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aintbeezgreat 

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I do welcome some criticism but please make it constuctive.

I have been ready for my first colony of bees since attending all of my local beekeeping club meetings last year but a combination of lack of time, lack of money and some very bad decision making had, frustratingly, kept me beeless this year. That is until last Tuesday, when I was asked to remove a swarm of bees.

I had no experience in swarm collection but I didn't have time to think about it; I was told that the bees HAD to go by the following morning. So armed with some good advice from friends, I returned at crack of dawn next day and by about 6 am I had a cardboard box full of bees. This part went like a dream. I have to say I was proud of myself.

The next part was hiving them. I originally planned to make a ramp up to the entrance and let them find their own way in but I had been told that you can just shake them straight into the hive and chuck the lid on. As time was not on my side, I went for the latter.

It did work ...........................but....................................I made a last minute decision to put an empty super on top of the framed super to sort of funnel them in a bit. I then left the empty super on and quickly put on the inner and outer lids. Retreated for a while and when I returned, after about half an hour, everything looked good. I then decided to leave them alone and checked again on Saturday. Still looking good.

I hope to have a little look inside one evening this week and I am beginning to worry about what I might find. Will the cluster be building comb in the empty super, ignoring my frames? Does it matter if they are? Am I a numbnut?

Watch this space.
 

Mike a 

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I returned at crack of dawn next day and by about 6 am I had a cardboard box full of bees. This part went like a dream. I have to say I was proud of myself.
Did you hang around to make sure all the bees were collected or did you leave some flying around there.

I prefer to pick up swarms in the late afternoon / evening to ensure the whole colony is taken otherwise those left behind can turn a little tetchy.

Will the cluster be building comb in the empty super, ignoring my frames?
At a guess to start with they may well cluster in the roof space and build comb but hopefully they haven't. It may be worth double checking and removing the empty super to force them to use the frames.

But good luck with them and hopefully they will build up quickly for you.
 

MuswellMetro 

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first well done, a swarm can be rather daunting;;you are now a beekeeper

if you are lucky they will be on the foundation, you will soon know as they will be comb under the crown board if you are unlucky

so when you inspect, take some large rubber bands and a knfe

if you have wild comb in the super, shake the bees off and cut out the brood comb, and shape it to a frame, using rubber band to hold it in..make sure the queen goes in the brrod box not the ground

dont destroy any store just rough them up and place on the crown board with the feed hole open
 

Rosti 

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:iagree:
with Muswell & Mike, good advice.

I would add this, take a good long check of the hive entrance before you inspect internally. See how settled they are - pollen coming in, flight frequency? nectar coming in (heavy landings)?. I would be tempted not to disrupt things more than I needed to. I agree with the others, you may find comb in that super, where I 'disagree' in the broadest sense of the word is that I would not disrupt the rest of the brood box so early, you may not have a mated queen and so the colony is not fully committed to your hive without brood. Remove the super either way. This time of yewar I would not feed either.

If you have wild comb in the super I would remove it, inspecting carefully for the queen, also check for any signs of eggs etc in it. I would sacrifice the wild and once removed leave them for 3 weeks. The only minor learning I would offer would be to have removed the super you used to funnel them in the next morning after hiving to avoid the above, but sounds like a good job well executed. Congrats.
 

YorkshireBees 

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Having been reduced to a single colony over the winter I have actively pursued swarms this year by getting my name on the local council lists for honey bee swarm collections. I am by no means an experienced swam collector but have ben lucky to be called out to 10+ swarms this year!
My peronal preffered method is to use a cardboard box, which I have now modified by inserting a porter bee escape in the lid so that once I have the majority of the bees in the box I am able to seal the box up and leave it until the evening to catch the bees that are still out forraging!

Once collected I generally use the quicker method of tipping the bees into the hive, however after the experience of losing a swarm which decided for whatever reason to swarm back out of the hive after a few hours, I now configure my hive with a queen excluder on top of the floor then and empty super (to give some space) followed by the brood body full of frames of foundation (or comb if you have some spare). Once the bees have been tipped into the hive and I am sure the queen is no longer in the swarm collection box I gently replace the crown board and roof.
I leave the queen excluder and super in place for a maximum of 48hrs to try to prevent the swarm leaving the hive before removing them and setting the hive into a normal configuration.
This has worked for me and on Saturday it really helped as I had collected a nice large (prime) swarm Friday night and hived it with my method that night only to get a call from my sister, whilst I was attending my local BKA apiary meeting, to say that the bees were swarming from this hive!
On returning home I found out that the bees had attempted to swarm and then returned to the hive, presumably as the queen had not been able to leave the hive.
**It should be noted that the queen in a swarm is probably a lot slimmer due to being slimmed down to be able to swarm in the first place and therefore may be small enough to fit through a Q excluder, however it appears to have worked in this case.

I also feed the swarm some 1:1 sugar syrup after 48hrs when I remove the Q excluder and super.

I believe the only way to build up experience is by doing it so well done in collecting your first swarm. If they have built brace / wild comb in the empty super you left above the brood box then as already said in other replies remove it and fit it into the brood box as best you can.
 

oliver90owner 

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YorkshireBees,

You now have enough colonies to spare a frame of brood for your caught swarms. A good way to encourage them to stay.

Regards, RAB
 

Midland Beek 

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I hope to have a little look inside one evening this week and I am beginning to worry about what I might find. Will the cluster be building comb in the empty super, ignoring my frames? Does it matter if they are? Am I a numbnut? .
Sods Law says they will be building wild comb in the uppermost box, and when you remove the lid it will all break off and you will end up squashing the queen and all thet effort will have been wasted.

Swarms prefer building comb in an open cavity 1000 times more than they do Thornes ultra premium foundation.
 

