Did I catch a swarm?


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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Androscoggin County, Maine
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    93

    Did I catch a swarm?

    I think I had a swarm move onto my porch. I have a partial hive there. I was cleaning up for package bees arriving this weekend. My hives died out over the winter.
    How do I know if this swarm has moved in, or is still in the 'checking it out' phase? Yesterday I had loads of traffic. There are bees cleaning out the dead and removing granulated sugar/honey. There is a good deal of drones coming and going as well. There is a few bees that are fanning near the entrance, not as many as you would see after installing a package. We didn't see the 'classic swarm' arrive, but we aren't here all the time.
    I've never worked with or even seen a swarm, I tried to find some info on this, but most of what I've found is shaking a swarm into a hive.
    The location they moved into isn't great. I don't even think I have 10 frames in the hive body, I know I don't have a inner cover on. When should I be able to open the hive up and check them out? I figure a week?

    ​Thanks


  2. #2
    How long do u think they been there? Crack the lid an take a peak. An is that the hive u were planning on putting your package of bees in if? If so you may need to get busy on another hive for the package


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Androscoggin County, Maine
    Posts
    93
    I'm guessing the bees showed up on Sunday or Monday. I pulled the frames from the freezer on Friday and put them outside to thaw and begin airing out. Bees started showing up within a few hours. The hive looked more organized on Sunday. On Monday they were doing all the mentioned activities. I wasn't home today to check them, it has been rainy all day. There is a crazy amount of dead bees in front of the hive.
    I intended to put a package into that hive, I also intended to put better frames in there too. I'm glad they like my shabby frames, I'm also glad they showed up.

  4. #4
    They could possibly be just cleaning up but u need to make sure there aren't any eggs or brood before u add a package if there is eggs an brood you will have to install ur package into a different hive that is not occupied

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Androscoggin County, Maine
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    93
    I'm not going to put a package in there now, that would be a disaster. I have more equipment, I took more frames from the freezer when I suspected a swarm moved in.
    At first I figured they were robbing/check out the comb. Once I saw the cleaning, drones coming and going, and fanning It looked like something had changed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas, USA
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    I believe they have taken up residence. your package will need a new hive.
    No, maybe I should do a few more hive inspections before trying to cram 3 hive visits into one trip.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Androscoggin County, Maine
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    93
    They certainly took up residence there. Deploying a new hive for the package was the easy part. The fun begins when I have to clean up the mess of having less than 10 frames in the hive the swarm now lives in.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Androscoggin County, Maine
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    93
    Update: I went into the hive and added the missing frames to make 10 (2 drawn, 1 foundation less). There was no 'free comb' thus, no clean up. There wasn't many bees, so I'm guessing this was a secondary swarm? I didn't inspect the hive,my main objective was to get the missing frames and inner cover in. I gave them some sugar syrup earlier in the week, they have used less then a pint in that time. It looks like dandelion boom is ending, so I will leave the feed in for the time being.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Spencer, MA
    Posts
    667
    Look for eggs/brood/queen. You may just have robbers
    circle7 honey and pollination

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Androscoggin County, Maine
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    93
    Camero7, let's say this is a secondary swarm that moved in May 19th. Assuming they came with a virgin queen, what would you expect to see in regards to brood? I had 7 drawn frames in the hive body when they moved in.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Spencer, MA
    Posts
    667
    I would expect to see brood in about 3 weeks, maybe a little sooner. I would expect to see eggs and larvae in a couple of weeks or less.
    circle7 honey and pollination

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Androscoggin County, Maine
    Posts
    93
    Update: This will be my final update on this hive. It has been a month since the swarm moved in. It appears it came with a mated queen because it's had brood emerging. It was a small swarm, I'm assuming someone near me keeps bees and wasn't checking their nucs. They have built out 3 foundation-less frames, repaired the mangled frames that were in there, and have covered about 7 (of 10) frames with brood. They have excellent honey stores considering how much brood they have. I added a 2nd deep.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Spencer, MA
    Posts
    667
    nice result.
    circle7 honey and pollination

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    23
    Turned out quite well

    Busy bees at Bec's Bee Hive! Bee quick and check out our video here.

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