Did we do the right thing?

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House Bee
May 26, 2010
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Fife, Scotland
Hive Type
Number of Hives
Here's the story (i warn you it's a long one, but better too much than not enough i think):

my neighbour and I are both new-ish beeks (got our colonies last summer) & both have/had single colonies till last week.

neighbour's hive was full to bursting, so last week (monday) he split his hive (AS?) - 5 frames in each of the new and the old.

all seemed well and plan to revisit old colony next monday.

ah-ha, things are never that straightforward in the world that is beekeeping it appears.

he pops round this afternoon to tell me he has "an awful lot of bees flying around".......we investigated and found a swarm cluster underneath colony original. turns out another neighbour appears to have seen something last Tuesday (day after inspection) but never got round to mentioning it!.

rubbish day today up here but couldnt leave them even longer, so armed with Mr Hooper's book we set off the blind leading the blind.....but did our best.

we got a sheet and put it as best we could under the hive, got a cardboard box, propped it up and then stood over with a brolly to try and keep the worst of the rain off them while neighbour swept them onto the sheet (really hard to get into corner and also working without being able to see was not easy).

anyways after a bit some of them went into said box and stayed there - leading us to assume some Q or other was in there.

left it as long as we dared, (weather was getting worse by the minute of course - howling wind and torrential rain now!), then made a ramp up to hastily assembled hive 3, placed sheet on ramp and shook bees from box onto sheet. smoked and brushed them up ramp - didnt see Q but couple of clusers of bees fanning with their wings we think - assuming this was where she maybe was.

if it was the original Q, she is marked but we certainlt didnt see her - and the cluster/swarm was very small in comparison to the only other swarm i have seen first hand - presumably cos the colony was split the day before they appeared to swarm?

most of them went up and in - eventually.

we put a makeshift crown board (5pm, shops shut and only spare crown board used on the split from last week) on, 1:1 syrup and left them in peace.

what else can we do?
when should we do it?

presumably there are now 3 weak-ish colonies - should he try and unite? if so, how and when?

not possible to check hive 1 (original) as the weather by this point was atrocious.

many thanks and apologies for lengthy post but i often see replies that state there isnt enough information for guidance so thought i'd try and tell you everything as best i could!!!!

thank g for this forum...oh and mr hooper's book.... oh and our course last year........:bigear:
In the event that the weather is against you just pop them into the brood box, dinna faff about with running them in. That is for films, demos and playing highly curious. Otherwise turn the container upside down and give it a brisk bang to pop them in.

agree with PH - running in is nice but tipping straight into a brood box is much easier - especially if weather against you.
Doesn't sound a lot like any A/S.

Were there queen cells present?

Split and left twelve days? (you say 'last week', not 'this week') or was it this week? Last Tuesday was this week!

5 frames in each does sound a little odd for an A/S and it would probably have been better to have left them in the box you collected them in until the weather had settled a bit.

Anyhows Babybee I have sent you a PM
sorry to have misled folks, no, it wa monday just there and they swarmed on the tuesday (5 days ago in other words).

he doenst want 3 hives so ideally he'd like to combine if he can. any suggestions on how and when?
BB - you say that you have Ted Hooper's book. All of your enquiries are answered in there. Your artificial swarm was 'unorthodox' to say the least. One accepted method is to:

  1. move hive to one side
  2. place new hive with new frames of comb (or foundation) minus 1 on original stand
  3. find queen and place her on a frame of brood and a goodly dollop of bees (no queen cells) in 'new' hive on original stand
This action would be taken on finding queen (swarm, as opposed to supersedure) cells in the original hive (and before they are sealed).

Those are the basics. Flying bees return to the 'original' stand thereby augmenting bee numbers in the queenright hive. This will leave younger bees tending the brood and queen cells in the queenless hive, to raise a new queen. You should remove all but the best one (or maybe two) queen cells to prevent casts further down the line.

Tho' that doesn't help you much until the next time...
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for those of you that were kind enought to either pm me or reply on here, may i thank you very much.

Perhaps you might like to re-read the bit where I said that HE (ie not ME) did a split on Monday.........

MY role was to help capture the swarm yesterday.....which was done AS PER MR HOOPER'S BOOK - by the book actually - he doesnt make mention of the ramp one only being for TV but actually puts it as the first option.

living and learning, living and learning:grouphug:
aye that's probably true (he did actually), but so much to learn.

Pity we cant all be experts in our first year....

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