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Caught Swarm

 
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Ligfiets
New Bee


Joined: 23 Apr 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Norfolk, United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 9:02 am    Post subject: Caught Swarm Reply with quote

Caught my first swarm yesterday from a neighbours garden. Got them all in my box but there were many bees still flying, so left a small entrance hole open for them and said I would go back in the evening to collect them after they had all settled in. Lots of fanning around the entrance so I was pretty sure the queen was in there. On collecting, they had flown. Would it have helped if I had put a strip of queen excluder over the entrance? I've still a lot to learn I'm afraid. Brian. Sad
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Brian

Sorry to hear you had a success and then failure. Swarm catching can be frustrating like that so don't take it personally.

It sounds like you arrived on the scene at the point at which they had already located a new home and the decision to move was only delayed by your attempt to catch them. If the box was bee tight apart from the hole you put in it then yes, a piece of queen excluder over it would have prevented them leaving assuming you were confident that you had the queen inside. They often fan for a while even if the queen is not there and the bees left in the original site will fan too and whichever has the strongest support will win out. If you put the queen excluder on and you don't have the queen in the box then you will lose them even if the colony decides that the box is a good option for a new home. I've dropped them into a box before and they have returned to the tree and then come back down into the box. Each one is different, so whilst the queen excluder can be helpful, it can also work against you, which is why most of us don't bother.

Also, I believe the queen is "starved" prior to swarming to enable her to fly better, so it is entirely possible that she could pass through a queen excluder in that slimline state.

Hopefully, you will get another chance of a swarm soon.

Regards

Barbara
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CeeBee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 104
Location: UK, Cambridge, Milton

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last year, I collected my first ever swarm, and put in a TBH the next day. After a few hours, they all swarmed out again, and clustered in my apple tree. I re-hived them, but again, they were off after an hour or two, this time out of the garden completely.

So perhaps, as Barbara says with yours, the swarm had already found a good place, and (not being moved far) was determined to move to it.

This year, I've collected 3 swarms and hived them, and all have stayed. Only difference to hive is that I've got a bottom-board below the mesh floor - not saying this made any difference, but some people say they might not like the open-looking appearance of a mesh floor until they have settled.
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Fuzzy Bear
Guard Bee


Joined: 20 Jun 2009
Posts: 70
Location: UK, Kent, sandwich

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happens to us all. Often it's the swarms that you have spent hours risking life and limb at full stretch on a ladder to collect. Sometimes they have made up their mind and are ready to go. Better luck next time.
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Ligfiets
New Bee


Joined: 23 Apr 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Norfolk, United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 10:11 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies. All very helpfull. I have since had a swarm passed on to me, installed them in my TBH and they are settling in nicely. Thanks again, Brian.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you have got one now.

I too have had Absconding Swarm Syndrome and as others have said, it is something that just seems to happen. There doesn't seem to be any pattern to it or if there is it is too obscure for me and many more experienced beekeepers to spot it.
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