Bees changed my winter prep plans

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Gypsi, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well when that 2nd swarm took off (from a different hive) last monday, I knew I had to have a new apiary plan for the winter.

    That was Sept 10th. I got some empty comb in there for her on the 12th, and they are taking feed well. BUT there is no way 1 frame of bees in a nuc can be large enough to overwinter, even in Texas, if first brood won't hatch until October 8th. It was a BIG frame of empty comb, and they are sucking down sugar water and probably building comb.

    I need to go back into the hot hive and see if their queen is laying. I was in there on the 9th to check for eggs and add a frame, on the 12th to check for queen cup (nope) and steal the frame of comb for my nuc.

    If the hot hive's queen doesn't start laying soon, I have got to do a newspaper combine with the nuc, right? (given of course that the hive the nuc left is still queen right. I suspect it will be.)

    Gypsi
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    or adds some capped brood to the weakly populated hive.

    I have overwintered hives as small as baby nucs here so the shape of the box may be more important than the sheer number of bees in the box.
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Guess I'll have to move them off the greenhouse roof before they weigh too much, and move them to the apiary. But it is somewhat sheltered from the north wind, being on the south side of my roof.
     
  4. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Gypsi, any idea why two hives swarmed this late in the year?
     
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well when they swarmed it was 95 degrees, but no, since I am only a 2nd year beek, I can only guess.

    I know these queens over-wintered with their nucs, they are not spring queens. I know that the person I got them from does make late summer queens, so my guess is they are around a year old. The first hive that swarmed had apparently already requeened itself successfully before the mother queen left. And she is doing pretty well across the street. I have not yet opened the 2nd hive to swarm, giving them a bit of time to reorganize before I bother them, giving queen time to get mated if she has not.

    and the 2nd mother queen is happily heading up a nuc on the roof of my greenhouse. In reserve. I have had a virgin queen in the hot hive I assume, since my italian queen was booted but upon giving them fresh eggs they did not make queen cups. I am waiting to see if she starts laying, and I'll be checking on my 2nd hive that lost a swarm to be sure the new queen is laying there.

    I consider both of these "reproductive" swarms. (possibly incorrectly) There is JUST enough time left in the year for them to establish a small hive provided we have flow. And the 1/4 inch of rain I got may create some. My goldenrod is blooming.
     
  6. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    I guess I'm in the same swarm boat. All my second year hives swarmed this Spring, even a 1st year hived BWeaver top bar hive. I thought I could stay ahead of them, but didn't happen.
     
  7. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Did you catch any of your swarms? (So far I think I have caught all of mine, although one poor little swarm nuc just got robbed out horribly in May. Very sad.)
     
  8. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    I caught one of the three. The rest were out of reach.
     
  9. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I set swarm traps. Need to set a new one, in case they aren't done swarming. The 3 I caught, one went to a nuc swarm trap, one went to a shelf that had formerly held a hive, and the 3rd hung on a branch over my roof, so I ran a nuc up to them, with empty frames and a splash of lemon grass oil. any extra woodware can be a swarm trap.

    I also caught a wild swarm in an old beetree stump with no lemongrass oil. That was rather inconvenient. Now known as the "hot" hive.
     
  10. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    On the bright side, the hot hive is fully requeened, she is laying, and should be a vsh queen that mated with my vsh drones, owing to our virtual "island" status around here, having the only bees in a fairly large area. (had to keep bees to get tomatoes.)

    Going to check the other hive that swarmed after I build them a new bottom board.
     
  11. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    I was rather counting on my bees not swarming after the beginning of august ( because locally that's the norm). I guess I'll remember to be more vigilant for late summer swarms in the future.
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I'm in Texas, and if I've learned anything in the last 2 years it is that, "bees are bees and do as they please". Apparently late summer/ early fall swarms are fairly common hereabouts.
     
  13. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I am now 3 for 3 on my original hives (one cutout I did in late March, 2 nucs that arrived in late April.)

    So much for bees not swarming after August, the cutout swarmed tonight, fortunately I sleep-walked my way through setting a swarm trap on the back end of my trailer 2 or 3 days ago - because it is occupied, and looks like about a 3 or 4 frame swarm. I will be suiting up in the morning, I guess breaking up the broodnest on my other rather full hives (even though their queens just started laying heavily) and adding a medium box to each. And swiping a bit of brood from the fullest one so I can get the nuc swarms into full sized equipment.

    Darn. Going to bump up my question post off of the hardware section.
    I guess I can put horizontal 1x2 around the screened bottomboards I've built, and that will give me a hive opening. worry about the sticky board later.
    At this point I have 2 or 3 empty deep boxes, and maybe 10 medium boxes. And more frames than I thought I would need, thank goodness. Mouseguards and feeder jars and telescoping covers. I could combine, but we have good warm weather here for awhile, I am close enough by to feed, and I would REALLY like some honey in the spring!

    Gypsi