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My Bees Swarmed Today

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waggie 

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My bees swarmed at mid day today.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing; whilst the weather held we should have gone through the bees instead of blithely watching them bringing in the different coloured pollens, trying to decide what they had been foraging on.

Anyway, back to my tale:
The bees landed on the fence directly behind the hive. There appeared to be two separate entities. So, we placed an empty brood frame box on the fence above them and tried to gently smoke them up (bees go up into the dark don’t they? - they certainly go up your trouser leg quick enough if they have half a chance!)bee-smillie


The bees did not go up into the box as planned (as per book) but formed a rather nice football shape underneath it.

It started to rain - so we decided on drastic action. (also in the book)

Plan A (there wasn’t a plan B) I was to go underneath the bees with an empty nucleus box and my better half give the bees a sharp tap on top of the brood box, "and the bees will go into the box (queen and all)". That was the plan anyway.

The brood box above was suspended by said fence and a large plank. We forgot that we had placed a crown board on top of the box - yes, you know what happened next the crown board hit me on the head knocking my veil back and I got a couple of stings from some very upset flailing bees. However, there was no way I was dropping a box of about £200 worth of bees! So, I hung on to them for grim death. (My better half removed the stings afterwards – scraping the stings away with a hive too.) Next time he can catch the bees!

The bees were then shaken into a waiting brood box with undrawn foundation (all we had at hand). The bees stayed in the new hive - in fact they didnt even come out, but I knew they were in there, I could hear them!

By this time our mentor had come over (I phoned him earlier - don’t know what we would have done without him really.)

He checked through the old hive with us; still plenty of bees (and he reckons the super will be ready for taking off in a couple of weeks). He found several queens cells (some hatching) but only left a couple (we marked the frame with a coloured drawing pins). The colony looks healthy and thriving, sealed brood plenty of stores , however no eggs but best of all no sign of disease.

I feel we have really worked hard both last year and this (so far) in trying to keep the bees the best they can be(e), sorry couldnt resist the pun.

Our mentor suggested putting a sealed brood frame out of the old hive into the new one (thus providing the bees with encouragement to stay put). Which we did.

All in all I think things went well; we managed to save our bees after all and have two hives of bees now instead of one. A hive each now – I feel a bit of competition creeping in here !

We are now on the lookout for a virgin queens mating flight - hope the weather is going to be kind. Yes, we do spend a lot of time bee watching -there are some benefits of being retired!

So, in 3 weeks time we will be checking the bees again. In two to three days we might think about putting some syrup in a Miller feeder in the new hive.

If you are reading this and thinking of taking up bee keeping, get help by joining your local keepers. It’s good to have someone who can give advice and often offer practical, expert help. It’s invaluable for the beginner!

I can’t help thinking though that sometimes even experts get it wrong.

Whilst at the bee auction last week I was telling the story of my bees odd behavior and how I noticed quite a few drones and was told “nay lass its too early for bee swarming”!.
 

lesley245 

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http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/Smiles/iagree.gifMy bees swarmed too! Quite unexpected. The day was not overly warm. Sat out after work at about 6.30pm - bees seemed OK. Came in and made telephone call. Looking out of the window, saw dark blob on hedge I didn't recognise. Sure enough a medium sized swarm!
Husband and I managed to get them into a poly nuc without too much swearing and a couple of days later, added sealed brood to keep them busy. Marked Q (she had always alluded me in the big hive) and a week later, all seems OK (fingers crossed here). Bees flying from both hives and bringing in lots of multicoloured pollen including oil seed rape. If I can just persaude them to store some honey in supers.......... http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/images/smilies/smile.gif
 

Megabee 

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Hi, Two of my hives had queen cells in, i am in Cornwall so the bees are swarming here too. Im prity new too bees but thought id try artificial swarms. They didnt like my clumsey attempt much. Eventually got them in their new places but wasnt sure about what was best to do with the queen cells. I did a bit of reading and seems you can do nothing or remove all until next inspection and then thin out any others. If left, would virgins cast swarm or just thin themselves to one. Any suggestions which way to go.
 

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