Newbee with a loud aaAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! !!!!

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Intheswamp, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    01:40 PM

    Newbee.

    Was in hives yesterday...things looked "ok" to these newbee eyes....large colony had room...still drawing comb in second super/brood box. Did not go into smallest hive....virgin queen should have been emerging this weekend, possibly on maiden flight,....(newbee) thought it would be good to leave it alone and not disturb.

    Walked out this morning to a loud buzzing filling the air. Looked at saw a giant swarm about 25' in front of the big hive. Was standing there amazed with my jaw dragging the ground thinking out cool that was BUT...THOSE WERE MY BEES GETTING READY TO HIGHTAIL IT OUT HERE!!!!!!

    The bees start to settle down onto what I see is already a wad of bees in the briars. I start to figure in my little pea-brain what this newbee's gonna do.

    It's about that time I hear something to my right.....IT'S THE LITTLE HIVE AND A SWARM IS LEAVING THE HIVE!!!!! <AAARRRHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!>

    It's an AMAZING SIGHT, BUT.....they're still my bees. :cry:

    So for the last two hours I've been trying to pick bees out of the briars. I'm letting them decide whether to go in, stay in, come out or whatever right now.... A quick picture or two and I'm back out there. The ones at the white hive have already exited one time...a little ball of bees in front that I couldn't dig out of the briars, thatch, grass must have had the queen....I left them going back in (it looked like)..this swarm came from the smallest hive.. The small hive (camo) I'm not sure but I'm pretty sure they came from the large hive....they've started gathering back on the front of the camo trap...:???:

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  2. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    3:30

    The white hive is an empty hive that I've had sitting on "hive row"...I had three mediums with sc foundation with a bottom and top on it. I used one of the mediums recently to add to the large hive. I've got it sitting there on the ground for the bees to crawl into they landed in the briars/grass. :shock: Both swarms landed on the ground so both boxes are on the ground.

    The camo box was a swarm trap I had on hand...medium frames in an 8-frame deep. I ran over to the shop and brought back two more mediums with ssb and a migratory cover....I don't know whether to go ahead and try to transfer the bees in the camo box into the medium boxes I brought or wait and see if they will all go into the camo box tonight. Seems like more bees on the outside of the camo box than there were early....the small 3"x .5" opening is at the lower right corner looking at it.

    Here's what both look like around 3:30... Ed

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  3. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    5:00pm

    I guess it's just up to the bees now.

    I feel good about the camo swarm. I took the two mediums and ssb that I picked up at the shop and moved the medium frames from camo'd 8-frame box into one of them. I think the bees were bearding so heavily on the front because there were a lot of bees on the surfaces inside the deep. I then took the second medium box and put some frames with sc starter strips in them, too. After I shook the bees out of the camo box into the mediums and brushed the other ones out that didn't let go I put the migratory top on. There were still several bees outside of the box but they started heading to the Ponderosa. Last I checked it looked like all the bees had gone inside except for the token few stragglers.

    The other swarm is being kind of a horses butt. One thing is for sure...this episode has got me leaning more towards migratory covers!!! I kept looking at the bees bearding around the lower edge of the outer cover. I finally decided to take the cover off and see what was going on. Yelp...between the inner cover and top cover was packed with bees!!! Oh....boy. Oh, and the top cover was covered on the bottom side with bees! And I'm standing there wondering what the blue blazes to do. I got some broom straw and made a little...broom. I propped the outer cover up for the time being and started sweeping the inner cover off into the hive boxes. I finally got it fairly clear of bees....then I swept off the bottom of the outer cover. Finally, though, I decided to put the inner cover on...but I turned the notch down this time so if bees went in they went inside the hive. The problem there is that there were still some bees under the cover. Hopefully I can deal with them later. Also, when setting down the outer cover I know I crush several bees. [​IMG] If I had had another migratory cover handy it wouldn't have been *nearly* as complicated...at least that part of it. Also, now I've gotta block the notch hole up before I move them... Yelp, I'm thinking more along the lines of migratory covers.

    More pics to come.... Ed
     
  4. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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  5. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Ok, here we go...

