New Experience, today.

Discussion in 'Swarms, Cut outs, and Trap outs' started by ablanton, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    Well, my poor swarm prevention skills continued today. Had another hive to swarm. I was a bit disappointed because they went about 30 feet up a tree and I had no way to get to them. After watching for 15 minutes or so, they all went back to the hive! I was pretty confused so I told my boys it was time to call the "Master". Quick call to Iddee and he explained that the queen failed to leave with the swarm and that was why they returned.

    I tried my best to find that queen because Iddee said they would likely swarm again tomorrow if I didn't get her out of there. Must have looked close to an hour and never could find her. I saw plenty of larvae, but no eggs. What's up with that? Do they stop laying prior to swarming?

    He also told me how to shake the bees onto an excluder to find her, but I'm not sure I really understand exactly how to do that. I'll have to get a more detailed lesson at the next meeting. There were three or four frames with swarm cells. I went ahead and pulled one frame with a couple of cells and some brood frames to make a split. Maybe I got lucky and the queen was on one of these frames. There were several other swarm cells left behind. Even if I missed her and the hive still swarms, maybe pulling some frames will cut down on the number of swarms. The other hive has thrown three already -- one got away and I caught two. I don't want three out of this one. I'm running out of equipment! With two packages arriving today, my original plans were to go from two hives to four. As of this moment, I'm already at seven!
     
  2. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    OH, yeah. Forgot the cool picture . . .

    IMAG0285.jpg
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Nice pic!
    Now, prior to swarming the queen has her diet reduced so as to enable her to fly better so a lack of eggs is not unusual.
    But,"pulled a couple of frames with cells on it. Maybe I got lucky and the queen was on one of these frames" does not mean you have warded off swarming. If she is in that nuc and there are queen cells in there she will still swarm.
    As far as "poor swarm prevention skills", sometimes you can do everything "right" and still have it go sideways. Bees will be bees, and sometimes they will swarm no matter what you do. If there was a definitive way to stop it we would all do it. We try our best and sometimes it's not enough.
    Take heart, it happens to all of us!
     
  4. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Cool pic indeed! Kind of cool about your hive multiplication...that happened to me last year..
     
  5. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    Perry, yes, I was thinking the split might swarm if I did get the old queen along with the swarm cell. But, I was hoping fewer bees in the split would make a smaller swarm and I wouldn't lose as many bees. Is that logic any good? I guess maybe if the split swarmed, it might be too weak & die out...
     
  6. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    Well, the split didn't do the trick. This hive tried to swarm again. I say "tried" because it didn't make it. They formed a nice little cluster about 6 feet up a cedar tree.

    IMAG0288.jpg IMAG0289.jpg

    I put a box under them and shook them loose, but I missed the box! They landed about 2 feet in front of the box and immediately took flight and went back into the original hive. They went back much faster this time. Saturday, it took them about 2 hours to all get back in the hive. Today, they were all back inside within 10 or 15 minutes.
    Based on what Iddee told me Saturday, I am assuming they left without the queen again. When I shook them loose, they must have realized the queen was missing and all went home. So now, this makes me wonder… could I possibly have a queen that can’t fly? And if so, what does this mean for this hive? Will a new queen leave with a swarm or will the queens simply duke it out amongst themselves until only one is left?
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I may be out in left field, but did you buy this queen at some point? If so, she may be clipped, which would explain this behaviour.
    IMHO, at this point, you're surest way (maybe only) way to prevent this hive from throwing yet another swarm is to find that queen, and remove her and say 5 frames of bees (with no queen cells).
    On another note. Whenever I manage to come across a swarm this low in a tree, unless there is some special attachment to the tree, I would clip the branch and set it over/in/on the box rather than shake (unless there is no other way).
    I wish I could advise another way, but I think you are gonna have to get back in there. :|
     
  8. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    I started this hive from a package with a marked queen last Spring. They superceded her mid-summer. I have already seen a couple of hatched swarm cells and even heard piping a couple of weeks ago. They may have already swarmed at least once without my knowledge, but there are still so many bees that I haven't been able to find a queen the last 2 weekends.