Hiving a swarm

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by BeeSavers, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. BeeSavers

    BeeSavers New Member

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    Hey all,

    A member of a garden club I am a part of showed me a very small swarm that couldn't find a home and started making comb on a tree. Since it inconvenienced him he put a smudge pot under them driving off most of the bees. Now there's only a fist full of bees left. I wouldn't think that they would hang around unless the queen was there. I told him to leave them alone and I'll go and take them away on Saturday. You think they would survive? I seriously wanted to bitchslap this guy for ruining a good swarm just because it was in his way. Think I can save them?
     
  2. rast

    rast New Member

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    I hate to say this, but a fistfull, with or without a queen is not very hopeful. I think their only chance is being put on drawn comb, fed, and whats left being very young bees.
     

  3. Sundance

    Sundance New Member

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    A fistful is pretty light....... but without knowing the time frame
    regarding the "smudge" (any idea what was used?) the other
    bees may return if the queen is in that fistful. Check back and
    see if the amount of bees has increased to a hive able number.

    Good Luck
     
  4. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    Personally I think you can make it work, save them with a bit of work. Put them in a nuc to start and feed them. Your in LA. Ca. so the weather is on your side as well as the time of year. If the queen is decent they should build into a good sized hive by winter time. Of course don't expect to get honey off them this year.

    Here they spray them and when they all don't die right away they call for a bee keeper.
    At a city near here they sprayed and it made the 6:00 news as it was a huge swarm hanging from a street barricade. HO BOY did the city get mail over that one.

    :mrgreen: Al
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    It will be an up hill battle to save those few of bees. If there is a queen in there and you are just bent on saving them put them in a nuc and combine in a frame of brood and bees from another strong colony (be sure the queen is not on the brood frame). You will need to feed them 1 to 1 syrup to help them get started.

    G3
     
  6. BeeSavers

    BeeSavers New Member

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    @Sundance I'm assuming he just used wood to make the smoke from the smudge pot. I don't think he used anything else.

    @G3farms This would be my first hive and I don't have any others. I can make a plea to my club for a frame of brood if they can spare it but I don't think I can get one. I'm determined to try and save them but it's a long shot. The damage has been done. I'll take a look at them after work today and see if they're still there and if they are hopefully my fellow member will show some patience and leave them alone till I can get to them on Saturday.
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    It would be a perfect beginning for a trap out, if you know of a feral hive nearby.
     
  8. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    That is a good idea for the start of a trap out.

    You could even put them in a hive body and then swap places with a stronger hive to get some of their field bees.

    G3
     
  9. BeeSavers

    BeeSavers New Member

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    Well, I haven't been able to get them yet. I checked on them and they're still alive and building comb on the branch they're on. They seem pretty bent on staying. They're docile but have a strong will to survive. I procured a frame full of comb they can clean up and use. I'll be getting a cardboard nuc this Saturday and make the attempt in the morning after the trip to the supply store.
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I hate to sound mean, "or maybe not", but a "beesaver" that can't pick up a swarm in 2 weeks is about as efficient as a water bucket with a screen bottom. It wouldn't have taken 10 minutes to drop them in a cardboard box when you went by there the first day. At least they would have been out of the weather.
     
  11. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    Some people don't relize bees can live in a box with out frames or limbs.

    :mrgreen: Al
     
  12. BeeSavers

    BeeSavers New Member

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    Where the bees are is gated and locked, otherwise I would have gotten them right then and there. I didn't have a box at that time and didn't know that you can just dump them in a box. I like doing things the right way. To me that means having the right equipment on hand. I don't like doing things half hearted. I do it right or not at all.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    certainly having the right stuff on hand makes such jobs go a bit better.

    two suggestion for you BeeSaver:
    1) you might want to invest in some swarm traps or perhaps one or two cardboard nuc boxes. both would be handy if you were looking to catch swarms from time to time. both are inexpensive, reusable and easily storable in minimum space.

    2) since you are also in a fairly active african bee area, when (actually I like to do it prior to picking anything up) capturing swarms you might wish to send samples to make certain what you are getting.

    good luck...

    ps... such behavior as open air nest sites and swarms coming to rest in water meters cans (ie inappropriate behavior for almost all european bees) means #2 above becomes extremely important.
     
  14. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Get you a couple of boxes that reams of paper come in and break them down. Carry a roll of duct tape so you can put them back together. Everything will fit in the trunk or behind the truck seat.

    When you get that swarm call and you are on the other side of town from any hive bodies you can make a box real quick, dump the swarm in, put the lid on and off you go.

    Just be sure to cut some fairly good sized holes and cover with screen wire so they have ventilation and do not over heat.
    I have seen some people make them out of five gallon buckets.

    G3
     
  15. BeeSavers

    BeeSavers New Member

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    @tecumseh Where do I send samples to test for AHB? I doubt they are, I've been five feet from the colony and not one guard came at me to try and chase me off. Then again, they really don't have anything to guard yet and could be too busy building to notice anyone.

    @G3farms Good idea. Will do.