    I skipped getting any pictures of moving the frames out of the camo box and into the medium boxes. This newbee was just concentrating on gettin'em in there. :shock: The first frame I picked up I knew something was "different". Lots heavier than I anticipated...ended up there were wads of bees festooning to the bottom bars on the frames along with the ones hanging from the top bars. I felt like I was moving nitroglycerin or something...slowly and smoothly as the festooning bees swayed back and forth. For a newbee...INTENSE!!!! Sorry, no photos.:sad: Anyhow this is after moving the frames and putting on the second medium. I do believe the pile of bees on the front of the camo hive was because they didn't have anywhere to "stand"/hang.[​IMG]

    They're beginning to make the short walk over to the mediums...queen must have been in one of those wads of bees! :) This was the cooperative hive.
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    Here's some of the fanning bees still in the camo box. I eventually helped them "moved along" with some my broom straw brush.
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    Here's a shot from above of the camo box...you can see the bees congregating and exiting the exit towards the medium boxes.
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    And here ya go, wrapped up like a present with a bow on top. This is the first time that I've worked with a migratory top...I think I like them. I put the strap around the hive, stuck a piece of #8 mesh wire in the opening, picked'er up and walked it over to the hive stand. The colony will sit on the hive stand that is second from the right side. That hive you see sitting out front on the far end is the small colony that the last swarm issued from....that hive will eventually reside on the stand at the far right end of the row.
    [​IMG]

    More to come....
     
  6. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Ok, one swarm down...one to go.

    These bees were more trouble that the bees in the first swarm. I didn't think about the notch in the inner cover...I had it turned up so that the bees couldn't get out. For some reason the bees decided that was an excellent way to try to get into the hive. They had kept bearding around the edge of the top and I couldn't figure out why. I finally took the top off and there were bees between the inner and outer cover. This picture is actually after I had swept some of the bees off onto the frames.
    [​IMG]

    I went back and forth with these bees. It's amazing I didn't get stung! I'd sweep them onto the frames and in front of the entrance...and they'd be back in a little while. :| I was beginning to think I was fighting a losing battle. But, as time when by the bees on the outside got fewer...
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    ...and fewer.
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    Finally, another gift wrapped box. You can see one of my wonderful broom straw brushes in the foreground.
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    More to come....
     
  7. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    And finally....
    [​IMG]

    Now, I've got a couple of questions and a few newbee comments...

    The small colony that issued the second swarm I thought had swarmed week before last. On March 24th I check that hive and noted fewer bees in the hive along with three sealed queen cells. This weekend I figured would be getting close to for those queens to emerge. I haven't looked yet inside that hive to see if the cells are empty but I thought it pretty interesting that about the time I thought a queen would emerge (and thinking the hive had already swarmed and I missed it)...the hive swarmed. Is that to be expected? :confused:

    Though I didn't want them to swarm, the experience is something that I'll never forget...standing in a giant cloud of bees flying, hearing the drone of the buzz...I heard them before I saw them! It was really amazing!!! What people have said about them being gentle during this event is true. My hands have lots of little pricked spots on them.... something else I'll never forget is grubbing those bees out of the briars!!!

    I only got one sting to the finger and this was when I was moving some by hand that was down in the thatch under the briars and I must of mashed her. The several hours that I worked with these bees I only wore a long-sleeved white shirt for protection. I started to put on a veil, but remembered folks walking up and shaking swarms into boxes in their cut-off jeans while eating bananas (Hi Scott!) so I through caution to the wind (carefully) and wore no gloves or veil. Even when I'd cut a briar stem with a wad of bees on them and shake them over the frames...no problem, most of the bees would fall onto the frames while some would take flight. I had some that would fly towards me but it was nothing but bluff if even that...I think they were just kinda "duh" with the swarm excitement and weren't sure which direction to fly in.

    I used the little broom straw brushes a *lot*....some of the bees would fly, there would be a definite pitch change in their buzzing, but they never came after me. There was a few times I got them stirred up enough that I walked off for a few minutes and let them settle down.

    Finally, I had them both moved and sitting on stands. I placed some dried pine tree branches in front of the entrances. It was getting late, the sun was easing down...they didn't get much time to check out their new digs before they appeared to call it a day. What a day for this newbee!!!

    Do you think I need to feed them or let the work it out themselves...we're just going into privet hedge bloom and yaupon holly has been blooming...got clovers, too. ???

