Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First year Beek. Read everything in books and this forum...New hive of Italians installed very successfully in April 12. The queen went right to work and by day 31 had filled 80% of the first medium ( I use all mediums) and I moved two frames of brood up to box two and they immediately moved in. By day fifty three we were looking like a textbook growing hive, with brood, honey, pollen all where they were supposed to be. I've not been too intrusive, doing an exam every ten days or so. I have never seen swarm cells, although these active girls were building comb actively, including along frame bottoms, some of which I cleaned up, some I left. I'm a newbie, so could have misread it.

On day forty-nine I had added a second medium (three total), moving up two capped brood frames from box 2. The girls went right to it, but I thought I was now safe...they couldn't outgrow this much room and we are in the blackberry flow in Seattle....they should be feeling great....

So on Thursday, less,than a week after I added the last box, they swarmed. My neighbor found a huge swarm in his rhododendron. I called my mentor and he was able to recapture them...so they are now off to a new hive in his bee yard ..which is fine. A good result to what could have been much worse.

But, I feel mildly disappointed. I tried to do all the things we are supposed to do to avoid swarming...

Thoughts? Observations? Where did I goof....or did I? As you all say, bees will be bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I opened the hive yesterday briefly and my bee count is way down. The remaining bees are working actively but I'm down my at least a third from ten days ago...maybe much more considering hatchlings in the interim...the neighbor ( urban area) believes we detected the swarm coming from my direction before they settled in his yard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,263 Posts
You confirmed the swarm was yours or are you just assuming that, you didn't make that clear.
I agree with JRG,

How do you know this swarm was from your hive? It is extremely odd for a 50 day old hive to swarm. Absconds are much more common. It is somewhat commons for swarms to be attracted to bee yards. Guess it is the smell of the other hives. We were working in my yard last year when a swarm, not mine - we were working the hives and would have surely noticed, landed in a pine tree. That is not the only time a swarm has landed in one of our yards that was not from our hive.

If you installed your bees from a package, keep in mind that your numbers will decline from bee deaths due to old age.

Go into your hive and see if you can find remnants of queen cells. Also check for a virgin queen.

SHane
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,770 Posts
Maybe he marked them or they called out by name. First year hive from a package does swarm but, not after it has established unless it was so crowded that they had to move. How packed in were they? It might not be your swarm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,244 Posts
Remember, it is a box of bugs that don't read books or Beesource.

Bees don't view frames of foundation as more space. Empty combs are viewed as space. It could be you were just not quick enough adding more frames.

Tom
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Learn how to propagate from your best queens. Don't let your worst hives make drones. Mix in some of NWC queens in your mix. Then if they want to swarm, then let them. If they fail to re-queen, then give them one of your propagated queens. This is the road that I'm taking. I want to have some strong bees that can make it as feral bees in the wild. I hope someday that one of my queens gets to breed with strong feral drones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Maybe he marked them or they called out by name. First year hive from a package does swarm but, not after it has established unless it was so crowded that they had to move. How packed in were they? It might not be your swarm.
Thanks to everyone....now I am wondering if this was my swarm! We believe what we want to or think we should so I automatically assumed it. My quick look yesterday was hardly confirmation.....I'll do a full inspection later this week. My old queen was marked and should be easily found if still on site...

This hive was not cramped....it had been expanded right along and while the frames were new, they had syrup right along, took it readily and built comb without pause. With the addition of the third medium only a week before the possible swarm, they had at least ten frames to work with, not to mention the cells available from the first round of hatchlings....

Now you all have me wondering......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,021 Posts
Maybe they didn't swarm, could be when you checked the population appeared low because of the large number of bees out in the field in the middle of the day. Check them again just before dark and see how many more bees are in the hive at that time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
Swarms from new packages isn't that uncommon. Even for a package. There's a point where bees are emerging, you're feeding, and a flow is going on. They bringing in nectar, they're sucking down your syrup. They back-fill the brood's nest. They crowd themselves. If they feel crowded, they swarm. EVEN if you have a lot of empty space above (no foundation or no drawn out comb). It happened to me last year right at the beginning of the blackberry flow.

You'll know for sure if you have capped queen cells.
 

·
Registered
35
Joined
·
2,036 Posts
The blackberries started to bloom, the bees suddenly had an abundance of nectar, and no place to store it, so they backfilled the brood nest. It's exactly what ours did the first year too. Once the brood nest gets plugged up with nectar, the swarm committee will decide it's a good time to try pro-create, and a swarm will depart.

For a good idea of how much nectar comes when the blackberries begin to bloom, check out this scale hive, it's a live plot from one in our back yard. Hint, we saw the first blackberry flowers yesterday, and the hive put on 8 pounds yesterday. It's going to be very interesting to see how this progresses once the berries are in full bloom.

http://www.rozeware.com/hives
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The blackberries started to bloom, the bees suddenly had an abundance of nectar, and no place to store it, so they backfilled the brood nest. It's exactly what ours did the first year too. Once the brood nest gets plugged up with nectar, the swarm committee will decide it's a good time to try pro-create, and a swarm will depart.

For a good idea of how much nectar comes when the blackberries begin to bloom, check out this scale hive, it's a live plot from one in our back yard. Hint, we saw the first blackberry flowers yesterday, and the hive put on 8 pounds yesterday. It's going to be very interesting to see how this progresses once the berries are in full bloom.

http://www.rozeware.com/hives
To close the loop on this thread ( and thanks to all), I did a full inspection today and found three queen cells. Yes, they swarmed....and the brood nest was pretty full and there were still a lot of bees. I added a super since they are still packing in the nectar and pollen and we are full flow now. The old queen left plenty of brood behind...capped, larva, etc. the ladies are rapidly building a new boss. I gave them room and now they need to re gear and get the new queen goin.

I guess I let them get ahead of me. I'm learning and they are avidly teaching.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top