I THINK that I just caught a swarm!

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Terri, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,842
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    I have been having a lot of trouble with robbing the last week or so.

    The weak hives ALREADY had feeders set up inside the hives, because they don't have enough stores. I set up a large pan of syrup outside as well, to take the heat off of the 2 weak hives. I put a wet (extracted) frame across the pan of syrup to attract the robbers attention.

    Well, the pan was empty so this evening I went to pick it and the frame up. To my GREAT surprise, there were 3 cups of bees clinging to the underside. Now, it was LATE sunset and past the time when bees should be in their hives. I could barely see, myself.

    Apparently the robber bees were a homeless swarm looking for free goodies.

    I put an empty box where the bees are, and put the frame of bees inside it. Chances are they will not survive the winter, but I have some frames of drawn comb to give them and I have no problem with feeding them with the other weak hives. From the looks of things, I would say that we have another month of good weather, so they MIGHT be sable to store enough syrup to last them the winter.

    That is, of course, assuming that the swarm doesn't leave first thing tomorrow morning. Bees will be bees.
     
  2. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    428
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    North Salem, NY
    Maybe you should combine some hives to start of the year with a few strong hives rather than some weak hives that barely made it through the winter and others that didn't even manage that.

    justgojumpit
     

  3. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,842
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    This has occurred to me.

    As much as I would like another hive to winter over, I think this swarm cannot build up enough population to live through a Kansas winter. There won't be enough bees to produce body heat.

    I think that I will medicate for mites as soon as the queen starts laying, so that I will have healthy bees. I can then decide where they can best be used just before winter. I will need to open the hives in a month anyways to remove the apistan strips: I can look at the hive strength then.

    Besides, if I delay combining the swarm until the last minute, I should have YOUNG bees to give my smallest hive instead of old field bees.

    I hate to loose the swarm queen, though. I BOUGHT a queen just two weeks ago, as one of the small hives had lost theirs. Her majesty had vanished about the time I was opening the hive, so it is possible that I accidently squished her.

    At any rate, I will get this little hive treated and ready for winter, and then look at the bee numbers in the other hives just before I close up the hives for the winter. By then, the swarm queen should have given me sealed brood and young house bees, who are young enough to survive the winter.

    As much as I would love another hive, I think I will have to combine this one
     
  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,842
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    Well, the other hives were robbing the swarm something awful, and nothing I did stopped them.

    So, I took pity on the cupfull that was left and am doing a newspaper combine. I would RATHER have let things be for another month and then choose the hive to combine them with, but it was not to be.

    So, instead of having young bees and brood to give to a hive in October, I am just giving them what is left of the swarm. The 2 queens will have to figure out who gets the hive for her own.