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pargyle

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Location
Fareham, Hampshire UK
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6
So, I got home from work just after 5pm, did my usual saunter round the allotment area and the apiary ... all quiet on all fronts, bees flying in the late afternoon sun - pollen coming in - bees flying from the Nuc I started off on Sunday with a bought in queen and frames and bees from two other colonies. Breathed the usual sigh of relief and left them to it. Sat in the garden with a glass of juice enjoying the sun in the West ... you get the message ... Good Karma !

'Er indoors came home from walking the dog via the side gates which are round by the apiary and said 'your bees are busy' ... What she knows about busy bees is limited to the odd one or two that occasionally get into greenhouse but I know better than to argue, bit my tongue and declined to say that I'd just been round there and nothing much was BUSY ...

But ... I know the look that said ...."Are you questioning my .. fill in the blank ?" So off I trot to the apiary.

Now the first question is "What self respecting prime swarm takes up residence in their new home at 5.45pm on a Tuesday"
Second Question - "Why did they choose to take up residence in a Nuc that was clearly half the size of the space they needed and already occupied by a new queen and a decent number of bees - more so when there was a very respectable bait box on the shed roof not more than 15 feet away ?"

Got my gear on and I opened the Nuc up - absolutely rammed with bees and the same number on the front and underneath and there in between the frames was my new queen, still in her cage but not yet released. Bugger it ... I'm in uncharted territory now.

I put the queen in her cage in my pocket, got a spare brood box and put it alongside the usurped nuc and transferred all the frames from the Nuc into the brood box along with some drawn frames and a frame of stores, shook and brushed the bees from the Nuc into it. It's fair to say by this time there were a a fair few bees in the air. I left a frame of brood that had been in the Nuc in the nuc box and put the queen in her cage on top and a fair few bees settled around her ..

I moved the box with the swarm in it to the other side of the apiary, took a couple of frames covered in bees out of it and transferred them to the Nuc (checking their wasn't a queen on them). Replaced the two frames I'd taken out with drawn frames and then closed everythiing up.

So, I've got a swarm in a brood box on one side of the apiary and there may be some of my bees in there as well and I've got a Nuc with a caged queen waiting to be released in a Nuc on the spot where the swarm landed and usurped the nuc - with bees from ... who knows ?

And I've left them to it ... will they sort themselves out ? Should I, tomorrow, swap the position of the Nuc and the Swarm to balance the bees or just hope that my bees return to my queen and the swarm bees return to their queen ? LIke I said, I'm in uncharted territory here so any suggestions are welcome. OR - What should I have done and what should I do next ? Dead easy this beekeeping lark isn't it ?

PS: Definitely not a swarm from my colonies - but very well behaved all things considered.
 

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The swarm bees that may be in the nuc will likely stay unless the BB with the swarm queen do some serious fanning which then may entice there sisters to join them , they are afterall homeless in a sense so any home is better then no home.. Any nuc bees in the swarm if nt killed may likely orientate back to the nuc on return from foraging as timing wise will be too short.

I think when a nuc is suddenly unindated and a swarm is the usrper , all one can do is as you have done . It is late afternoon/ early evening splitting them up as best as one can, tomorrow with weather set fair again they will sort themselves out if there is any sorting out left to be done. Depends on how exceptance goes and who is left alive if there is any fighting.
 
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The swarm bees that may be in the nuc will likely stay unless the BB with the swarm queen do some serious fanning which then may entice there sisters to join them , they are afterall homeless in a sense so any home is better then no home.. Any nuc bees in the swarm if nt killed may likely orientate back to the nuc on return from foraging as timing wise will be too short.
Yep ... thats the best I can hope for I think.
 
If after all that come Thursday the nuc will need another BB or transfered to a bigger box if rammed.
 
If after all that come Thursday the nuc will need another BB or transfered to a bigger box if rammed.
Fortunately, I have more kit in readiness. My worst fear is that the Nuc ends up with less bees than I would like to see in there in which case I'm going to have to donate some bees from other colonies.
 
Yes one will have to keep an eye on them numbers wise but I suspect most will stay with extras who have been shanghied to the swarm rejoing over tommorow or the next day if still alive.
 
So, I got home from work just after 5pm, did my usual saunter round the allotment area and the apiary ... all quiet on all fronts, bees flying in the late afternoon sun - pollen coming in - bees flying from the Nuc I started off on Sunday with a bought in queen and frames and bees from two other colonies. Breathed the usual sigh of relief and left them to it. Sat in the garden with a glass of juice enjoying the sun in the West ... you get the message ... Good Karma !

'Er indoors came home from walking the dog via the side gates which are round by the apiary and said 'your bees are busy' ... What she knows about busy bees is limited to the odd one or two that occasionally get into greenhouse but I know better than to argue, bit my tongue and declined to say that I'd just been round there and nothing much was BUSY ...

But ... I know the look that said ...."Are you questioning my .. fill in the blank ?" So off I trot to the apiary.

Now the first question is "What self respecting prime swarm takes up residence in their new home at 5.45pm on a Tuesday"
Second Question - "Why did they choose to take up residence in a Nuc that was clearly half the size of the space they needed and already occupied by a new queen and a decent number of bees - more so when there was a very respectable bait box on the shed roof not more than 15 feet away ?"

