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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I have good tech skills doing cutouts. First attempt to move a swarm. Approximately 20,000 bees with queen in a Bradford pear. Temps in the upper 50s but they had been on the branch two days. I climbed a ladder, used a very wide mouth bucket and bumped the swarm. Drove 20 minutes immediately home, as the bucket had limited ventilation, but had the bees re-hived in a 10 frame Lang brood box within the hour. Provided them with some old drawn comb and two frames of honey from my freezer after allowing it to partially thaw (yes, I thought about the chill, but couldn't be helped. I located the honey frames on the outside frame positions). Kept the hive buttoned up except for a small corner in the entrance where I pried up the hardware cloth. Good bottom ventilation and two from entrance vents. Girls seemed happy and orienting. This was Wednesday. Temps rose to 60s by the afternoon. Down into the low 50s over the succeeding nights, until Sunday, then it rained and temps stayed in the mid 40s all that day with rain. Monday morning, I found the floor of the hive covered with dead bees and a fist-size cluster on the east side frame hoping for the sun to rise. Post mortem exam, showed a very few hive beetles, no evidence of disease, no other pests. Some honey stores had been consumed, but much remained. Nectar flow here has been delayed, but pollen is plentiful. Trying to learn from what I feel was my error. Poor bees. I have four other robust hives. Third season beek. Actually, this was the second capture I made that day. I did a cutout in the morning and rehived that colony for a neighbor that Wednesday morning (only to say, I am technically adept, theoretically bereft).
 

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Warm them up to be sure they are warm and dead ( thank you MB for the phrase). Would not think the cold did them in though. Any chance someone gassed them before you caught them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Salty, thanks. No gas to the bees. Local swarm patrol kind of rescue by referring beekeeper organization. They are indeed warm but dead. Only change I made after bringing them to hive was to raise it from low ground position to dbl cement blocks...thinking of the rain. Wondered if the cement blocks from Lowe's were treated somehow....but no way to know that. Perhaps coincidentally sudden.
 

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I would not think treated but possibly contaminated, returns placed back in stock? Mystery to me as well.
 

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If it were my swarm, I'd have given them a frame, each, from a few of the stronger hives. Frames with emerging brood, nurse bees, and honey/nectar/pollen. Definitely not give them any frozen honey. Check them to be sure they have a queen with them, if not, be sure to give them a frame of brood with eggs.
 

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OBG
Welcome to the club :) I am in SW Florida and I do cutouts, somewhere between 30 and 40 this past year. I have had the same symptoms on most of the colonies. Three to four days post cutout and they cluster on the sunny side. Nobody on the comb, then they all leave if the queen can get out, otherwise they die in the bottom.
I thought it was caused by SHB but I learned how to control them so they are not a problem anymore. Still my cutouts leave or die.
I have robbing screens on and a QE over the entrance. The entrance is a 1" dia. hole at the top. I put a honey feeder on the long side of the hive so only the bees inside can get to it. My yard is a mile and a half from anything. No farming, no residences, no commercial anything. Plenty of water in a two acre pond.
About one time in four the bees will never go back onto the comb after I get them to the yard. When that happens I put a fresh box and frames on top and after the bees move up I remove the bottom box with the brood nest and let them start fresh in a new box. Sometimes this works, sometimes it dosen't.
Most of the beeks here that do cutouts and chase swarms have the same problems, Most of them dont like to talk about it tho.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to all who took the interest and replied. We can only improve our outcomes the collective knowledge of those more experienced. Enjoy Spring!
 

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Your bees starved to death.Next time you put in a frame of honey ,scrap the cappings off.The bees don't have the energy to uncap the honey or put in a frame feeder sugar and water mix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Arnold, that's pretty much spot on I think. First swarm for me. Usually there's both capped and uncapped in a cutout. Expensive lesson I feel badly about. Thank you.
 
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