How long to draw comb?

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MartinB 

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My new swarm of bees arrived 2 days ago. Much larger than I expected, they are heavily covering 3 frames of new foundation and lighter covering on two more. They are settled in and very active, I see many out foraging like mad. They have syrup to give them a boost but I don't know when to expect them to draw comb so the queen can start laying. When would the more experienced of You expect to see drawn comb? How soon after I see that would you expect to see eggs?
 
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RoseCottage 

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I am in a similar situation as yourself. Our swarm arrived a few days ago and within 48 hours had started to build some comb under a standard BB frame hanging in a deep BB. The queen had also started laying in It.

A couple of other deep frames had been started in terms of drawing out comb. Not much but they had started. We have chosen not to feed them but to let them sort themselves out and see if they stay on the job and don't think of leaving. If you feed them this may well accelerate the drawing of comb and if you ate near OSR the you may still get some stores in a super. For us we are not worried this year.

We probably should have added a single drawn frame to help the queen get started but the bees have sorted this.

All the best,
Sam
 
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merylvingien 

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Sam, no need to add drawn comb for a swarm, let them sort it out themselves, they come prepared for that nonesence LOL

With an average size swarm, i would expect a single frame to be drawn within a day or two, i believe this is just to get the queen active and start laying, once this has been done, the bees stores are depleted and the comb making slows a little as they then need to forage to get further nectar to produce wax.

I wont get into the debate about feeding them, i will leave that for more experienced debators or is that masterdebators LOL

I am going to try out some experiments this year though and not put any foundation in at all.
Small cell comb trials to begin shortly.
 

Mike a 

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I prefer to give one frame of drawn comb, it may not have any thing to do with my success rate, but I've not lost a swarm yet once captured. I don't bother using a QE under the brood chamber because I used 6 frame nucs now to collect the swarm and I don't have QE's to fit them.

Some bee keepers like to give a frame of brood to encourage the swarm to hang around, however the way I look at it (just my humble opinion of course) once the cells have been cleaned out and polished and the queen starts laying surely she is more inclined not to abandon her own eggs.

I'm sure there is a very good reason why swarms abscond but until I collect one that does I'll stick with what works for me.

Clean hive - New frames - New foundation (plastic wax coated) - poly nuc - 6 frames and leave them alone once collected for 3 days to check to see if they are drawing out the frames - if slow then feed no more than a pint, inspect again at 9 days to see if the queen is laying worker brood. No smoke or rain water mist used until at least the 3rd inspection.

:seeya:
 

grizzly 

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The swarm i collected last wednesday had drawn 4-5 frames completely by saturday and the rest partially, the queen had started laying, i gave a small external feeder of syrup, but would not give any future swarm capture syrup as they had taken up some laying space to store it.
 

biggles 

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Hi
The swarm I collected on the 13th has drawn the comb on all 12 frames and eggs or brood across 11.
Never seen a swarm build so fast! No wonder the swarmed ;o)
 

oliver90owner 

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MB'

My new swarm of bees arrived 2 days ago. Much larger than I expected, they are heavily covering 3 frames of new foundation and lighter covering on two more.

Is this a swarm or a package? If it is an ****bee package..........

RC,

You will befuddle some of the new beeks talking about standard and deep like that. They are really the same, I would suggest.

Simply, the 3 sizes of National box should be referred to as shallow, deep and extra deep (or jumbo, but is also now simply called the 14 x 12 - just to complicate things a bit more!)

Both shallows and deeps are used for supers or broods, depending on the way the beekeeper chooses to operate, but extra deeps are only normally used as broods.

Not using the correct terminology will inevitably lead to misconceptions and ocasional misunderstandings of posts. Some, of course, will say otherwise, but they are likely the usual ones who don't comprehend the differences anyway!

RAB
 

Winker 

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I got my bees last week, they have drawn out 1 full frame 1 smaller frame from super and built drone comb on the bottom of it (clever little girls). This smaller super frame is for varroa control, but I have to say, looking at the vorroa tray. I have had 0 varroa drop in 9 days of having the bees. A second full frame is half way to being fully drawn out.

I did feed them for the first week as instructed by my local BBKA mentor, but this was more of a hindrance to the queen more than anything else. The cells that she should have been laying eggs in were full of syrup, so its slowed down her laying. But she is back on track this week with loads of new eggs and uncapped brood.

I think my saving grace here was existing capped brood hatched out, which gave the queen more room to lay eggs.
 

alynewbee 

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Just to add my tuppence, I had a swarm Thursday before last pm, put them into a new hive, all new foundation, didn't feed them. Inspected them after 7 days. They'd drawn out every one of the frames, both sides, stored loads of nectar and some honey. Not sure about eggs though - but that could be my failing eyes! Absolutely amazing to see them go at that rate. Was advised to put a QE and a super on top, just to be safe, which might just have averted disaster. Good luck with your swarm, hope all goes well.
 

aifw 

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Just to add my tuppence, I had a swarm Thursday before last pm, put them into a new hive, all new foundation, didn't feed them. Inspected them after 7 days. They'd drawn out every one of the frames, both sides, stored loads of nectar and some honey. Not sure about eggs though - but that could be my failing eyes! Absolutely amazing to see them go at that rate. Was advised to put a QE and a super on top, just to be safe, which might just have averted disaster. Good luck with your swarm, hope all goes well.
All, you provide some reassurance and answered the initial question ( around 7 -14 days for a brood chamber to become comb complete) I got my swarm 6 days ago, I did not feed them initially ( ignorance is partly to blame as a new bee keeper, now corrected by BBKA Mentor), foundation is new and the comb is coming on 6 of the 11 frames in the brood. I have put a feed on them and noted that the stores on the brood are increasing and filling, yet to see any real egg laying though seen workers and a few drones as well as some pollen in place.

Will leave then till Saturday and inspect again, noting the bees are very well mannered.

Hopefully may find a Queen in the next inspection, if not will have to think what I do next?
 

Rory 

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my swarm after 6 days had fully drawn 9, and part drawn 2 frames. queen had fully laid -/+7 . I added 1 super as brood & 1/2 following week this was fully drawn and 7 frames laid with an arch of about half frame. I have added 1st super as this colony is set to explode!
No feed given at all, and this swarm had been up a tree for 5 days prior to collection.
 

madasafish 

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Well my bees swarmed : in the two days when it was not raining.

Housed them and fed them and still am: it has rained every day for over a week and apart from yesterday, daytime temperatures have been 12-14C and nightime 5-7C.

No feed = death by starvation with our local weather.
I use empty hives (topbar or warre) with waxed bars. Period. First swarm has two combs. Second housed last Thurday has one.

Raining again today..

Yesterday was 17C.. looked like various mating flights.
 

Poly Hive 

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This is one of these "How long is a piece of string" questions that can leave people feeling even more concerned about their bees.

How strong is the swarm?

How warm is the weather?

Can they forage?

Is there nectar to be obtained?

How fresh is the foundation?

And before I forget pollen arriving is no sign of brood at all. Who teaches this fallacy I have no idea but queenless colonies will stuff brood boxes with pollen.

If the weather is bonny then leave them to it. If it pours with rain day after day then feed them.

There is no rule. There is no "Average Target of achievement" it literally all depends.

KISS

PH
 

madasafish 

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aifw 

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Just to close this posting :) Now have a laying queen, appears that this was a caste ( virgin queen ) so took 3 weeks in brood chamber before I saw evidence of eggs/larvae and so she appeared to be awaited for some mating weather ..

Thanks for your advice.
 

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