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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
20 days ago I did a walk away split moved 3 frames of brood in various stages from egg to larva to covered brood. 1 frame of honey and 1 frame with a mixture of capped honey nectar and pollen.I was 99 .9 percent I did not take the queen in the split. I moved the split 30 plus miles. I placed those 5 frames and 3 additional frames of drawn out comb and 2 empty non drawn waxed frames.

Today in the middle of the day I hear a loud buzz and look and see I have a swarm taking place, it settled 30 feet from the hive about 25 feet up in a tree, so the swarm is very close to the hive and was there still as of 10 pm tonight. 3 days before the swarm I had installed a robbing screen on the front of that hive. I did this because the small opening on the entrance reducer was getting very heavy traffic. This hive has been fed 1 to 1 sugar syrup since the split. I have not gone into this hive to do an inspection since it was placed. I was planning on inspecting on Monday when the weather was better. I only opened top empty super where I was feeding from so hive has been undisturbed.

Tonight I had to pick up my 2 nucs. that were purchased in December. I have the 2 nucs. sitting on top of empty hive boxes that they will be transferred into with the same make up of frames and I plan to feed these also till mid-end of May. The weather predicted for tomorrow is for heavy rain all day.

So that's my situation and here are the questions I have :

1. with the rain is there any chance the swarm may stay in that tree and if so should I put some drawn out frames and a few drops of lemon grass oil into one of the empty hives I was planing putting a nuc. into on Monday or is it going to screw up my Nucs transfer if the swarm does nt return ( I am out of bottoms and tops but can replace by Monday ) or is it possible if I remove robbing screen or leave in place the swarm will return to the existing split ? I just don't want to screw up the transfer by introducing the lemon grass oil. but if its worth it will give it a shot.

2.Why did this hive swarm the only three reasons I can guess are A. I brought the queen from other hive and it just became bound. ( I won't know if bound until Monday) or B. I had old queen and also missed a queen cell with the timing to me this seems possible, so hive had two queens and old queen swarmed withal the hive and left hive with new queen.or C. they are bees they are going to do what they want.

3.The nucs. Are heavy but the boxes are well built screen bottom partially wooden and weather proof and plug was removed when I placed on there new hive homes with the weather being rainy tomorrow should I still try and transfer nucs. into hives and try and catch swarm in nuc. box. ( this way will not be adding lemon grass oil to new hive) and I can just see if they will go into the nuc. box with a few frames in it. I di d not attempt to transfer them tonight because I generally think bees don't like being disturbed in the dark, I didn't want them thinking I was a big white polar bear ....lol

4. all five of my hives are in a 16x8 stockade fence enclosure with doors on opposite ends to allow for cross ventilation on hot days am I over burdening this space with hives I have 5 hives spaced 8 inches apart with one space left for the sixth which if I catch the swarm is where it will go is this to many in that space.

Any and all help is much appreciated this is my second year keeping bees or should I say bees keeping me, keeping me busy keeping me confused but mostly keeping me happy.
 

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I've only been at this a few years, but can't resist chiming in. I've had some experience in the areas of a couple of your questions.

1. with the rain is there any chance the swarm may stay in that tree and if so should I put some drawn out frames and a few drops of lemon grass oil into one of the empty hives I was planing putting a nuc. into on Monday or is it going to screw up my Nucs transfer if the swarm does nt return ( I am out of bottoms and tops but can replace by Monday ) or is it possible if I remove robbing screen or leave in place the swarm will return to the existing split ? I just don't want to screw up the transfer by introducing the lemon grass oil. but if its worth it will give it a shot.

I've had swarms settle in just before bad weather, and they've hunkered down and stayed there. In one case of several consecutive days of cold rain, they built comb in the tree top and the queen laid in it, and they established a fairly impressive colony there.

2.Why did this hive swarm the only three reasons I can guess are A. I brought the queen from other hive and it just became bound. ( I won't know if bound until Monday) or B. I had old queen and also missed a queen cell with the timing to me this seems possible, so hive had two queens and old queen swarmed withal the hive and left hive with new queen.or C. they are bees they are going to do what they want.

Without inspecting, it is hard to guess. Take a look and see if they are honeybound, or if you see an open queen cell, etc. I tend to go with "C", bees do what they want, because I often can't interpret what I'm seeing to clearly know why/what they did.

