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Discussion Starter #1
I picked up a few swarms last spring and noticed they were more difficult to work when I harvested honey in the fall. This spring they are considerably hotter than my other non swarm hives. They are great honey producers, consumed less honey over the winter and really strong now....real survivors.

Their stings even seem to burn more than my other hives. I was stung a few times on the hand and experienced much more swelling than usual.

I am not sure the trade off is worth it because they are very difficult to work. How many of you folks collect swarms and are the swarms you collect hot? Should I expect "wild" swarms to be hotter than purchased queens?
 

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I caught a small swarm last year. It was my first. They are hotter than my other hives. The queen was young (she laid eggs in a pretty poor pattern for a month or two). The hive didn't seem to grow as quickly as I thought it would either. They made it through the winter and I want to see how they do. If they remain hot and or slow the queen is going to be replaced this year.
 

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My first caught swarm was very docile compared to the package bees that I had bought. They turned out to be a smaller colony going into winter and produced more honey the next summer than my other hive. They are still a smaller colony. The next swarm came from the first package the second year and acts about like the package bees did.
Robee
 

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Yep, caught two swarms last year, they went nowhere and where very defensive, pinched both queens and combined them with a nuc I had with a marked queen. They wintered well and are a strong hive. So I agree.....requeen.
 

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Let them get through spring flow and then pinch off the queen and have them make another, that is another part of beekeeping "selecting for temperament"
Bob
 

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Pinching that queen and allowing the colony to make another queen is selecting from aggresive stock.
 

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I agree with Beeslave. No sense in continuing a line of mean bugs. Pinch the queen and give them a frame of eggs from your good hives.
 

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They can still make cells from there original eggs from the mean queen. Order a new queen, it is cheaper in the long run.
 

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Re: Swarm Temperament/temperament in general

This is a very interesting thread. I started beekeeping just last year. My question concerns one of the two TBH colonies I have: I started them last spring from nucs - Russians from Sam Comfort. They both started off gentle but sometime towards mid-summer one hive started to get a little testy. Zinging my veil a good deal and one or two following me out of the yard over 200 feet, practically to my front door! Same thing with this hive when I checked them last weekend for the first time. Saw a bunch of hatched supercedure cells - to my untrained eye. Does this sound like it's time to re-queen?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I plan to requeen these hives after spring harvest. I enjoy getting swarms, free bees and interacting with folks that want someone to get the swarm off their property. I am wondering how many swarms end up too difficult to handle. I am also beginning to wonder if swarms are best left alone to do their thing. Lots of folks on this board retrieve swarms ...... I would like an idea of how many are too hot. Do any of you catch gentle swarms?
 

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I wouldn't mind requeening every swarm I get. A package of bees is somewhere around $75 on up. So to spend $20-$30 or so for a queen and to know more about her genetics and how old she is, I would't think would be a bad thing for the price, you're still coming out dollars ahead. I do agree that if you're going to requeen, don't use her own daughters to to replace her.

Craig.
 

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How do you feel about the idea that some of these queens might just be the strong survivors we need to create stronger hives? I wonder when I look at that swarm I caught last summer. It over wintered, is growing well, and I watched the ladies attacking a shb that was on a frame with vengeance. They are a little more aggressive than my other hives, but are they too hot? I want to give them some more time.
 

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Re: Swarm Temperament/temperament in general

They both started off gentle but sometime towards mid-summer one hive started to get a little testy....... Saw a bunch of hatched supercedure cells - ...?
There is your answer, the original gentle queen was probably replaced shortly after dumping packages and the second generation is what my retail queen guy calls feisty. I've seen it a lot that the replacement queens are downright mean, unlike the original - darn kids.
Buy a new one and requeen IMHO. :p
 

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Chick - the 'older queen' might not always really be the same queen, it may be her daughter.
For the record I brought in one swarm and seven cutouts last summer, I haven't noticed any more aggressive behavior from any of them. However I have developed occational real bad reaction to some bee stings...hmmm....
 

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Thanks, I'll consider replacing the present queen. As this is my second season of beekeeping, it's difficult to ascertain if it's my behavior and inexperience around the bees that is creating their testiness or that I've got some testy bees.

Then there is the feeling that it might be good for me to get used to this. I can't control what drones my queens mate with and if I take on this attitude, I'll be requeening forever. Yes, it's nice to have gentle bees but so far I can deal with it. Why not let nature select and let things take their natural course? I'd be very interested in hearing all of your views.
 

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Hi if they where queenless when they had the supersedure cells, they could be more aggressive.

Also remember if you have a hive that's too hot, the drones you are flooding the area with are 100% that queens genetics. You could in theory warm up the other near by hives with those drones.
 

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Hi if they where queenless when they had the supersedure cells, they could be more aggressive.

Also remember if you have a hive that's too hot, the drones you are flooding the area with are 100% that queens genetics. You could in theory warm up the other near by hives with those drones.
I only have two hives and to my untrained eye, I don't think they were ever queenless. Forgive my lack of knowledge, but why would queenless supercedure as opposed to queen right supercedure make a difference in the bees temperament? Or am I talking the same thing? :scratch:

Your second point is a good one.
 
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