First year hive swarm

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MamaE
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First year hive swarm

Unread post by MamaE » August 27th, 2017, 6:56 pm

Hello my name is Elyse. First year beekeeper. I have two hives. On Monday August 21st one of my hives threw a swarm. I captured that swarm by cutting the branch off and gently shaking bees into new hive. I am guessing I got the queen because the bees have not left the hive. It has been six days since I captured them. I opened up the hive today to do a check. They are building comb collecting small amounts of nectar and pollen. But there is no eggs or larve. Just wondering if my hive is queenless? What is everyone's opinion? This is the captured hive not the mother hive. I have not yet checked other hives to see which hive swarmed. I was planning on giving mother hive 10 days before I inspect them.

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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » August 28th, 2017, 2:15 am

It is very late in the season. The swarm is not likely to build up enough to get through Winter. The 'mother' hive may have an issue now too, if a queen cannot get mated.

I would inspect ASAP to see which hive has swarm cells, then cut them out and re-combine.

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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by MamaE » August 28th, 2017, 5:31 pm

I have been heavily feeding all hives and providing pollen substitute. The swarm hive is building comb just haven't seen any eggs. I read that sometimes worker bees will even lay multiple eggs in comb when queen less but they aren't doing that either. There is still some nectar and pollen flow going on in Iowa but obviously slowing way down. I guess I will have to check my other two hives tonight if it quits raining to see where swarm came from.

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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by Countryboy » August 28th, 2017, 6:53 pm

I would inspect ASAP to see which hive has swarm cells, then cut them out and re-combine.
Please ignore this advice. You should not have any swarm cells. The hive has already swarmed.
Just wondering if my hive is queenless? What is everyone's opinion? This is the captured hive not the mother hive.
Most likely, the hive has a queen. If they are queenless, usually a swarm will drift back to the mother hive.

If it was a virgin with the swarm, sometimes it takes a few days before she mates. You mentioned that it has been raining a lot. Maybe the virgin hasn't mated yet still.

Are the bees in the swarm calm when you open the hive? A queenless hive will usually get very agitated when you open them, and the bees will fan very hard and loud. It is known as a queenless roar. It's hard to explain, but once you have experienced it, you will know to recognize that behavior in the future.

"Usually" you will see eggs within 2 weeks. If you don't see eggs at 2 weeks, you probably have a problem.

If the swarm doesn't build up enough to overwinter, you can combine. Or add a honey super with drawn comb to the swarm, and allow them to use that comb to overwinter on. Feed it good, and you should be able to overwinter it, even if you just overwinter as a nuc or a single.
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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » August 28th, 2017, 8:59 pm

Countryboy wrote:
August 28th, 2017, 6:53 pm
I would inspect ASAP to see which hive has swarm cells, then cut them out and re-combine.
Please ignore this advice. You should not have any swarm cells. The hive has already swarmed.
Funny, whenever I've had a hive swarm, there are swarm cells in the hive. Are you trying to say that it's just a figment of my imagination? It has been my experience that the swarm leaves before the new queen hatches out.

You spout a lot of opinions and attitude that I generally don't agree with and I usually keep shut about that, but telling her to "ignore this advice" is just plain wrong.

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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by NKsBees » August 29th, 2017, 9:54 am

Sometimes mated queens stop laying in rainy periods.
For example, if they can't get pollen, they won't be able to lay very much.
Just my $0.000002

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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » August 29th, 2017, 4:32 pm

MamaE wrote:
August 28th, 2017, 5:31 pm
...I guess I will have to check my other two hives tonight if it quits raining to see where swarm came from.
Yes, that is one of the primary reasons for checking for swarm cells- so that you know which hive is the problem. Frankly, it's almost September, and [ I could be wrong but] I don't think that the odds of a successful mating are all that good.

Even if you *were* to get a good mating, the new queen would be behind going into the Fall/Winter season.

There is an old saying: "A swarm in May is worth a field of hay, a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon, but a swarm in July ain't worth a fly." At the end of August, going into September? It's worse than worthless- you could lose both the swarm hive and the mother hive.

I think you need to be prepared to re-combine the swarm with the mother hive fairly soon.

Edit:

Well, there's a bug- I had to put a space before the 'I' in the bracketed portion above because the software interpreted the bracketed portion as a tag for 'italic' without it, it seems to see the initial bracket and the 'I' and then ignores everything between the 'i' and the ending bracket.

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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by Countryboy » August 29th, 2017, 7:47 pm

Funny, whenever I've had a hive swarm, there are swarm cells in the hive. Are you trying to say that it's just a figment of my imagination? It has been my experience that the swarm leaves before the new queen hatches out.
A prime swarm may leave when the swarm cells are capped off. (But sometimes they wait until virgins have emerged.) But prime swarms are in April or May. (spring) They do not happen in August.

