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cast swarms- what to do with them? urgent!

 
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heathervale
Nurse Bee


Joined: 19 Jun 2015
Posts: 27
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:50 pm    Post subject: cast swarms- what to do with them? urgent! Reply with quote

There are many bees in the air just now and they seem to be settling in 2 locations.
We have 2 hives and there is alittle room in each.
one hiveTBH has the original queen and not many bees,plus in one end using a rear entrance we shook a cast swarm only 3 days ago. There is room for a nucleus at the other end.

Can we simply shake cast swarm in with one of the smaller colonies and let the queens sort themselves out????
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a bee inspector and to be honest I'm not sure how frequently, if at all, the nominated bee inspector visits this forum now, but I see that you have posted this query on a number of different threads which suggests you are desperate for an answer.

Personally I like to keep casts separate and unite if necessary at a later stage. I find it advantageous to do that so that I have spare queens if I need them.
You sound like you are struggling for space in your hives. Casts can be temporarily housed in a plastic flower planter or even a large terracotta planter with top bars across the top and then a piece of plywood or even a sheet of rigid plastic and a brick on top to keep the rain out.

If you put them back into the parent colony, they will most likely swarm again tomorrow or the next day.

If you decide to unite them with another cast, give them a good dusting with icing sugar before you tip them in. There is a risk that the virgin queens will damage each other, but that is also a risk within the parent hive. It's nature.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Barbara
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

of course you can let the queens sort it out, but what if the poorer queen wins, not a good thing,

in future, if you know 100% that the swarm came from your hive, rather than boxing the swarm, find the queen and remove her, all the bees will return to their hive
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finding a virgin queen in a cast swarm is not easy for an experienced beekeeper, let alone a novice, so I'm not sure that advice is helpful.

Quote:
of course you can let the queens sort it out, but what if the poorer queen wins, not a good thing,


Quote:
find the queen and remove her


Surely you are contradicting yourself. What if you remove the stronger queen? You have no way to know how good a virgin queen will be or what the remaining virgin queens in the hive will be like, so removing her from the swarm (if you can find her) is no better solution and if there is more than one virgin queen left in the hive, they will still swarm again because it is the volume of flying bees that prompt it. Surely natural selection by fighting it out is better than an arbitrary selection by the beekeeper.
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara wrote:


Surely you are contradicting yourself.


it was my tongue in cheek humor barb, it really meant you'd be mad to chuck two colonies in together and let them sort it out.

as for finding queens, there's no better time to learn to spot them when in a swarm rather than in the hive, as the swarm is less likely to sting, the queen will be constantly moving over and through the swarm, if you just take a few minutes to look, they are quite easy to spot, far better than trying to find once in a hive

https://youtu.be/pnLihpTpS_g
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heathervale
Nurse Bee


Joined: 19 Jun 2015
Posts: 27
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:00 pm    Post subject: Cast swarms Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply. It really is wonderful to be able to ask questions and have them answered.
We have put our 3 cast swarms into the ends of the hives with a view to combining at a later stage, but there is no room to feed them. How essential is feeding? There is Fuchsia,Heather and blackberry flowers in abundance.
Where would it be best to post questions of an urgent nature?
Loved catching the cast swarms, all very exciting, only hope the bees manage.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swarms, even cast swarms, should not need feeding if they have been captured and hived the day they emerged, They will have full honey stomachs that will last them several days and after that there should be plenty of natural forage for them. As you say, the blackberries are flowering and around here there is lots of meadowsweet and the himalayan balsam is just starting. Do you have any of that near by?

Keep an eye on them and if they start to look like they are struggling then be prepared to put a feeder in with them. A jam jar doesn't take up much space and can be placed in the hive with the bees or on top of a top bar with a hole in it, if you are really tight for space.

Well done for capturing them. It is a great feeling of achievement catching swarms. It always gives me a thrill!
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heathervale
Nurse Bee


Joined: 19 Jun 2015
Posts: 27
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara.Both swarms were captured as soon as they had all settled,so within an hour or so of swarming!
There is loads of meadowsweet in our fields!
We are away from Thursday for 10 days so will probably have to just let them manage till we get back....
How would we tell if they are struggling?

Thanks for the praise! Smile
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meadowsweet has pretty lime green pollen so look out for that... probably when you come back though, as it will take a few days for the queen to mate and start laying,

Struggling/starving bees will be less active and you may see bees crawling about on the ground below the entrance, too weak to make it back up into the hive. It's pretty obvious if you watch them on a daily basis that something is amiss. It's really unlikely though given the good foraging conditions we have at the moment, so in my opinion, you are quite safe to head off without worry for them.

Enjoy you hols!
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heathervale
Nurse Bee


Joined: 19 Jun 2015
Posts: 27
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks again Barbara,will watch whenever possible Smile
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