Micro mini colonies

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Joined
Jun 14, 2023
Messages
297
Reaction score
320
Location
Surrey, England
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
14
Yesterday, a large swarm landed in a bait box (bigger than the one in this picture) on the side of my house, then took off, leaving behind a cluster of workers.

Any ideas as to what I can do with them?

They are navigated to this spot. I'm not massively keen on trying to put them in the colony at the end of my garden, as I've no idea what they might have, and they'd likely return to this spot anyway.
1000026610.jpg
 
Yesterday, a large swarm landed in a bait box (bigger than the one in this picture) on the side of my house, then took off, leaving behind a cluster of workers.

Any ideas as to what I can do with them?

They are navigated to this spot. I'm not massively keen on trying to put them in the colony at the end of my garden, as I've no idea what they might have, and they'd likely return to this spot anyway.
View attachment 40423
Are they entering the box? I'd be inclined to have a glance inside tomorrow to see if there's any signs of comb building or other preparations for setting up home.
 
I put a mini rapid feeder of syrup inside the top of the nuc.
Over 2 hours 40% of the bees went inside.
I brushed my fingers over the remaining cluster and noticed they have started building wax on the wooden wall bracket (see the small white marks).
Despite poking around I still can't see a queen.
1000026665.jpg
 
I have a nagging memory that someone told me virgin queens can be quite hard to pick out. No idea if that's true.

James
 
Yesterday, a large swarm landed in a bait box (bigger than the one in this picture) on the side of my house, then took off, leaving behind a cluster of workers.

Any ideas as to what I can do with them?

They are navigated to this spot. I'm not massively keen on trying to put them in the colony at the end of my garden, as I've no idea what they might have, and they'd likely return to this spot anyway.
View attachment 40423
I’d put a frame with some eggs in it. The bees will certainly go in then and either start making a queen cell or not if there is a virgin there.
 
I have a nagging memory that someone told me virgin queens can be quite hard to pick out. No idea if that's true.

James
As much because of the different response to them by the workers as their reduced size, and they seem to move differently, less "plodding". Though I've not spotted many except the "pulled" ones, which are easily lost to the eye on a busy comb.
Mind you I've had some laying queens I really struggle to spot too! 😁
 
After 3 days, they're finally all in the box.
It's a micro-colony.
The warm weather is in their favour.
I don't want them to stay on the side of the house, so will look to move them in 2 weeks to the out apiary - that should give the queen time to finish mating - though it's only 1 km away, so a few will unfortunately return and perish, no matter what jiggery pockery I do - based on experience.
I'll then pop in a frame of unsealed brood. That should give them half a chance.
Interested to see what the currently invisible virgin queen looks like after mating.
1000026801.jpg
 
After 3 days, they're finally all in the box.
It's a micro-colony.
The warm weather is in their favour.
I don't want them to stay on the side of the house, so will look to move them in 2 weeks to the out apiary - that should give the queen time to finish mating - though it's only 1 km away, so a few will unfortunately return and perish, no matter what jiggery pockery I do - based on experience.
I'll then pop in a frame of unsealed brood. That should give them half a chance.
Interested to see what the currently invisible virgin queen looks like after mating.
View attachment 40454
Keep us advised!
 
There seems to be a competition in my garden to win the title of Tiniest colony.

This microscopic cluster was in another bait hive. They've even collected some nectar - see the old comb photo.

Again, I can't identify a queen.
1000027021.jpg1000027020.jpg
 
I wonder if a swarm has arrived & then left again, and these are a few bees left behind. I'd move the hive and shake them out near your other colonies.
I expect that’s what has happened in both instances. I really don’t think either of these will have a queen with them. It’s happened to me a few times….swarm turns up then changes it’s mind and sends the scouts out again. Swarm then leaves and a handful of scouts/foragers that were out at the time return to find everyone else has left.
 

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