Large late season multiple queen swarm

Discussion in 'Swarms, Cut outs, and Trap outs' started by junkhound, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. junkhound

    junkhound New Member

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    Monday afternoon, my son and I was walking in the bee yard discussing some late season splits.
    We heard a swarm that was coming in from the north (not our bees). When this swarm balled up in an elm tree, it was about 3 lbs. of bees. It was late so we said leave them for tonight. Yesterday morning, he got ready to catch them with a jug-on-a-pole. when he got them and dumped them in the box they went every where. We started noticing several golf ball sized balls of bees when they moved from one place to another. Each one of these balls, on closer inspection had a virgin queen.
    The swarm did not know what they wanted, they would go in a box for a little while then swarm out onto a limb. All the while leaving a few little queen balls. Carl started making our splits with a caged virgin queen(I can't do much since my May heart attack). He made splits and wrangled this swarm all day. All total he has caged 18 virgin queens. The swarm has not left, only moved around and gotten larger. The air was FULL of bees all day. our bees were calm and working as usual, but the swarm got larger. Yesterday afternoon late the swarm split in 2, half went on a limb, the other half filled a deep box full with 4 inches covering the front. This morning he caught 2 more queens and started me some mediums. All the while there were little queen balls falling out of the swarms. This afternoon the deep box swarmed back out and merged with the limb swarm and there is now close to 10 lbs. of bees It is the biggest swarm I have seen. Before dark 2 more queen balls have fell out on the ground. I know all this sounds like a tall tale but it is not. I have never seen anything like this. the Swarm is till here. All of our splits have a caged virgin queen and have been moved to another yard 3 miles away. Carl will release the in the morning. This is a long post, I know. But it was so unusual that I had to tell it in detail. Has anyone ever seen this many Queens in a swarm? We will see what happens tomorrow.
    junkhound
     

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    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  2. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    [h=1]Here is a video on Skep Beekeeping It shows and discribes what is happening and and how they manage the swarms.
    Heathland Beekeeping - 4 - Work in a Heather Skep Apiary during the Cast Swarming Period
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA5pY8hOEj4[/h]It seems to be late in the season, but who knows with bees as they are stimulated by the weather and nectar and pollen flows.
     

  3. junkhound

    junkhound New Member

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    Thank you for the link Apis. This helps explain what we have encountered, and how to expand more hives. This late we will treat them like a nuke to be overwintered.
    junkhound
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Wow! :lol: :thumbsup: Why can't they do that in the spring when it would be a gold mine for most keeps?
    Well done Junkhound, and thanks for the pics!
     
  5. junkhound

    junkhound New Member

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    In addition to the splits we made from the queens in this swarm. We caught 7 more boxes of bees They all seem to bee doing well. another week will tell if we need to combine any.
    Perry, I also wish this would happen in the spring.
    junkhound
     
  6. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Considering your location, it sounds like you have a good chance for them all to make it through the winter. You may not have had a spring gold-mine, but often, a well established nuke early in the fall will be able, come the next season, to produce a nice honey crop. If you had started with them in the spring, you'd be building them up all summer, feeding and not getting a honey crop. This way you have made a big savings.
    Three cheers for a splendid late summer swarm---and especially for the way you and your son handled it.
     
  7. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Could there also be a little African gene pool behavioral influences happening with the hives that are putting out all these swarms?
     
  8. junkhound

    junkhound New Member

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    Apis, they have been very gentle. Carl was suited up for most of the working and got a few stings on the hands. I on the other hand was in a t-shirt and shorts and did not get stung at all.
    junkhound
     
  9. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    That is good, but if not now, could be after they mate. Hope not but only time will tell.
     
  10. junkhound

    junkhound New Member

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    ef, that is our goal. If we can overwinter them we will be in a better position to make a honey crop next year.
    Thank You
    junkhound
     
  11. junkhound

    junkhound New Member

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    Apis, that could be. When I quit beekeeping about 10 yrs. ago because of work and travel. the bee population was all but gone and my last 2 hives had turned MEAN (Africanized) to the point that I killed them out with Sevin dust. When I started back up, last year with the swarms and 2 nucs and some cut outs, the bees have all been gentle.
    It seems as though the Africanized strain has either moved on from this immediate area or have been bred back to a gentler bee. The breeding can work both ways, meaner or gentler. Hopefully it will be the latter.
    Thanks
    junkhound