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New swarm

 
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emma dent
New Bee


Joined: 29 Apr 2014
Posts: 2
Location: sheffield uk

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:39 am    Post subject: New swarm Reply with quote

Hi,
I,m new to bee keeping and have just introduced a swarm to my Warre hive on Tues eve. Been told I should feed because it is due to go cold at end of week - should I and what should I use?
Thanks,
Emma
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1493
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Put a container of sugar syrup in the bottom with straw floating on it. Enough that they can easily climb back out again and not end up drowning in the syrup. I would put sugar in a container and add slightly more than enough water to come up to the level the sugar had been at and then stir till fully dissolved. I would go for half a kilo bag and if they take that fairly quickly, then give them the rest of the bag. Once they have had that, unless we get some really bad weather they should be on their way.

I haven't fed the swarm I picked up on Sunday as we are that bit warmer down here in Cambridge.
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mannanin
Scout Bee


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 259
Location: Essex. UK.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhh ... you have been told to feed because of the impending weather. The very fact that you ask if you should, tells me you have doubts about feeding. Even given the weather and your location, I would still say dont feed. Already you are seeing very different answers to your question. Confusing isn't it.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1574
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and many congratulations on getting a swarm.

mannanin and I agree on many things and this is yet another of them.

If it was me with a swarm right now, bearing in mind I'm a good bit further north than you, I would not consider feeding it at all unless the weather turned "shocking" for a week or more and then I might still not unless they looked like they were struggling.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1493
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given what Barbara has said, I might reconsider my answer, especially as it was given without checking your weather. You can take my instructions as how you might feed.

Down here I might feed a small cast swarm but certainly not a prime one unless the weather does something totally unexpected now.
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emma dent
New Bee


Joined: 29 Apr 2014
Posts: 2
Location: sheffield uk

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:00 pm    Post subject: Re: New swarm Reply with quote

Hi again,
So what are the signs of the bees struggling?
Emma
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1574
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

I know we have had a cold damp day today and it will be cool tomorrow but hopefully there will be some sunshine too. As long as you see some bees flying in the sunshine, then all is good. Once you get a warm sunny day, you should see more activity but if the temperature is above 10C then there should be some activity and once your queen is laying, you will see pollen going in.
Bees not flying when the sun is up and it is comfortable to wear a t shirt suggests they are struggling.

How big was the swarm?
Do you know if it is a prime swarm?
If it is a prime swarm, you should see pollen going in within a few days but definitely within a week.
If it is a cast swarm it will take a bit longer for the queen to go on her mating flight and start laying, so pollen collection may not happen for a couple of weeks.
A few cold damp dismal days are not a big issue. A week or more of cold, wet days which make foraging difficult is when a colony may start to struggle. It is therefore down to timescales and weather but as long as you have a day or two of sun here and there between the showers when they are busy, everything will be fine.

Hope that reassures you a bit more. Try to remember a colony of bees is essentially "a wild creature" and doesn't need molly coddling unless conditions are excessively bad.

Regards

Barbara
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My goal is to stop feeding sugar to my bee colonies but then again we all know how much energy bees need to build enough comb in an empty hive. energy comes from sugar, either in form of nectar, honey or sugar syrup.

2012 I've caught my first (and last) prime swarm and I gave them a 500g of honey in a jar. This showed to be a good idea because the weather turned extremely rainy (anyone remembers 2012? ) and I was on holidays for two weeks. When I came back the jar was empty and perfectly clean Razz and the girls have built 12 new sparkling white combs. I'm sure they could not have done that many without that jar of honey.

I have split most of my hives and will be keeping an eye on the weather and bee activity. They need enough combs for the winter and they need them filled with stores so helping them a bit in the start with some sugar syrup is maybe better than later feeding for the winter.

Sugar Syrup's pH is higher than honey pH so adding a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar and a cup of Nettle tea is what I do to lower it and to add some extra minerals.
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