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BeeNice 

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Hi everyone. Last week I caught a swarm and had them walk into a nice new hive, I fed them with suger water and they were coming and going. Today I went to see them and they have buggered off. The comb wasn't drawn, this swarm was a caste, not a prime. The only thing I changed was from a tub with a hole in it as a feeder to a rapid feeder, this the bees emptied before leaving. What did I do wrong? or is it just nature, how can you prevent this? and any other idea on making a swarm happy enough to stay. Thanks
 

broandy 

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you did not do any thing wrong I have had a few swarms that have done that
 

hoomin_erra 

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On this vein, i have a quick question.

I noticed a few scouts sniffing about the spare supers and brood boxes i have outside my back door.

IF they decide to take up residence, can i close them up as soon they are all in and move them? Or will this just spook them into leaving again?
 

admin 

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3 things that work well to try and glue a swarm to a hive is:

1/ Give them a frame of brood,(bees dont like to desert brood).

2/ Place a queen excluder between floor and brood box for a couple of days while they build comb.
If they do swarm they will return as the queen cannot join them.

Remember not to leave the QE on for to long as the queen will need to mate if its a cast swarm.

3/ Dont hive them around midday,dusk give them a chance to get used to the new hive without a chance of them swarming again for 12 hours.
 

BeeNice 

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Thank you for your advice. Can you just drop a frame of brood in from another hive, I don't have any spare. The queen excluder is a good tip, I have an excluder for this hive on order. If I collect a swarm during the day, how long can it stay in the collecting bin for, would 4-5 hours be to long til evening. These bees stayed for 6 days, got a free meal and went. They were just using me! I would have thought that in that time they would have started to build comb. I have another swarm in a nuc box, when would be the earliest time I could safely inspect the nuc box without scaring them await.
 

justme 

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Last week I caught a swarm and had them walk into a nice new hive, I fed them with suger water.

Not really any help on your query but I understand that you shouldn't feed a swarm (of unknown origin) for 3 days so that they will use the honey they've brought with them to build comb. Helps cut AFB?/EFB/Nosema etc spores.
 

Midland Beek 

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They dunna like hives that have had mice nesting in them. So the rumour goes ...

Oh, you got a new hive anyway.
 

SteveH 

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...I caught a swarm and had them walk into a nice new hive... Today I went to see them and they have buggered off.
Was the hive treated recently to make it weatherproof? Some of those treatments have a strong smell and if not fully aired could discourage the bees from staying put.
 

oliver90owner 

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I don't have any spare

Cannot understand that, unless your other two are nucs (or cast swarms!). A frame with a few eggs would e better than nothing.

would 4-5 hours be to long

Should not, but might depend on what type of bin. That is why collecting them in a skep is good - plenty of ventilation, natural material and all that. I usually collect on at least an old frame, or two, in a nuc box, moved as soon as possible, preferably more than 3 miles (they then need a new set of scouts and a new set of alternative domiciles).

These bees stayed for 6 days, got a free meal and went

Seems like you may be better off without them! 6 days and no comb at all. Never seen that happen, unless a tiny caste; and even then they have drawn a small piece of comb.

swarm..... when would be the earliest time I could safely inspect the nuc box

Any decent swarm should be hived in at least a National brood box PDQ. Is this a prime swarm or a cast? A prime swarm might easily be getting overcrowded in a week, especially if you have fed it. For eg, I hived a 'not large' prime swarm in a 14 x 12 brood box with foundation, and no feed at all, and the box was completely full of brood and stores in exactly 3 weeks. That is likely over 3 times as big as your nuc.

Regards, RAB
 

jezd 

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After dealing wth dozens of swarms of the years I would say none of the above are 100% for keeping them in as 1 in 5 will leave with not trace even if you place brood with them. QE dont hold them either and cause chaos as they trap drones in or out of the hive. My advise is to transfer a swarm late in the evening and feed with large medicated syrup feed immediatly, also try and avoid using nucs for swarms unless they are tiny.

I dont recomend swarms to new beekeepers anymore, any I get I always requeen at the first signs of poor temper. To be honest I now think swarms put new beekeepers off as they often start calm (when in swarm mode) and they can become plain mean within 4-6 weeks.

As RAB says a good size swarm with draw out all 11 combs within a week.

Swarms do not always stay, you have to accept that as a fact.

Jez
 
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Haughton Honey 

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Lots of Commercial hives.......
As RAB says a good size swarm with draw out all 11 combs within a week.
And that, in many ways, is what they're good for.....drawing foundation....and that's what some beeks only use them for before re-Queening.
 

Annrbel 

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Our regional bee inspector advised us that placing a queen excluder on the floor to prevent the queen leaving can end up by killing her, apparently if the colony wants to leave they will try to push the queen through - consequence -horrible.

Also will people please stop advocating killing drones. Drones are natures way of ensuring proper mating of queens, added to which they are good for the colony in ways we just lack understanding at the moment, but would not be tolerated in numbers if they weren't. We allow all our colonies to produce as many drones as they wish which means other beekeepers in our area benefit, lots of drones means survival of fittest. We also get lots of honey, just had our first lot from the hawthorn which flowered with abundance and was covered by the bees - light and not overly sweet. Prepped as cut comb!
 

oliver90owner 

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apparently if the colony wants to leave they will try to push the queen through - consequence -horrible.