3.The nucs. Are heavy but the boxes are well built screen bottom partially wooden and weather proof and plug was removed when I placed on there new hive homes with the weather being rainy tomorrow should I still try and transfer nucs. into hives and try and catch swarm in nuc. box. ( this way will not be adding lemon grass oil to new hive) and I can just see if they will go into the nuc. box with a few frames in it. I di d not attempt to transfer them tonight because I generally think bees don't like being disturbed in the dark, I didn't want them thinking I was a big white polar bear ....lol

Depending on the size of the swarm, the nuc box might be a bit small and not real attractive to them. If you can get a new hive set up tomorrow (Monday), then I would try that for a swarm trap. You'll eventually use the equipment anyway. I would do the transfer, even in the rain. If you have a helper to hold an umbrella, it should go very well. The bees won't be inclined to fly much. Just be organized and ready before you start, and move smart and efficient. No need to rush and rattle the frames and bees, but don't drag it out either.

4. all five of my hives are in a 16x8 stockade fence enclosure with doors on opposite ends to allow for cross ventilation on hot days am I over burdening this space with hives I have 5 hives spaced 8 inches apart with one space left for the sixth which if I catch the swarm is where it will go is this to many in that space.

I don't think your space for the hives is a problem. As long as your surrounding forage area can support the number of hives you have, you're in good shape.

Any and all help is much appreciated this is my second year keeping bees or should I say bees keeping me, keeping me busy keeping me confused but mostly keeping me happy.
I agree, the bees are doing a great job keeping me confused, but happy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update as of 10 AM 4/5/19 break in the rain temps in the mid 50s cloudy and more rain on the way. I transferred the two nucs into there perspective hives. This was the first time I have ever received a nuc that had a single Frame feeder that was packed with dry sugar so the nuc. is actually a six frame nuc. I have turned both nuc boxes into swarm traps in hopes of catching the swarm that is still about thirty feet from the old hive 25 ft up in the tree. I will be placing 1 drawn out deep frame in each box along with 9 med frames since I do not have any more drawn out deep frames. I will be baiting each frame with 3 to 4 drop-off lemon grass oil. I am planning on strapping down one swarm trap onto a 10 ft step ladder below the swarm the other trap I will be placing on my roof about 100 ft away and 20 ft up (wife is about to swarm herself I think) is this a good plan any ideas should I place both traps closer to swarm or farther away any thing else I can do to entice the bees to go to the traps? Any help is always appreciated and welcomed
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks for the input Greeny. I have plenty of food for them currently there is about 20 acres of dandelions and other weeds growing. I think when I open I will find hive was bound but you never know. I am hoping to wake up tomorrow and find the swarm in one of the swarm traps. I doubt it but I can always hope
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Swarm was there when I left at 6 am this morning but was gone by 3 pm this afternoon, neither swarm trap caught the swarm. Should I remove swarm traps will they cause one of my remains hives to think about swarming?
 

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Swarm was there when I left at 6 am this morning but was gone by 3 pm this afternoon, neither swarm trap caught the swarm. Should I remove swarm traps will they cause one of my remains hives to think about swarming?
I am confused between all that writing in your first post, but will leave some pointers here for you to ponder.

1. (Generally) Hives "just" dont go into swarm mode. It takes time for them to prepare queen cells, put queen on diet etc before they actually swarm.
2. With enough congestion (and genetics, and bunch of other reasons), some hives can swarm multiple times within days, leaving with virgin queens they held "hostage" in cells. I have seen that happen in my own apiary.
3. Hives DO NOT swarm just because there is swarm trap nearby. Swarming is results of multiple things but presence of traps nearby is NOT one of those reason.

Given all this:

1. Your hive decided to swarm way before you did the split
2. With enough congestion (and other facts) still present in the hive, after your split, caused them to swarm anyways
 

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By your post I am not totally sure which hive swarmed on you, but assuming it was the original hive, removing a split from a hive without taking the queen doesn't do a lot to reduce any swarm plans. The few removed frames can be re filled with brood and stores quickly in the right time of year, (now) especially feeding them syrup the whole time. During buildup time, their goal is to build up to swarm and you need to keep on them. This time of year I check every hive once a week at least. 20 days is a long, long time to ignore a hive. Swarms come fast right now.

If the split you moved 30 miles was the swarmed hive, it had a queen.

Don't delay getting them nucs in a 10 frame. They go faster still.
 
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