Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
897 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While I'm on the Forum ....

I persuaded a small swarm (2 handsful, maybe) to move into a bait box last week. They're coming/going and toting pollen (even at this late date; we're well into a dearth, I hear), so I feel hopeful about a queen being present. :)

That said ..... what're the best ways to give 'em a chance? My record with getting small swarms to flourish is lean (i.e., I don't think I've ever had a small swarm make it, after 3 years of catching swarms :(). Adding "mixed" brood from a strong hive? Maybe with a comb of stores?

Should I keep the Girls in their "lower" nuc (my bait hive is actually 2 nucs cobbled together) and add a full/partially full frame feeder (my FFs are 2 frames wide)? Or maybe keep both nucs together and merely add a Boardman feeder in the top nuc?

Maybe put any partly-drawn frames they've done into a deep, with a partition to limit their space, and add stores/honey/brood later as warranted?

S/ I just buy a new queen (if any are available), zap the one with this group, and go from there?

Maybe there're lots of options. Ideas/suggestions/anecdotes/warnings (other than "forget it"; then again, that could be legit, too)? :s

Thx a heap ....

Mitch

I should add: I have 2 big/strong hives and 2 borderline ones, and I had my 1st honey harvest (4 gal) this year, so it's not as if getting a new/big hive is essential. Maybe this is mostly a what-of question.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
It makes a big difference even to shake in some nurse bees from another hive. but a frame of near to emerge brood is a good boost. Open larva would just put all the nurse bees to work and they msy not expand further till they emerged, or there may not be enough nurse bees to care for a full frame of open brood properly. Otherwise you can just feed them, but I would make sure they don't pack themselves full. I caught a small swarm like that once and I just left it go. It did grow to about a dozen frames in 8 frame medium boxes. I wintered them in an old house I have and they did fine. Though it's been requeened a couple times, I still have that hive thriving this year, caught maybe 3-4 years ago. Also, feeding a small colony is possibly an invitation to robbing.

One thing about small swarms, they could be a virgin queen after swarm, or a supersedure swarm. Virgin queen means it will be a few weeks before it may be laying. A supercedure could mean it's a failing queen that was replaced. A supersedure isn't always a failing queen, but the bees perceive it as one.

I wouldn't buy a queen for a couple handfuls of bees. A good split from another hive is better, because you know what you are getting. If it was me, I would just let them ride till I see how good the queen is laying and decide what I would want to do with it, maybe add some bees or emerging brood to boost it if I had a strong colony or two.

Maybe it was a supersedure from one of your colonies. They can supersede without much notice.
 

·
Premium Member
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,888 Posts
Daniel's advice is spot on. I nursed a small late summer swarm ( less than 1#) last year to full hive strength this year. Feed both syrup and pollen in small quantities. Make sure that the entrance is protected either by an entrance reducer or robber screen. A frame of emerging brood is a perfect addition. You want one the bees are actually emerging while you watch, the fuller the better. It is possible to have this mini swarm as a full 5 frame nuc before things slow down in October.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
897 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's appreciated, guys. I'll give 'em some time and see what happens, then take it from there.....

Mitch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,557 Posts
In addition to giving it a brood bomb another thing you can do once you are sure the queen is mated (esp if it might be a virgin swarm) is to trade places with another hive during the mid afternoon. Don't trade with a hive that swarmed, its virgin might be out mating and will come home to the wrong place and that will be bad. The small swarm hive will get a big population boost from foragers that return to the hive which will really help the queen be able to lay more.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top