YorkshireBees 

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YorkshireBees,

You now have enough colonies to spare a frame of brood for your caught swarms. A good way to encourage them to stay.

Regards, RAB
Yes thanks, I realise that and in fact I have already used a frame of brood to bost one of the colonies. The problem is that when I started collecting swarms my main hive had swarmed and whilst waiting for the new queen to hatch I did not want to risk opening it up!
However I have enough strong colonies now to do what you said.
Thanks for the tip.
 

aintbeezgreat 

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Thanks everyone

I had intended to box the queen and return later but this wasn't an option. They were in an awkward situation at a home for adults with learning disabilities. The manager was concerned about the residents who might well have interfrered with the box, regardless of signs and warnings given. My concerns were for the bees. I was worried tha if they got a bit lively and somebody got stung, some ignorant eegut might have waged chemical warfare on the lot. So yes, there were a few left. These amounted to a cluster about the size of a tennis ball. Am I right in thinki9ng that they should have returned to the original colony?

After hiving them, I really wanted to leave well alone for a while. I have no interest in harvesting honey yet. I would like to give them the best chnce of strengthening and surviving the winter. I only intended to make some quick checks inside this year.

Seems like i will have to disturb them a bit more so that I can at least remove the unwanted super. I do like the idea of moulding the comb onto a frame and this will give me opportunity to see the queen. Is it necessary though? Could this be done next spring or will the comb be too large by then?

Anyhow, might be alright. I'll let you know.
 

Midland Beek 

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I only intended to make some quick checks inside this year.

I do like the idea of moulding the comb onto a frame and this will give me opportunity to see the queen. Is it necessary though? Could this be done next spring or will the comb be too large by then?
If you want to give your bees the best chance of strengthening themselves and surviving the winter the progress of colonies should be checked quite closely. That's how you spot things going wrong, like, for example, disease.
 

aintbeezgreat 

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Thanks. I really meant to say that I only want to do the absolute minimum of opening the hive. Strange really because I love observing the bees and handling the frames and looking for brood etc.

Point taken though; "quick look" does make it sound like an unproductive look. I will act on your advice and ensure that when I do open the hive the checking will be effective.
 

aintbeezgreat 

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Had a look this evening. Didn't go well!!!

Removed the outer lid then carefully lifted the crown board. I was expecting to see wild comb; you have all been telling me that. But I didn't expect it to be so large. It was about 5 or 6 layers amounting to something about rugby ball size. I wasn't prepared for this so thought I would have a very quick look at the frames below and then put it all back and seek more advice.

I was slowly lifting the board upwards, trying to get enough space to see the frames when it happened; just like Midland beek said in post 7. The whole lot just dropped, straight down onto the top of the frames.

I looked down and saw just a big dripping mass of comb and honey. I swore ... a lot... and then tried to pick some of it back out. It seemed like I was just making the whole situation worse. So I then decided to put some frames into the 2 sides of the super and place this over and around the big blob of what once was wild comb. On went the inner and outer lids and then I backed off.

I was absolutely gutted. Not sure if Q survived. Not sure if I have messed the whole colony up. I just stood and watched as the bees outside made their way back to the hive. I could have cried my eyes out. What a stupid mistake it was to leave that empty super on!

I've been told that if Q survived, the bees will repair the comb and salvage what they can. They will build in the empty space but when they have filled that they should use the frames in the brood box. It might be possible to lift the crown board and super as one and inspect the brood box and add supers when necessary. Does this sound about right?

If so then I feel bad to have undone all the work of the bees but I should be able to split them next year and hive them properly

If Q didn't survive, ????????????????
 

tkwinston4 

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Had a look this evening. Didn't go well!!!

Removed the outer lid then carefully lifted the crown board. I was expecting to see wild comb; you have all been telling me that. But I didn't expect it to be so large. It was about 5 or 6 layers amounting to something about rugby ball size. I wasn't prepared for this so thought I would have a very quick look at the frames below and then put it all back and seek more advice.

I was slowly lifting the board upwards, trying to get enough space to see the frames when it happened; just like Midland beek said in post 7. The whole lot just dropped, straight down onto the top of the frames.

I looked down and saw just a big dripping mass of comb and honey. I swore ... a lot... and then tried to pick some of it back out. It seemed like I was just making the whole situation worse. So I then decided to put some frames into the 2 sides of the super and place this over and around the big blob of what once was wild comb. On went the inner and outer lids and then I backed off.

I was absolutely gutted. Not sure if Q survived. Not sure if I have messed the whole colony up. I just stood and watched as the bees outside made their way back to the hive. I could have cried my eyes out. What a stupid mistake it was to leave that empty super on!

I've been told that if Q survived, the bees will repair the comb and salvage what they can. They will build in the empty space but when they have filled that they should use the frames in the brood box. It might be possible to lift the crown board and super as one and inspect the brood box and add supers when necessary. Does this sound about right?

If so then I feel bad to have undone all the work of the bees but I should be able to split them next year and hive them properly

If Q didn't survive, ????????????????
Why dont you ask someone more experienced to help you out? I am sure there will be a kind beek out there somewhere willing to help.
Dont give up hope and put it all down to experience. :)
 

aintbeezgreat 

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I have been advised at every step and it has to be said, the swarm collection went like a dream. Even the transfer to hive went well to a point. I did evertything that was advised but then made one stupid mistake.

To rectify this, I did try to act on advice given on this forum but, with the benefit of hind sight, I took too long. And that's where the problem lies. A combination of my hive being away from my home and my very busy work schedule at the moment, means that I can't be as committed to my bees as I would like to be. I have got people who would come to the hive and give me practical help but it is impossible to arrange this because I just visit the hive when I find a chance.

Point taken though and I might take a day off soon to concentrate on my beekeeping....it will probably rain!
 

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