Author Topic: a swarm and lesson learned  (Read 1025 times)

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Offline neillsayers

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a swarm and lesson learned
« on: April 17, 2019, 05:56:11 pm »
I was in all my hives a few days ago to add supers. I just looked at a few frames each to determine eggs and capped brood and moved on. The frames I looked at didn't have any swarm cells.

Well...Looked out the window about 2 hours ago and there was a swarm up a tree in my front yard! Rushed to gather up a nuc, old comb, pole pruner etc. I got about 2/3s of the bees by cutting off the limb they were on, which was bout 20 feet off the ground. Don't know if I got the queen but they seem like they are staying put. The other third moved to another limb, which I promply cut off. Then they flew around and gathered on another limb. Repeat. After clearing all the limbs down to the trunk they gathered on the trunk. I'm not cutting my tree down for them so I left the box out to see if they find their way into it by tomorrow morning. Hoping! If they move on, it's a lesson learned in checking every frame for swarm cells this time of year. :)

right before closing up

Neill Sayers
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2019, 06:52:30 pm »
Good luck!
Never argue with drunks or crazy people

Offline neillsayers

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2019, 07:08:18 pm »
Here's a vid Sweet Wife took from the porch.


Neill Sayers
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 07:10:23 pm »
Good luck!

I hope! :)  About a 1/3 of them are still glued to the trunk of that tree. Supposed to rain tonight. If they're still there in the morning maybe I'll try something else.
Neill Sayers
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Offline Lburou

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2019, 01:35:36 am »
An artful performance Neil!
Lee_Burough

Offline neillsayers

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2019, 05:25:34 pm »
Part 2:  The next day :)

 I left the nuc out hoping I had the queen and she would draw the rest out of the tree to her. Well, this morning they were still on that blessed tree in a steady rain. Clearly the queen is still in the tree.   So PLAN B!

 I poured some sugar syrup in a small pump up sprayer. Brought my ladder down there, (only about half as tall as needed). I fashioned a scoop out of an inverted gallon milk jug and taped it to a 16' pole. Then I waited for the rain to slow down.

 It all went fairly well. I drenched tthe swarm with syrup and started scooping and dumping into a leftover corrugated cardboard nuc box I had. after about 4-5 scoops I had all I could get. Then I dumped them into the nuc and voila, there she was, her majesty.  ;D

 There is still a few hundred up the tree, but I got the main part of the swarm. Tomorrow I'll set them up with feed and hope they take to their new home.

  Thanks for all the encouragement! :)
Neill Sayers
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2019, 09:39:02 pm »
Follow up:

Went into the nuc and they are drawing new comb like crazy while sucking up syrup.

I inspected the hive that I suspected was the source and it had lots of bees and 6 capped swarm cells and 3 uncapped. I split the hive into about 2 fairly equal splits with 3 capped queen cells each. Hope it works out with no more swarming. :)
Neill Sayers
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Offline Lburou

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2019, 10:14:56 pm »
It is a good feeling when it works out, isn't it!
Lee_Burough

Offline neillsayers

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2019, 12:13:53 am »
It is, Lee. What is interesting to me is this swarm occurred exactly one year after I captured it. I'm thinking after this nuc builds up I might requeen it with different genetics. It's as if this queen is preprogrammed to swarm on the same date every year! :o :)
Neill Sayers
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Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2019, 05:34:40 pm »
Or you could keep her and set up 3-4 swarm boxes around her lower to the ground , a week ahead. :laugh:
 

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2019, 05:27:03 am »
It is, Lee. What is interesting to me is this swarm occurred exactly one year after I captured it. I'm thinking after this nuc builds up I might requeen it with different genetics. It's as if this queen is preprogrammed to swarm on the same date every year! :o :)

Or you could do a split prior to the onset of queen cells. 

Offline neillsayers

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2019, 09:40:18 am »
Thanks Mikey and B13,

Both are good and sensible strategies going forward. :)

By the way, I noticed foragers bringing pollen into this nuc so I went in and looked around. The new comb is chock full of eggs already so I guess they are stuck for now!
Neill Sayers
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Offline Lburou

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2019, 10:22:26 pm »
It is, Lee. What is interesting to me is this swarm occurred exactly one year after I captured it. I'm thinking after this nuc builds up I might requeen it with different genetics. It's as if this queen is preprogrammed to swarm on the same date every year! :o :)
The one year thing is interesting, but I wouldn't read too much into it myself.  some kind of split or artificial swarm prior to the honey flow would take the impulse to swarm out of most hives.  JMO   :)
Lee_Burough

Offline neillsayers

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2019, 10:59:13 pm »
Thanks Lee,

I do know that I need to be looking for swarm cells in March next year. :)
Neill Sayers
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Offline Lburou

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2019, 12:54:11 am »
Thanks Lee,

I do know that I need to be looking for swarm cells in March next year. :)
Whatever manipulation you use, you want those bees to think they have already swarmed, (see this article for one method among many).    :)
Lee_Burough

Offline neillsayers

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Re: a swarm and lesson learned
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2019, 12:34:22 pm »
Thanks Lee,

I saved a copy to study this evening. :)
Neill Sayers
Herbhome Bees
USDA Zone 7a