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Hi, Yesterday I finally captured a swarm for my first hive and in my excitement put a thin leafy 20" cherry branch inside the hive. The stragglers had swarmed on this branch and thought it would be the best way to make sure they all got in... It is a top bar hive set up to keep the bees in the first half with some starter comb while they get settled. There is a feeder with sugar water they can access in the back. I have heard that I shouldn't disturb the hive for a week. But how long should I wait before removing this branch? Thanks!
 

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Just remove it and don't overthink.
It is better to remove the branch now than one week later and find how they build combs all over it (and create x10 the stress to the bees and yourself).
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Unless the branch is causing issues with the hive top not closing properly, remove it at your first normal inspection. Captured swarms often end up with quite a bit of trash dumped in the box. The bees will remove the small stuff but they may have difficulty with a branch!

Greg's advice is good too. Depends on where the branch is located within the hive.
 

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In a long hive such as a TBH the swarm will likely be clustered in one place, and you can remove a few bars at another place so as not to disturb the cluster at all, and remove the branch through that gap.

If any bees come out with the branch just jiggle it a bit when the branch is nearly out, to shake the bees back into the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Greg and JW. The branch is near the entrance at the front of the hive -- the starter comb is at the back. I am able to close the top fine. Anyhow I am relieved to hear your perspectives.
 

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In a long hive such as a TBH the swarm will likely be clustered in one place, and you can remove a few bars at another place so as not to disturb the cluster at all, and remove the branch through that gap.

If any bees come out with the branch just jiggle it a bit when the branch is nearly out, to shake the bees back into the hive.
Ok, this sounds doable -- thanks. It was raining today, but tomorrow I plan to check the feeder and will take out the branch.
 

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About that. New swarms like to cluster near the entrance, but they also like to cluster next to the feeder if there is one, and next to comb. Unfortunately in your hive, these are at opposite ends of the hive, so it will be a bit of a crap shoot figuring out where they have decided to cluster.

If there is a screened bottom or a window you could look through that, but if not, just have to very gently lift the odd bar to take a peek.
 

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FWIW - whatever day you decide to remove that branch, I'd suggest you do it as late in the day (say, 5 or 6 p.m.) as possible. In general, bees are less prone to abandon ship with night approaching.
Good luck with the removal - don't forget to make slow, gentle movements - think "tai chi". :)
LJ
 

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Hi, Yesterday I finally captured a swarm for my first hive and in my excitement put a thin leafy 20" cherry branch inside the hive. The stragglers had swarmed on this branch and thought it would be the best way to make sure they all got in... It is a top bar hive set up to keep the bees in the first half with some starter comb while they get settled. There is a feeder with sugar water they can access in the back. I have heard that I shouldn't disturb the hive for a week. But how long should I wait before removing this branch? Thanks!
Congratulations on your first hive. Remove the branch sometime next week at your convenience. Have a pair of bypass pruning scissors handy. You made a legitimate choice when you chose to leave the branch in to begin with. Don’t switch now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi, thanks everyone -- really appreciate the perspectives. We are having some decent weather today and lots of bee activity. Was hoping to see them bringing back pollen as an indication they've accepted the hive, but haven't observed this yet. I think I'll wait to remove the branch one late afternoon after I am more assured they'll settled.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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There is a good chance this swarm has a virgin queen and therefore won't be laying straight away. Could be as much as ten days or more. Pollen usually will not start coming in until there are larvae to feed. If you see what looks like normal foraging activity, the bees have accepted the hive you gave them.
 

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Hi, an update - after a week we opened up the hive to do an inspection and were able to remove the branch. It was in the bottom near the front and they hadn't been using it or anything. Several nice combs starting on the middle bars :)
 

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Nice work! The first hive is always an adventure. :)
 
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