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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last week while picking beans I came across a very small swarm (about the size of a cantalope) hanging on one of the poles. Long story short (it was difficult to get then unravelled from the bean vines), I finally hived them and have given them a frame of honey, pollen and brood plus some 1:1 with Honey Bee Healthy in a hivetop feeder. They're staying and seem to be happy but it's obvious they'll never build up enough to overwinter and that I have to add some bees if they're to make it.

Now the question: If I steal a box from another hive and put it on there, the foragers will just go back to their original home. What if I do a paper combine? Will at least some of the foragers stay if I do it that way? Does anybody have any other ideas as to how I can increase their numbers?
 

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I would try to winter them in a 5 on five configuration and feed feed feed you will be suprised at how well they over winter this way. If you can get them thru a couple of brood cycles a cantalope size swarm shouldnd have and problem making it thru the winter the key is enough food and young bees. But taking advise from me can be risky after all I have been know to jump out of perfectly good flying airplanes a couple of times. :D
 

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If you want to add bees to it, just move the hive you want to take them from and put the swarm in it's place. The returning foragers will take up with the swarm. After a week, if you want to add more, switch it with a different hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Iddee, thanks. I thought of doing that, but wasn't sure. I have two ridiculously strong hives. . .can't seem to give them enough brood boxes. . .that I was planning on splitting, so I'll use one of them. I'll be harvesting in a couple of weeks. Do you think I can wait until them to do it since I'll already be messing with the boxes?

Riverrat, I'm curious. I've never heard of the 5 on 5 configuration. Exactly what is it?
 

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Only you can judge the swarm. Do they have enough stores to last, and enough bees to cover and tend the brood, for two weeks?

A 5 on 5 is a two story, 5 frame nuc hive. It is believed that two 5 frame nuc boxes work better to build up in then a 10 frame hive body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow, never knew that! And I have a 5 on 5; it was part of the contents of my buyout when Mr. Bet retired. But up until now I didn't know what I was supposed to do with it. I'll have to experiment with it sometime. Thanks again, Iddee.
 

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I don't know what you have, but what I meant was just stack two nuc boxes on top of each other. I have never seen a box built especially for that.

Some beeks, when a nuc box is full, will add another nuc box on top instead of transferring them to a ten frame box. They say bees will work vertically faster than they will work horizontally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
When I get out there I'll take a photo. . .it's just like a mini-hive. It has a bottom board (solid), two boxes, an inner cover and an outer cover.
 

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Tia said:
Wow, never knew that! And I have a 5 on 5; it was part of the contents of my buyout when Mr. Bet retired. But up until now I didn't know what I was supposed to do with it. I'll have to experiment with it sometime. Thanks again, Iddee.

No better time than now with the cantelope swarm :D
 

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I like double nucs. ie 5 on 5. I use a top nuc box feeder also..

I don't now what area of NC you are in, but I think you have a few brood cycles left to get some numbers up. I know my weather is close to the Western mountain regions and we still have time. I just made some splits last weekend here in Michigan. Feed Feed Feed. :) Hope all goes well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just fed again today with Honey Bee Healthy. . .think there's some robbing going on. Not frantic, but the ominous figure 8 flight in front of the entrance. The reducer's on the smallest opening, but they're still going in unchallenged. Looked in on the swarm today. Only 2 frames (both sides) of bees, honey, nectar, pollen and brood, but the brood looks good. Nothing capped yet, of course, but the larva/eggs are plentiful and healthy looking. Planning on doing some manipulations on Wednesday with David's help. . .splits, combines and switching places (weak hives to strong hives' sites; strong hives to the weak hives' sites). Wish me (us) luck. :)
 

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Good luck. That said, the strong sent of the HBH will attract robbers. I would remove it and use syrup without it and put a robbing screen on the entrance.
 

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yes, HBH, is an attractant. Tia, dont over think things. Just let the bees do, and work them naturally and pay attention to their ways. not OURs. Good for your own learning. As honey bees go... yup, Robber screens are a good idea,.. thats their natural instinct... so yup.. make or buy them.
Just me PK
 

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Iddee said:
Some beeks, when a nuc box is full, will add another nuc box on top instead of transferring them to a ten frame box. They say bees will work vertically faster than they will work horizontally.
I'm one of those believing beeks too, Iddee. This is a big truth in my beekeeping book!
 

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pkwilbur said:
...Just let the bees do, and work them naturally and pay attention to their ways. not OURs.
PK, do you mind if I use this quote to our students next spring? Everybody (our students this year) wants to manage honeybees like they're people. They ain't people, they're bugs, they think like bugs, they act like bugs, I wish our students would learn the way of the bee, like we try to teach 'em.
 

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I will agree with the building up also. From the cut outs that I have seen and done If you will look at them closely the bees will build vertical over horizontal more often. This is only said from the stand point that they have room to move in either direction.

G3
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I could easily transfer these girls to a nuc, but I was planning on doing a paper combine with a box off one of my very strong hives--I have two hives that have 4 brood chambers each; just plan on taking one of the brood chambers to give to the swarm. I plan to do a split on the remaining very strong hive.

Which is better: transfer to a nuc or a paper combine?
 

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What I've done is put a divider board (homemade) that separates a Deep into a 5 next to a five. I found both "nucs" were so busy that I put another deep on top along with another divider. I guess it would be called a poor mans' 5 on 5. It worked beautifully. That is until one hive chewed thorugh the divider. I didn't realize this happened until I found a dead queen on the landing board. It was an instant 3/4 strength double deep in early March. I split it ASAP and found that the remaining queen was injured in the fight and was missing a rear leg. She did really well until I found swarm cells. I piched her, left a couple capped queen cells and took 4 frames of brood with attendants and swarm cells. They didn't seem to miss a beat. In short the 5 on 5 design gives you a very strong nuc with reserves come spring.

However, upon review, if you try what I do don't make my mistake and use foamboard. This year I'll be using some home-cut plastic board that they can't burrow through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Actually, I have plastic divider board that I bought from Brushy Mt years ago but never used. They adjustable both height and width-wise and I'm sure a bee couldn't chew through. Maybe I'll finally get a chance to try them out!

I just came in from watching the robbers trying to get past the robber screen. They look very frustrated!
 
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