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Swarming!!! Right now!

 
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Trun89410
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Jan 2015
Posts: 29
Location: Gardnerville, NV, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:40 pm    Post subject: Swarming!!! Right now! Reply with quote

Warre hive, 6.5 weeks post-installation of 3# package. They had filled the top box and about 3/4 of the bottom. I just went out to add a new box and discovered at least half my bees in a swarm on a juniper bush 10 ft from the hive!

What do I do?

If I had another hive, I'd try to capture them but I only have the one hive with one free hive body, so I don't know what I'd do with them if I could get them into a cardboard box.

Pleas advise ASAP.


Last edited by Trun89410 on Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Trun89410
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Jan 2015
Posts: 29
Location: Gardnerville, NV, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:52 pm    Post subject: Idea Reply with quote

Maybe I could catch them, and dump them into the newly installed and empty bottom box, then add the other two already filled boxes on top?

Is there a chance they'll go back to the hive on their own? Maybe they are just bearding away from the hive?


Please reply - 70 views and no advice so far!
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Lacewing
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I am no expert, and especially with regard to Warres. But what do you want to do? Would you like a second hive? And do you know no beekeepers local to you? - who might either lend you some kit or who might like the swarm?

I would certainly aim to catch them and put them in the empty box you have, (not aiming to combine them with the others at this stage) or into another container, either to give them to another beekeeper or to get together a second hive for them. This though is based on my situation. I don't of course know whether you live in the sort of place where the swarm is going to be likely to find a good home by itself.
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Barbara
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi.

Swarm catching is part of beekeeping. It's not something you really expect to be faced with in your first few weeks but it does happen.

Recombining them will almost certainly fail. Think of a woman giving birth.... it's a one way process!!

Firstly, if they are still there, collect them in a box. I use a cardboard box and I paint the inside with bees wax, which makes them much more likely to settle. Place a sheet on the ground below them and shake or scrape them into the box. Turn the box upside down on the sheet with a corner propped up by a twig. If you have got the queen, the bees will make their way into the box and cluster in the top. Leave them until sundown and transfer to a new hive, plastic planter or anything else you have available. I placed some top bars across an old apple crate last year and a swarm happily over wintered in it and has thrown 4 swarms so far this season....

Got to go as another of my hives has swarmed and I have clusters of bees hanging everywhere!!

Good luck

Barbara
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Trun89410
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Jan 2015
Posts: 29
Location: Gardnerville, NV, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:20 pm    Post subject: Quick update Reply with quote

I caught the swarm yesterday afternoon then ran to the lumber store and bought some wood for a hive. Then I came home and started building. I hope to have it built and the bees inside it by midday.

I'll post another update if/when they are hived.

It's been a stressful but interesting experience thus far. Lacewing and Barbara, thank you for the help.
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Barbara
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations and well done!

Sounds like you are on top of things despite your panicky post!

The swarm will not need feeding as your package bees did.... assuming that there are flowers blooming and you don't have a drought.

In fact, feeding your package bees over an extended period, may have actually caused them swarm. I think bee keepers get a bit too focussed on growing the colony big straight away, rather than giving them a bit of help to get established and then letting them grow at their own pace in accordance with the seasons and flora. They are quite capable of over wintering on 2 boxes and I would probably stop feeding them once they have one box of comb built.... that said I don't have experience of packages or Warre hives, just swarms that don't need any feeding but I can assure you they don't come with more than a pound of honey in their stomachs and they build up just fine.... Compare that with the gallons of syrup you have given your package and perhaps you start to see that most of it is not necessary.

Don't forget to give the inside of your hive a scorching with a blow torch, to take the newness off the wood and then a good paint with molten beeswax or shellac if you are using that. Transfer the bees into it on an evening towards dusk, to reduce the chance of them absconding. Be prepared for them to have built some comb in the box they are in and have a plan to transfer that to the new hive if you can.

Good luck with it.

Barbara
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Lacewing
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So glad you managed to catch them! And you're obviously fast with the woodwork too!
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Trun89410
Nurse Bee


Joined: 24 Jan 2015
Posts: 29
Location: Gardnerville, NV, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:55 pm    Post subject: They're in Reply with quote

Bees are in the new hive. I just hope they stay in it!

On the plus side of all this, I learned I can catch a swarm and build a hive. Sometimes stress can be a great motivator, I guess.

Thanks again for the excellent and timely advice!
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