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recently hived swarm

 
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decoyderek
New Bee


Joined: 26 Apr 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Somerset U.K.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:31 am    Post subject: recently hived swarm Reply with quote

Some advise. I successfully hived a large healthy looking swarm five days ago.
Fed with 1:1 sugar, however they are not drawing comb. They just sit clustered
in centre of hive with few flying.
Any thoughts would be useful.
Kind regards Derek Richards
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1424
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Fed with 1:1 sugar, however they are not drawing comb.


Please do not think this is patronising but are you sure they are not drawing comb? I have a colony that I recently put into an observation hive where they will draw completely natural comb and will not get any interference from me with the possible exception of some station feeding If I think they are desperate. To all appearances they are just clustered on the roof near the entrance but I am pretty sure that under the mass of bees there is comb being built.

Not sure what is going on if they genuinely are not building any comb?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1363
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a common misconception that a swarm is just sitting there doing nothing when in fact they are busy, but you just can't see it. It needs heat to work wax to build comb. In order to create heat, the bees have to cluster tight and building commences in the middle of the cluster where it is warmest. It takes time (sometimes a week or more) for the comb to start appearing beyond the cluster.

Have patience and I'm sure you will be rewarded with the sight of some pristine white comb poking out beyond the cluster soon.

It is not essential and can be detrimental to feed swarms so please don't consider that it is necessary in all situations. Bees leave the hive with a belly full of honey to help them set up home. This tides them over the first few days of comb building and after they have some comb built they can then spare a portion of workers for foraging duty. The lack of activity at the entrance in the first few days is because they don't need to forage and require as many bees as possible to help build comb. Once they have some comb, then the queen can start laying and they require nectar and pollen to feed the brood, so activity increases, starting with orientation flights of course.

Just be aware that after an initial surge, comb building will slow right down after about 2-3 weeks as the swarm bees become too old to produce wax and concentrate more on foraging. Then once the next generation hatches out, construction will start again but at a slower pace as the baby bees also have brood nurse duties to perform and the original swarm bees are starting to die off resulting in a slight dip in population before it picks up again.

Good luck with your swarm and I hope you have good comb guides so that they build nice straight comb.

Regards

Barbara
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decoyderek
New Bee


Joined: 26 Apr 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Somerset U.K.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies. It is a larger cluster, so you could be right about what is going on inside it. They have plenty of water nearby, and I fed to help with building comb, although they have not touched it.
Will try to be patient!
Regards Derek
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