the mutual benefits. If you closed in robbers, what you see is what you get.

In the late winter period, before field forage is readily available, scouts are looking for the less fortunate weaker colony to rob. Prime robbing season. A deadout is a gimme. They jump on it.

In OH, it's much too early for swarms of any kind - even absconds. Keep them penned up. Any survivers will add to the population of your new bees, and they won't eat much.

Walt
 

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I have picked up swarms as small as a baseball. I presently have a working hive that was started from one this small. LOOK FOR THE QUEEN! No more bees than that, it should not be hard to find her.
 

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Bees seem to know what they are doing, if there is no way for a queen to get mated I don't believe they will send out a swarm. Of course I could be wrong too. but a swarm with a virgin queen, and no way to get mated is no swarm at all, at least not for long.
 
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