Combining 2 small swarms (newbie question)

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Yankee11, May 1, 2012.

  1. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    Went and looked a Swarm #5 this afternoon. Gonna go get it tomorrow if still there.

    It's small and the one we got yesterday is small. What is the thought on combining the 2 small swarms. Will
    it work or should I keep them seperate.

    I might not get the queen on this on tomorrow. It's up in a birch tree around the trunk and a lot of limbs. Gonna use a bee vac.

    If I don't get the queen, can we just dump what bee we get in with this small swarm from yesterday.

    Thanks, Steve
     
  2. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    If you don't get the queen and you want to add them to another group of bees, you can do a newspaper combine. A single piece of newspaper in between two boxes of bees. Some people cut slits in the paper. The bees will chew through the paper, by which time they have gotten used to the smells of each other. Or you could just spray them all with sugar syrup if you have some handy in a spray bottle. By the time they have finished cleaning themselves and each other up, they'll all get along, especially since it's mostly nurse bees that swarm, and not the older guard/foragers that like to fight.
     

  3. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I sign in agreement with Dr.Buzz. If you have both queens and want to unite the swarms, it's better that you make the decision about which one lives, rather than let them fight it out. Place the queenright swarm on the bottom and the queenless swarm on top. That way the top bees going down will meet up with a queen on their way down and out. Of course, that way you'll also have your brood down below from the start.
     
  4. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    An old bee keeper here by me told me about using newspaper to combine swarms like Dr.Buzz said....pretty cool stuff...I understood the bees would eventually chew through the paper....I did not believe that until I saw a fish size hole in a stucco wall this week that bees had opened up...:shock:
     
  5. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Steve,

    As a newbee, has someone explained to you about prime swarms and casts ???
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    If you have two spare nuc boxes, you could just put each swarm in their own box and wait a few days to see if there are any eggs before you combine them. If you have two colonies there with two young laying queens, it would seem a shame to eliminate one queen.
     
  7. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    An overwintered queen is a prime swarm. These are typically large, containing lots of bees. The queen is mated and fertile.

    Casts and secondary swarms are either queens that emerge into a still crowded hive or other queens that managed to escape their slightly older sister (new queen after the prime). Casts and secondary swarms are typically smaller in size and contain virgin queens that still need to make their nuptual flights.

    EDIT: To Omie, if these are secondary swarms, it may be more than just few days before the queens would be laying. You'll want to give them two weeks or so before choosing which queen to keep.
     
  8. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    This is a great forum.

    I didn't know all about the different swarms. I knew sometimes they swarmed more than once and the first one was the biggest. Thanks for that info.

    Heres what I am going to do.
    I'm going to get the small swarm this afternoon and just leave them in their own box (as suggested by Omie) and leave the small one thats already out there in theirs and see what happens. The small one I captured 2 days ago left yesterday
    morning and I had to catch it again. It was still in the box this morning but gathered up inside on the wall by the entrance and the outsid frame. Not in the middle. Not sure if that means anything, but I kinda hate to mess with them right now. They just look like they may want to leave again. Although they were coming and going just like the other hives.

    Hope I get the queen this afternoon.

    Thanks everybody.
     
  9. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    Keep in mind, since a Cast doesn't have a fertile queen if she doesn't return from her nuptual flight, the bees will indeed leave, likely drifting back to the parent hive or others colonies nearby (keep them well fed in the meantime).

    Same goes for the parent hive, if the supercedure queen doesn't return from her nuptuals, you'll be queenless. You will want to be looking for eggs in this hive about a week after the prime swarm leaves.

    If it were me, I'd keep all you can as reserve queens at least until the fall, then make decisions as to whether to pinch and combine prior to goldenrod. This will give you a better idea of each queen's potential.
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    pturley, just something to ponder.

    It has been said that when a virgin queen flies with a swarm, she will be mated when they land.
     
  11. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Paul,

    For info, the UK definitions of prime swarm and casts are slightly different.

    A prime swarm is when a colony raises Q cells and when sealed the 'old' Q leaves in a swarm with a large number of bees. Some prime swarms can be very large. The 'old' Q does not have to be an over-wintered Q.

    In the parent colony, the Q cells mature. Under 'normal' circumstances, one of the virgins is allowed to survive, get mated and become the colony's new Q. Under some (unknown ?) conditions, the colony allows individual virgins to emerge and leve with a small swarm ---- a cast. A cast can be as small as a cupful of bees. Some colonies keep throwing swarm after swarm until there is nothing left. Such a colony has swarmed itself to death.

    With us, a prime swarm is goody-goody. A cast is more ---- "What the heck should I do with this ??".