Anyone any real-time experience of this, rather than anecdotal third party hear-say?

I, for one, have not. Seems standard practice to temporarily prevent swarming for instance (that or the bees return when a clipped queen is horribly dead after falling in the grass under the hive.)

RAB
 

dudley 

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Great subject matter! I have not had any failure on hiving my few swarms, but, I wonder if I am doing things a little wrong sometimes.
When I go out to collect the swarm it’s usually late afternoon early evening. When I have got them in my upturned box, on my sheet, I leave them alone until the returning bees have found Her Majesty. But if I come back and I still find bees entering and exiting my swarm box I cannot bring myself to closing it up and taking it home because of the stragglers. So I come back later, usually at dusk. Then when I am sure ALL the bees are safe, I close up, and bring them home, by which time it is too dark to hive them.
So I do it in the morning.
Interestingly they do make comb quick as I have found perfect comb hanging in my swarm box made overnight.
They have hived ok in the morning, but I do open myself up to them deciding to bugger off straight away.
Should I not worry about the stragglers, get them home before dusk or is hiving in the morning ok?
Steve
 

oliver90owner 

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Dudley/ Steve/ whoever you are!,

Hiving in the morning?

OK. As I said earlier if they are moved away from the swarming site they then have to scout out for likely new homes, so that, in itself, increases one's chance of keeping them. With 6 colonies, a frame of brood may well be the only extra weapon you may need in 99% of the swarms collected.

I like collecting them into a nuc box with foundation. By the morning they may will be drawing comb enthusiastically . Popping the lot into a brood body with a Q/E under for a day is usually more than enough. Invariably a slotted steel sheet excluder (unframed) sags at the unsuported entrance edge; I prop it up with some pieces of wood and remove them later (insert a piece over the excluder to make an exit for drones, if necessary). Remove a week later when disturbance is no longer important issue.

Regards, RAB
 

dudley 

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Dudley/ Steve/ whoever you are!,

Hiving in the morning?

OK. As I said earlier if they are moved away from the swarming site they then have to scout out for likely new homes, so that, in itself, increases one's chance of keeping them. With 6 colonies, a frame of brood may well be the only extra weapon you may need in 99% of the swarms collected.

I like collecting them into a nuc box with foundation. By the morning they may will be drawing comb enthusiastically . Popping the lot into a brood body with a Q/E under for a day is usually more than enough. Invariably a slotted steel sheet excluder (unframed) sags at the unsuported entrance edge; I prop it up with some pieces of wood and remove them later (insert a piece over the excluder to make an exit for drones, if necessary). Remove a week later when disturbance is no longer important issue.

Regards, RAB
Thanks Rab,
Dudley is just a nickname.
I had not thought of adding brood to a swarm. It would also give them a head start no doubt?
I cannot see how you would pop a swarm cluster into a nuc box with foundation. Do you ad the frames after you have dropped them in? In which case wont the cluster form up on the underside of the nucs lid and you would still have to knock them back in the box, but this time down on top of the frames and chance spilling them outside the box and chance losing the queen?
Steve.
 

oliver90owner 

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Hi Steve,

RAB is/are my initials, some call me Oliver (but that is a tractor).

Sorry, should have explained a little more fully. My nucs are 14 x 12. OMF floor. A 'super' available if required (a pair together make a good sized bait hive). They were some of the extras when knocking up the Dartingtons. I clip them together with adjustable toggle fasteners (from Th*rne) or screw them together, along with the lid.

Remove a frame, or three.

Replace frame, or three, carefully after bees are in. Cluster will not be on the crownboard by this time.

If the queen spills outside the box, start again.

I know it would not appropriate in all cases but it is my preference.

Leave them over-night in a nice warm place (in the hall?). Transfer to hive body at earliest convenience (before wife gets up in the morning, or soon thereafter!). They will already be building comb by the time they are hived.

Thinking about it, Perhaps I will make one up with the super part on the bottom, but as I am not a professional swarm collector, I'll probably do it if/when needed for a really big swarm!

Hope that explains it a little more succinctly.

Regards, RAB
 

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A friend of freindhad a swarm recently deep inside a bramble bush with no way of getting near them without totally destroying the hedge. I got called to have alook but couldnt immediatly think of anyway to get near them and in despereation tried them with a 14x12 nuc box with some very old comb on a stand close to the hedge but although a couple of bees pocked about in the box they wouldn't budge. After a couple of hours I was reaching the point were I was about to give up. The nice young lady who owned the land said she would then have to get someone in to destroy them.
I hated the thought of this and quickly went the 3 miles back home and collected a frame of brood, returned and put it in the 14x12 nuc box and waited. Within five minutes the swarm just upped piled into the box and half an hour later all was quiet in the hedge. I collected that night and all are doing well.
Will definitely try a frame of brood again, it seemed to act like a magnet to the swarm.

Cheers
 

buzz lightyear 

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Anyone tried sticking in one of those swarm lures?
Picked up a swarm tonight, getting too late to start pulling brood and no olf frames handy. Thinking on my feet, rthought I would use the lure I bought at Stoneleigh (dont ask me why).
I just know one of you guys are going to tell me they will have taken off by this time tomorrow.
Buzz
 

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