What a mess

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Bens-Bees, May 2, 2012.

  1. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    I finished building a couple more boxes of frames today and thought I'd try to get them on today so the bees would have some space to store nectar, but before I did that I decided to plant some squash. As I did a swarm flew over my head. DOH! Should have taken care of the bees first. I tried to chase after the swarm, but they disappeared in seconds. I mean they were really hauling butt out of there.

    So I didn't know which hive swarmed though because none of them particularly had lower than normal entrance activity. I kinda figured it had to be one of the two big hives though, one from the torso swarm and one that overwintered and came back from Rogersville (the pissy one). I decided to check the torso swarm since I had checked the other one just a week ago and added more space for them at that time and I didn't notice any swarm cells when I checked them. I had to go through another hive that was sitting on top of the torso swarm hive though, and of course as soon as I moved them the number of bees flying around started to build and build and build as more foragers were returning. Anyway, I got into the torso swarm hive and found lots of queen cups, but nothing in them and none that had been built out to queen cells. They also had several completely capped frames of honey, so I took those to extract so I can give them the space back to bring in more nectar. I noticed the nectar in the hive was kinda a smoky color... so I'm thinking it might be sourwood, but I don't see any sourwood blooming around here.

    Also, one of the brood frames was broken, and had been for a long time, long enough that the bees bridged the gap with honeycomb and filled and capped it. So I went ahead and took that one, I'll crush and strain the honey around the edges so that I can put the foundation and what's left of the brood comb in a new frame, but of course the brood will be long chilled before then, but at least they can clean it out and have that comb to start over with.

    So I also needed to swap out the boxes on that hive and the one above it with new boxes so that I could use the old ones on other hives (the new boxes have 1/4 inch of the bee space on top whereas the old ones had all 3/8 inches on the bottom), as well as to use them in the bee-vac because the bee vac works perfectly with the old boxes but not so much with the new ones.

    So now I'm wondering which hive swarmed. I suppose it's possible it might have come from a different hive, but what are the odds of that?? It seemed like too many bees in the swarm to have come from one of the smaller hives. I mean, none of the others even has more than 2 medium 8-frame boxes on them, that's not enough to throw a swarm and still have bees left i nthe box, right? Plus all those others came from swarms within the last two weeks... and there's no way they'd re-swarm within two weeks, right?
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Or a swarm from the neighborhood that just happened to pass by??
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    That's what I was just thinking, it may not have even been from one of your hives.
     
  4. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    I dunno, it just seems odd. If I draw a bee-line of their flight path it fell within 30' of my hives... what are the odds? I just feel like they had to come from one of them. I've got 7 hives out there, 2 large hives with 4 and 5 boxes respectively, 3 with only 2 boxes and 1 with only one box, all of the small ones have been caught within the last two weeks, and one observation hive that's actually in my guest bedroom going through the window... and those bees ticked me off, let me tell ya. They built out that comb so beautifully, then all of a sudden they built brace-comb for no reason at all... GRRR! This is supposed to be the hive that gets entered into the fair. I even nailed the frames in place just to make sure they'd be solid so the bees wouldn't feel the need to brace them in.

    Anyway, that's getting off-topic.
     
  5. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Hey I think I managed to save the brood in that one frame. I went back to it to check on it and noticed that baby bees were emerging, so I hurried up and got it in a new frame and back in the hive. I'm so happy I didn't have to lose all that brood. I know it wasn't that much, but a hundred bees is a hundred bees. Instead I think I only lost about 10 whose cells were attached to the bottom of the old frame. All the brood was capped and with it emerging like that, I'm hopeful that it was all old enough to survive being out of the hive for as long as it was... probably helps that it was nearly 90 degrees today.
     
  6. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Since queens usually stop laying a few days before swarming, and since swarming usually happens after queen cells are capped but before virgins emerge, there is a period of broodlessness. Check your colonies one week post-swarm. The one without open brood is the one that swarmed.