when can you predict if a swarm cast will survive

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beefaye 

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hiya

I transferred a swarm cast to a hive last Monday. A couple of days later I checked for a queen and spotted a virgin queen scurrying about.

I closed the hive and have been feeding them ever since as I had no drawn comb available for them.

The colony have been working away as they should ever since.

I am opening up the hive tomorrow to see if the queen has now mated and laying.

I am hoping for the best and plenty of drones floating about ready and willing.

The cast was very small, possibly covering 2 frames at the most.

What should I look at within the hive to predict if the colony will be strong enough to keep going till the first of the brood hatch.

I know I am being optimistic and should wait till I open the hive, but I am curious to know the answer regardless of the situation with my hive.

I am all for letting nature take its course but I also want to know how I can predict the result ahead of time.
 

alldigging 

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Insulate, feed.
Think about merging them as to not waste the bees?
 

Polyanwood 

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If the cluster was grapefruit sized or smaller they would do better in a mating nuc than a hive.
 

derekm 

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Insulate, feed.
Think about merging them as to not waste the bees?
Insulation level think minimum of 50mm kingspan on roof and walls, if poly nuc add 35mm minimum.
we got 5 colonies of that size thru last summer and winter with 100% survival. This spring brood and a half.
 
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Tom Bick 

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If its a full sized hive then without it been dummied down then its a bit big.

I hived in a 6 frame nuc a cast swarm a couple of weeks ago that when I collected could have filled a pint glass and perhaps similar to your cast. The queen has mated and they have built half a frame of comb full of eggs and a frame of brood on the drawn frame I gave them.

I now need to make a plan either combine them to a made up nuc from one of my other hives or as I have time feed them a frame of emerging bees every couple of weeks.

This cast is a bonus to me and intend to overwinter it in a nuc when nice and strong but for the initial time best let the queen get out and mate, and let the queen and bees prove themselves before you intervene and as you say let nature take its course.
 

mbc 

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Their best chance of survival IMO is to not fiddle with them too much until the queen has mated, could be up to three weeks and in my experience not likely to be much before a fortnight, and then once shes laying, if she appears to be a good one, boost the colony with a frame or two of sealed brood from elsewhere.
 

Chris B 

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Their best chance of survival IMO is to not fiddle with them too much until the queen has mated, could be up to three weeks and in my experience not likely to be much before a fortnight, and then once shes laying, if she appears to be a good one, boost the colony with a frame or two of sealed brood from elsewhere.
:iagree:
Apart from feeding leave alone for 2 or 3 weeks.
Any talk about insulation or hive size is of secondary significance at this point in time - it's warm weather and they don't have any brood anyway.
 

Finman 

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hiya


The cast was very small, possibly covering 2 frames at the most.
.
That swarm has only value of queen, and the quality value is propably zero. 2-frame colony is not able to continue its life.

If you want to keep the colony, take a frame of emerging bees from big hive. So you get 4 frames bees. When they are layed, give again frem of emerging bees. In 4 weeks you have a box full of bees.

This way I handle my mating nuc. First queen and one frame of bees. When the queen starts to lay after 10 days, I add frames of emerging bees.

NO FEEDING: They get from nature more than enough food. Give a food frames from big hive. If you feed small colony, it may start robbing and small gang does not stand it.

.
 
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derekm 

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hiya

I transferred a swarm cast to a hive last Monday. A couple of days later I checked for a queen and spotted a virgin queen scurrying about.

I closed the hive and have been feeding them ever since as I had no drawn comb available for them.

The colony have been working away as they should ever since.

I am opening up the hive tomorrow to see if the queen has now mated and laying.

I am hoping for the best and plenty of drones floating about ready and willing.

The cast was very small, possibly covering 2 frames at the most.

What should I look at within the hive to predict if the colony will be strong enough to keep going till the first of the brood hatch.

I know I am being optimistic and should wait till I open the hive, but I am curious to know the answer regardless of the situation with my hive.

I am all for letting nature take its course but I also want to know how I can predict the result ahead of time.
We got a very small swarm (2 frames) on the 14th from one of our ow hives. We put it into a full sized hive with 50mm kingspan insulation top and sides(down to the entrance). We fed them a bit of fondant as we did not have a frame syrup feeder available. We did not want to put and ecke or a super above them for a feeder as that would make them colder.
Today we received a frame feeder, on opening we found the small colony had eggs and small larvae. We have every hope of it being a full sized colony next spring on brood and a half as we have been here 5 times before.
 

sandysman 

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That swarm has only value of queen, and the quality value is propably zero. 2-frame colony is not able to continue its life.