Got my gear on and I opened the Nuc up - absolutely rammed with bees and the same number on the front and underneath and there in between the frames was my new queen, still in her cage but not yet released. Bugger it ... I'm in uncharted territory now.

I put the queen in her cage in my pocket, got a spare brood box and put it alongside the usurped nuc and transferred all the frames from the Nuc into the brood box along with some drawn frames and a frame of stores, shook and brushed the bees from the Nuc into it. It's fair to say by this time there were a a fair few bees in the air. I left a frame of brood that had been in the Nuc in the nuc box and put the queen in her cage on top and a fair few bees settled around her ..

I moved the box with the swarm in it to the other side of the apiary, took a couple of frames covered in bees out of it and transferred them to the Nuc (checking their wasn't a queen on them). Replaced the two frames I'd taken out with drawn frames and then closed everythiing up.

So, I've got a swarm in a brood box on one side of the apiary and there may be some of my bees in there as well and I've got a Nuc with a caged queen waiting to be released in a Nuc on the spot where the swarm landed and usurped the nuc - with bees from ... who knows ?

And I've left them to it ... will they sort themselves out ? Should I, tomorrow, swap the position of the Nuc and the Swarm to balance the bees or just hope that my bees return to my queen and the swarm bees return to their queen ? LIke I said, I'm in uncharted territory here so any suggestions are welcome. OR - What should I have done and what should I do next ? Dead easy this beekeeping lark isn't it ?

PS: Definitely not a swarm from my colonies - but very well behaved all things considered.
Just on swapping colony positions, I've found it's probably ok when there is a flow on, but if no/limited flow, the workers can get edgy and ball the queen, so I've become a bit "once bitten" on that myself. Actually, when I think about it, it was twice bitten.
 
Just on swapping colony positions, I've found it's probably ok when there is a flow on, but if no/limited flow, the workers can get edgy and ball the queen, so I've become a bit "once bitten" on that myself. Actually, when I think about it, it was twice bitten.
I’ve often swapped positions with little issue however on the very odd occasion I’ve lost a queen. I’ve found it useful with balancing small nucs and larger hives.
Nowadays I’ll simply cage the queen with some soft candy knowing she’ll be out and laying again in 24hrs, I think it just takes the edge off the sudden influx of foreign bees.
The very minor inconvenience of caging her is certainly worth the additional security!
 
The queen in the Nuc is still in the cage that she came in and they had not eaten through the plug of candy as of last night. The Nuc is one of my eight frame modified Paynes Nucs so there's plenty of space in there. I'm inclined to leave them today to get accustomed to their boxes and then either this evening (they should still be flying when I get home from work) or tomorrow before I go to work swap the two boxes over and balance the boxes a bit. Before I do that I'll have check and see how many bees are in the Nuc as, if it's well stocked with bees, it may not be necessary. Fun and games ....

All quiet out there this morning - bees flying from all hives. Lots of Horse chestnut, syacamore and now the cotoneaster is in full bloom so lots of stuff about for them to forage.
 
Forage I find is generally good at the mo , mine are stuffing in spring nectar at a good rate. My pollen analysis from 2021 showed sycamore to be the most plentyful so one also assumes nectar was also.
 
Had a similar experience last week. Prime swarm decided to move into the single nuc on the bottom (occupied, but very weak after winter) instead of the lovely empty double nuc directly above it 🤦‍♂️Had to add a brood extension in the evening just so get them all inside. Queen now happily laying after chucking out the old lot.

IMG20230518144832.jpg
 
Well I had a look in tonight ....both the nuc and the hived swarm seem to have the right sort of level of bees - the queen was still in her cage in the nuc but there was no sign of agression towards her so I let her out of the cage and watched her disapppear into the frames. I'll leave them be I think. The swarm in the brood box were fine - plenty of bees and quite calm so I left them to it. Set up another nuc with bees and frames from three colonies, gave them a squirt of air freshener and ran the other new queen I had straight in ... she's been in a travel cage since she arrived on Friday onb the dining room table and I figured that was long enough. I sat the cage on top of the bars for a couple of minutes to see if there was any reaction - a few sniffed around but again no sign of any agression .. more curiosity it seemed. So I let her out ... it's either going to work or I'm a forty quid queen down the pan ! This beekeeping lark ... decisions, decisions always bloody decisions !!
 
So how many colonies is this now?
Just back up to 7 - I've got space for 7 in my apiary but any more than that it gets a bit congested. Hopefully there won't be any swarm cells now I've taken a couple of nucs out. Or swarms from somewhere else !
 
Got home late from work tonight and it was nearly dark. Just been down to the apiary with the torch and peered in through the clear crownboards - tremendous amount of heat coming up from both the nucs and the full colonies - always a good sign. Still plenty of bees in all of them, couldn't really see much of what is going on but the heat is reassuring that there's sufficient bees to get the temperature up and I'm hopeful that the temp is a good indicator that they are raising brood... time will tell.
 
Glade lavender is what I use - but only because I found it in her cleaning cupboard and relocated it to my bee box !
My choice was made in a similar vain, chosong the one with the lowest number below it on the supermarket shelf!
 

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