    Anyhow, I'm beat. :)
     
  8. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    That's a great story and congratulations on the swarms. I would feed them, they probably could use it. I know people catch swarms without protection. I did it with only a veil and a tee shirt, plus jeans, a couple of weekends ago, but it was a small swarm. It built my confidence up because last year I caught a very large swarm while I had my jacket on and never got buzzed, so I didn't need the jacket at all. This weekend I tried a large swarm with only a veil and tee shirt and ended up attacked with 20+ stings on my arms and hands before I could get away from them. Taught me a lesson not to go bare when dealing with swarms. You never know how they will react.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    just a short question for ya'..

    now why with all them trees about would a 'swarm'???? alight on the ground???
     
  10. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Hmm, good question. The hives face southward. They are on the north side of a hill with our house and some trees forming a "tree line" in front. Maybe the incline in front of the bees kept the queen from gaining much altitude and she crash landed into the briar patch? I'm not sure yet which hive the first swarm issued from...it was a large cloud of bees to the west of the row of hives when I first saw it and it landed basically beneath that cloud.

    The second swarm that issued came out of the small colony to the far right (the one sitting out in front of the "row"). This swarm came out in the "tornado" style which was very neat to witness...not what I wanted to happen, but since it happened I'm glad I got to see it! :)

    Anyhow, this second swarm turned into a large swirling cloud, too...and started drifting westward, also, which is kind of interesting...supposedly we had a west wind yesterday, but on the side of the hill with the trees to the east/west/north it could affect the wind direction, I suppose.

    The second swarm ended up probably 30' further west than the first. It was interesting that the second swarm looked as if it was going to join the first swarm, hovering over the first swarm 5' or 6' in the air...I'm wondering if the workers were picking up the first swarm's queen's pheromones??? They ended up moving on, though....maybe *some* of it's bees did join the first swarm? :dontknow:

    The other explanation why the swarms landed in the briar patch rather than in top of one of those pines is that when the workers and drones were baby bees the nurses read them Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby???? :lol:

    Ed
     
  11. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Warning for all you pros out there, don't laugh, these videos definitely ain't pro quality!!!! :lol:

    Here is a short video of what I first walked up on yesterday morning...
    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-jx2kMDeTI" target="_blank">[video=youtube;b-jx2kMDeTI]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-jx2kMDeTI[/video]

    Then, while standing there with jaw hanging down watching the bees begin to congregate on the ground I heard something over to my right...
    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvzB9vViTlU" target="_blank">[video=youtube;GvzB9vViTlU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvzB9vViTlU[/video]

    Here is a close-in video of the bees swarming around the second swarm's hive boxes, even got a shot of my ugly mug (sorry, couldn't convert this one to embedded due to 2-video limit)...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYwqNTipS-Q

    Hope you enjoy them...if they work. :wink:
    Ed
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Not working for me! :cry:
     
  13. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Try it again, Perry.

    Ed
     
  14. CharlieB

    CharlieB New Member

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    Ed, your hilarious. Good job!
     
  15. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Good videos :) It's so strange that they gathered on the ground instead of in a tree. Saves you all the trouble of shaking the way they just marched right in.
     
  16. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I'm just a remnant from the 70's with a few gray cells left to function with, Charlie. Never would have I dreamed I'd be kneeling down among several thousand flying honey bees!! :)

    I'm not sure on how good of a job it was, but I got'em corralled before dark! ;)

    Ed
     
  17. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    <chuckle> Glad you enjoyed the short videos. Yeah, when I saw the first swarm they had already started creating a clump of bees in the briars. Neither swarm flew very far at all....??? As for them walking right in...they had to be encouraged. There were a lot of shaking going on, I think it might've been easier from a tree branch. I had to snip each briar stem they were attached to, then snip the briars that that stem was tangled with. It was a slow process...we're talking anywhere from a small handful of bees being shaken to a double handful being shaken into the boxes. Picked briars with the left hand, snipped stems with the right. I was definitely happy when they moved on in...the camo bees marched into the camo box *and* then marched out of it (after I transferred the frames) and into the white hive boxes. :)

    Ed
     
  18. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Bad news.... both hived swarms have mostly absconded Not quiet a double handful of bees left in each hive. I did see the queen in one of them...the other one I didn't dig a lot to see if the queen was there (no smoke or veil at the time) but they are clustered.

    One swarm is on the ground...looks like a big pile....back in the briars.<sigh> Need to get to the office...heavy rain predicted.

    Ed
     
  19. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    lol can't say I ever saw a swarm even come close to touching the ground nice job
    Barry