If you want to keep the colony, take a frame of emerging bees from big hive. So you get 4 frames bees. When they are layed, give again frem of emerging bees. In 4 weeks you have a box full of bees.

This way I handle my mating nuc. First queen and one frame of bees. When the queen starts to lay after 10 days, I add frames of emerging bees.

NO FEEDING: They get from nature more than enough food. Give a food frames from big hive. If you feed small colony, it may start robbing and small gang does not stand it.

.
:iagree:
Good advice from Finman. Just what I have done today.
Andy
 

Finman 

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:iagree:

Any talk about insulation or hive size is of secondary .
You have 300 hives. Do you play with 2 frame hives ?

(The cast was very small, possibly covering 2 frames at the most.)

What is the value of queen in such colony. Zero I say.
 

derekm 

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You have 300 hives. Do you play with 2 frame hives ?

(The cast was very small, possibly covering 2 frames at the most.)

What is the value of queen in such colony. Zero I say.
:icon_204-2::icon_204-2::icon_204-2::icon_204-2::icon_204-2::icon_204-2:
 

Finman 

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I do not know what he laugh so nicely.
But if the hive makes 2 frame swarm, the value of queen is very round zero.

If the swarm is 7 kg, it is a good layer origin.
 

beefaye 

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thank you for all your advice....I stuck with the advice about leaving the bees alone for now.

I will give them another couple of weeks then check what I have.

I will then decide if supplementing is required. I have just set up my new site and all colonies are new so I can't easily add in new brood at the moment.

A queen under these circumstances may be of zero value to some but I am willing to hold back and see what the cast can do. It was a colony I didn't expect to have so there is no loss in allowing nature to takes its course for a little longer. All going well, I can then give them a helping hand in July for Winter preparation.
 

shudderdun 

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A small cast is spending its second night camping under one of my hives, tried to box it but it decided to congregate back under the hive again, had to leave it as it was about 9pm and I had to go to work.

If I manage to capture them tomorrow, (thats if they are still there) would it be giving them a better chance of survival to unite them with another colony ?
 

shudderdun 

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A small cast is spending its second night camping under one of my hives, tried to box it but it decided to congregate back under the hive again, had to leave it as it was about 9pm and I had to go to work.

If I manage to capture them tomorrow, (thats if they are still there) would it be giving them a better chance of survival to unite them with another colony ?
Just seen an earlier post from Oliver90owner, they might be part of the colony, they only appeared after Q did a mating flight/swarm on Sunday ?
 

Finman 

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I am all for letting nature take its course but I also want to know how I can predict the result ahead of time.
That is the most odd thing I have ever heard?

Makes any sense. Hives die even if you intention is to keep them alive.
 

drstitson 

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should really have been put in a 4-6 frame nuc (poly preferably) or if really small a mating nuc.

if a full sized hive is all you have they need dummying down and insulating.
 

shudderdun 

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should really have been put in a 4-6 frame nuc (poly preferably) or if really small a mating nuc.

if a full sized hive is all you have they need dummying down and insulating.
OK drstitson will try and put them in a insulated nuc.

Thanks
 

shudderdun 

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I now know where that cast came from, it wasnt a cast, it was a small swarm from a nuc I made up from a cast on 15th June.

I checked it on 6th July and saw eggs on the first frame, then closed it up, I had seen what I wanted.

I checked it yesterday 10th July and found 4 unsealed QC on the third frame in, I didnt think that they had swarmed as the QC,s didnt look big although they were charged.

MISTAKE --- I didnt check any further and expected Q to still be there, so I took the QC down thinking that if in the unlikelihood there wasnt a Q they would make what did look like 1 to 2 day old eggs into QC,s.

Sorry guys I cocked up dindnt I.

It was only after I did this did it all click into place, those bees under that hive have swarmed out of the nuc. I just didnt think they would want to do this so quick, I didnt think the nuc was full, there is lots of space for Q to lay,there was only a small amount of eggs and grubs, the other reason the swarm was only small and anticipated it to be a cast from somewhere else.

So QUESTION is :-

I am sure that swarm will still be there when I get home 7am, it was still there at 10pm last night. If I can get them to stay in a box (I have tried 4 times, they just dont want to go in Q must be playing hard to get. What is the best way to unite them with the colony they came from. I now realise I need to put them in a BB and not a nuc.

Thanks.
 

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