Author Topic: Getting a Swarm to produce honey  (Read 419 times)

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Offline gibb

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Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« on: July 15, 2020, 08:55:04 am »
Had two swarms this spring that I captured, both were good size swarms, placed them into 10 frames hives with drawn comb. Both are lackluster hives with good activity but not producing any honey.
Any suggestions on how to get them to make honey?
They seem to be filling the 10 frame box but nothing else, have placed a queen excluder and a mediun box with drawn comb but nothing happening?
Population and queens are good.   

Offline Zweefer

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2020, 09:20:25 am »
What all is blooming in your area? Is there a good nectar flow? 
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2020, 09:33:23 am »
Swarms are good wax builders.  In the future you could put them on undrawn comb and they will go to town.  It's a good way to have extra comb available.  A swarm will normally produce excess honey if there is a strong enough nectar flow on.  As Zweefer suggested, are there enough nectar sources available? 

Offline iddee

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2020, 11:01:04 am »
Remove the excluder until they begin working the super. Then put it back on.
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Offline gibb

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2020, 11:08:40 am »
We have a good wild flower bloom on and the conditions for producing nectar have been excellent. Still have a lot of white clover in bloom here and have a couple of hives with 3 and 4 medium boxes on doing great.
I will pull the excluder and see if that helps.
Started my first nuc and have already doubled it to two 5 frame boxes. 
Thanks

Offline gibb

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2020, 11:20:51 am »


Third and last hive are the swarms have them in single brood boxes.

Offline Zweefer

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2020, 09:11:21 am »
Keep us posted gibb!
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline gibb

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2020, 04:16:03 pm »
We are still in a nectar flow here, was into the hives yesterday the one swarm has finally started filling the medium super so I left them alone. The other hive was busy had pretty good brood and larva, I ended up adding another brood box on this one. I want to see what they do with it.
Had a skunk working my hives over caught it this morning.
Always something.

Offline Zweefer

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2020, 07:58:48 pm »
Live trap or .22?


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Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline gibb

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2020, 12:55:20 pm »
Poly live trap.

Offline gibb

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2020, 09:35:19 am »
Pulled all my honey supers this week, very disappointed in the 2 swarm hives along with the 2 hives that they swarmed out of. Had one of the better years for overall nectar flow. Going to make sure I do things different next year and be ready to pull nucs and or splits rather than try and just give them room not to swarm. Did have one really good hive that peaked after the flow started and produced over a 100lbs of honey.
I did manage to pull one 5 frame nuc with a swarm cell and it has blossomed into a nice 10 frame box of wall to wall bees.
Going by that success i will be better prepared for next season.
On the positive all 7 hives have good populations going into the fall. 

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2020, 10:53:46 am »
It sounds as though you learned from this experience and that is always a good thing.   Producing a nuc with a good queen cell is a win.  I'd be happy with that. 
Make sure your mite counts are under control going into fall and that they have plenty of food stores.  Your probably at 1-2 generations of brood before going into winter.

Offline Jen

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Re: Getting a Swarm to produce honey
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2020, 12:57:55 pm »
Hi Gibb, I can add to this. I live in the city, population 7,000. I run no more than 5 hives but prefer 2. My area is surrounded by diverse forage from evergreens to town fruit trees and gardens. Other beekeepers say "Oh, you are lucky to live in the city, plenty of forage in the gardens there." But really the city runs dry of ready nectar after the spring flow and there aren't nearly as many blooming trees. What I am lacking for forage for my bees is fields of flowers and large orchards of flowers. We do have Star Thistle, a tough spiky drought resistant plant that provides premium honey, which is our savior thru summer. However California has been drought ridden and smokey summers are common, if we don't have a smokey summer it's a pure act of a forgiving God! If we get a very wet snowy winter the ground has deep moisture and the star thistle will provide plenty of nectar. But we don't get that kind of moisture anymore so the bees have to travel far and wide to gather their food. My bees work really hard!

That novel being said, and addressing your statement of "Going to make sure I do things different next year and be ready to pull nucs and or splits rather than try and just give them room not to swarm."

I have been complaining to my beek friends about getting just enough honey to give back to the bees for winter. So, one beek said "You have to have an army of bees all spring and summer to make lots of honey. So! I didn't do any splits or nucs this year to build my bee armies with 5 hives. But alas, I still didn't be but about 20 frames of honey to give back to 5, 10 frame hives.
 
For me, I don't know the answer to getting lots of honey for the bees and some left over for me. It's been a quandry all thru my 15 years of beekeeping.

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