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New swarm advice needed

 
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Anna Patrick
House Bee


Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 14
Location: Leamington Spa

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:42 pm    Post subject: New swarm advice needed Reply with quote

I was lucky to be given a swarm recently and placed it in an observation top bar hive. The bees appeared to settle in and the next day I saw a few flying in and out, one definitely carrying pollen.

However, when I looked through the window, the bulk of bees was still in its swarm "rugby ball" roughly in the middle of the hive. The same when I checked a few days later. Is this normal?

Today it's raining and windy and they are still in the same place. The observation window is in the middle of the hive so they may be busy building comb out of sight. After a week and a day in their hive, am I safe to open them up and check or do I risk frightening them off?
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


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

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would wait at least another week. I would be surprised if they are not building comb in there and suspect you might be able to detect that from the observation window in another week to ten days time. I know too well the temptation to get in there and have often regretted it!

If they wee going to abscond it is likely they would have done so already.
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Barbara
Site Admin


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

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Anna and congratulations on your swarm.

What you need to understand is that bees need heat to work wax and build comb. They generate heat by clustering and build within the cluster. At the moment, the combs they are building are quite small and the cluster is still larger than them, so you can't see anything and it looks like they are doing nothing but in a week, you should start to see the white edges of the comb starting to protrude beyond the cluster. Hopefully you used good comb guides and they will be building that comb along them, but it is not worth disturbing them to check that at this stage. Just be patient and you will see comb appearing soon.

Best wishes

Barbara
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John R
New Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 9
Location: Powys, Wales

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with the comments from Barbara. I've housed a couple of swarms in TBH nuc's during this very changeable weather of the last few days, both of them are tucked up in the top side of the nucs, but I'm confident that they are working away up there. I really wouldn't go and disturb them, you have a settled swarm and in my experience if they've stayed in there till now then leave well alone.
Because the swarms were out overnight in my case and it was quite cold and miserable, I put a few small balls of fondant in the nucs for them, which has given them something to feed on, with the rain we've had all day today they've not been out at all.
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 288
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you feeding them?

IMLE swarms settle quicker into whatever hive they're housed in if they are given a bit of help food wise.

The thinking is one doesn't know how long ago they left the parent hive so they could be running on very low energy reserves when you hive them up.
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Anna Patrick
House Bee


Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 14
Location: Leamington Spa

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all the advice. I will be patient and I am so glad I put some feed in yesterday because the weather is howling today! Can't see any of them venturing out.
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