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New Swarm

 
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mbc
Nurse Bee


Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 27
Location: Berwick, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:42 pm    Post subject: New Swarm Reply with quote

Collected a swarm (first time Very Happy )

Very big swarm too, filling the hTBH quickly (4 Weeks - almost full!)
Had first real look last week (as I've never opened a hive before, somewhat tentative)
Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
Every comb perfectly aligned to top bar & no attachment to side of hive.
And so not aggressive,
the only time they became at all aggresssive was when I sprayed
water on them to 'encourage' them to pull their heads down
when trying to re-position top bars. Is there another way to do this?

If the hive fills - there's so much food here for them - what should I do?
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CeeBee
Foraging Bee


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

PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:11 pm    Post subject: Re: New Swarm Reply with quote

mbc wrote:
...
the only time they became at all aggresssive was when I sprayed
water on them to 'encourage' them to pull their heads down
when trying to re-position top bars. Is there another way to do this?

If the hive fills - there's so much food here for them - what should I do?


I used to have difficulty getting the bars back together - ended up spraying far too much water, or trying smoke. Now, I use wooden 'shims' (same length as bars, I've got 4mm wide and 6mm wide), which were intended for adding to the spacing of bars when needed. I close bars leaving just enough gap to get one of these in, then insert the shim lengthways, pushing any bees out of the way. Then close more tightly. I then find I can remove the shim, starting at one end, and close the bars behind it - the idea is to keep gaps too small for any bees while doing this. If starting with 6mm shim (so bees might fit the gap), then can do as a 'two stage' process, going first to 4mm, then closing.

I'd say if it gets really full, then identify some bars with as near as possible just capped honey, and 'harvest' them. I took a total of 6 honey-bars this year from two hives in their first year - needn't have worried that this would be difficult - it was easy to brush the bees off.
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mbc
Nurse Bee


Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 27
Location: Berwick, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks CeeBee.

Excuse my ignorance please, but will some combs be just honey
and other combs just brood?
They all looked quite similar to me (and covered in bees), so how do I tell them apart?

I do know someone who's had bees but not TBH.
Thinking I should ask him over to identify which comb is which
when next I open the hive.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Congratulations on catching and hiving your first swarm.
Sounds like they are thriving.
Initially they will only make comb for brood...... they will probably build 10 or so combs and fill it with brood and then pause for a while. Those fist combs will most likely remain the brood nest and the combs they build beyond that, usually towards the back of the hive will be filled with nectar and ripened into honey. Sometimes you will get a much larger brood nest but if they have honey to spare it will most likely be at the back of the hive furthest away from the entrance. I would personally not expect to harvest honey in the first year, but I understand that the nectar flow in other places like Australia can be very abundant, although you also need to be aware that you may also suffer a dearth if you get hot dry summers, when the bees will have to live off those honey stores.

At this early stage, you will most likely have mostly brood with some nectar stored above it to feed the young. The comb will still be pretty fragile and break easily and whilst it is useful to have someone experienced show you which is brood and which is honey and nectar etc, a conventional beek, used to handling frames may accidentally cause damage/comb collapse as the technique to handle frames is very different. I would suggest that you ask to go along when they are doing an inspection and learn from their hive first. Also, make yourself a stand, so that you can put the top bar on it and take photos of each comb that you can study at a later date, rather than leave the hive open too long whilst you examine things closely. Also, try not to disturb them too much at this early stage, especially if they are following your comb guides and building nice straight comb. These days I put a swarm in a hive and don't really inspect it until the following spring unless there is a particular problem, but I appreciate your need to learn but try to balance that with what is best for the bees. Do you have a window in your hive? If not, maybe open it once a week, and just look from the end to see how much progress they are making and give them extra bars as necessary and do an inspection maybe once every 3-4 weeks..... I know it's really difficult because it's all so fascinating, but try to keep your curiosity in check as much as you can!

Don't want to burst your bubble too much but most young colonies are nice natured. They are too busy setting up house to worry about who is poking around. Once they are established and have honey stores to protect or at swarming time when they get tetchy, that's when their true temperament will show.

Good luck with them and enjoy.

Barbara
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Listen to Barbara's advice. The bit about the summer derth is very real. Spring and autumn are our good seasons. In winter our bees fly most days but collect realitively little so the chew their way through lots of stores. In the summer there is usually nothing for them to collect so be careful about robbing them, especially this early. Make sure you have some insulation under the roof for summer. Last year we had meltdowns in some of our hives.

I agree, all new hives are pussy cats its when they grow up and become the All Blacks that you find their real nature.

Cheers
Rob.
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mbc
Nurse Bee


Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 27
Location: Berwick, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara, great info.
Also, rmcpb - appreciate a more local perspective.

I'm dis-inclined to interfere with the hive simply due to lack of knowledge.
But the first swarm we received, a couple of years ago, was attacked by robber bees & by the time I opened the hive (it has no viewing window),
it was full of wax moth lavae.
It was a small & not particularly 'vigorous' colony but I don't want to allow such to happen again.
I'll settle for a peek every couple of weeks to make sure all is ok.

Our hive is at the base of a group of Ironbark trees (Eucalyptus sideroxylon-rosea - I've a small nursery growing Australian native plants)
and will be in full shade during Summer days, except early morning.
Of course air temperature will still reach 40C+ in the shade a few days.
What is the best insulation do you think rmcpb?

If I'd known that all young colonies are 'angels' I wouldn't have been so tentative!

ps Do you know Grevillea Superb? Flowers all year, and plenty of them, with lots of nectar. Always buzzing with bees. (Wattle birds love them too)

thanks,
Mike
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If I'd known that all young colonies are 'angels' I wouldn't have been so tentative!


I agree with Barbara and rmcpb about young gentle bees changing temperament as they gain strength and I think it is always good to approach bees with caution and not make assumptions about their nature.

In my first year beekeeping my little colony grew so fast that they swarmed and this year my late spring swarm also swarmed again. I have no idea when you might have your summer dearth and be past swarming time but if you have no observation window and have a low intervention approach then I would consider putting out a bait hive if you had time to knock one up, It will be handy for next year anyway. My thoughts for a beekeeper with happy bees in an abundant environment would be, enjoy and have a bait hive ready! but I don't know your climate so listen to rmcpb!

Kim
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