And when you have an old queen leave with a prime swarm, she usually begins laying again very quickly. As soon as the bees start making comb, she is trying to lay in it. This is not the situation we have here. It's been a week and no eggs.

Now when you have a swarm with a virgin (or many virgin) queens, it can take them a few days to sort things out and get mated and then start laying. That sounds a lot more like the situation we have here.

Also, the advice to cut out swarm cells is nonsense. It's a good way to end up with a queenless hive.
You spout a lot of opinions and attitude that I generally don't agree with and I usually keep shut about that, but telling her to "ignore this advice" is just plain wrong.
You also spout a lot of opinions and attitude that I generally don't agree with and I usually keep shut about that, but giving an inexperienced beekeeper bad advice like cutting out cells needs to be countered.

Maybe the reason you don't agree with my opinions is because you lack the experience I am basing things from. (You come across as rather inexperienced, to be honest.)
Frankly, it's almost September, and [ I could be wrong but] I don't think that the odds of a successful mating are all that good.
As long as you have drones and nice sunny days above 72 degrees, you should be able to get queens mated ok.

I still see drones in my hives.
Even if you *were* to get a good mating, the new queen would be behind going into the Fall/Winter season.
However, queens reared after the summer solstice usually lay like they are fresh new queens, and can lay a ton. If a queen can lay 3 rounds of brood before they settle into their winter cluster, bees seem to have a good shot at making it.

A lot depends on the size of the swarm. A tiny swarm will have a lot harder time reaching critical mass to be able to overwinter. A large swarm will have a lot better chance of getting established for winter.

If you give a late swarm some drawn comb (even a honey super) it will help them immensely to be able to overwinter.
At the end of August, going into September? It's worse than worthless- you could lose both the swarm hive and the mother hive.
Could? Maybe, maybe not. What's likely?

While late swarms are not very common, I've hived them and overwintered them. I know other local beekeepers who have hived late summer swarms and had them overwinter. A lot depends on what the fall flow is like.
I think you need to be prepared to re-combine the swarm with the mother hive fairly soon.
I think you need to wait a little before combining. See how strong the swarm hive is. And sometimes, late summer swarms come from somewhere else, and land near your hives. I've found late summer swarms within 100 yards of beeyards, and all my hives were full of bees and no signs of any swarm cells.

Overwintering a late swarm as a nuc or a single is an option too. I have had a lot of success doing this with late swarms.

It's my experience that combining 2 weak hives often results in a weak hive that won't overwinter. I'm better off trying to turn them into a 5 frame nuc and overwinter them that way.
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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by MamaE » August 31st, 2017, 2:42 pm

The mother hive that swarmed still has a lot of bees. When checking for swarm cells I seen the queen. To me she looked mature and her abdomen was plump. But upon checking the hive she is not laying and worker bees are putting nectar in brood comb cells. What should I do? Should I recombine the swarm back in this hive?

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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by MamaE » August 31st, 2017, 2:50 pm

Mother hive also had a lot of queen cups I left those a lone. The swarm has a good amount of bees. After they settled into the brood box pretty much all the frames were covered with bees. I still have quite a few drones in my hives and still have capped drone cells in hives. Weather is still in high 70's and yesterday I think it was 80. Bees are also still bringing in pollen and nectar. I live in Iowa and weather here is all over the place. We could still get warm snaps.

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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by Countryboy » September 1st, 2017, 4:22 am

What should I do? Should I recombine the swarm back in this hive?
Personally, I would leave them both alone. You can feed them if you want to. See how they look in early October, and decide if you want to combine then.

If you have a local experienced mentor, you could ask them to look at the hives and tell you if they are strong enough for your winters.
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MamaE
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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by MamaE » September 1st, 2017, 4:42 am

I just joined a local group and I have been talking with the head guy. Maybe I can have him ask anyone if they would like to come look. I really don't know anyone in the group because I have only been to two meetings. But thanks for all your help!

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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by eltalia » September 1st, 2017, 11:13 am

"I have been heavily feeding all hives and providing pollen substitute."

Leaving aside your prime question for a minute I am inclined to consider
the whole of the dilemna (now) has it's roots in that declaration.
Feeding bees does bring it's own level of familiarity with bee beehavior,
in knowing how much when.
From what's posted thusfar I would offer it is highly probable the "mother hive"
is behaving so from a surplus of feed, both in it's initial action of issuing a swarm
and now in the queen taking a break - as much of the resource is artificial, introduced
by yourself.
Only you can know through looking at how much pollen and honey stores on those
frames versus how wide a brood pattern. It is a judgement call, sure, but rushing into
feeding when uneccessary 'cos there is what one does is worth reviewing in light of
your troubles now.

Bill
ASK not what your bees can do for you.
ASK what your bees cannot do for you.

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MamaE
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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by MamaE » September 6th, 2017, 5:38 pm

Took a look at all hives today. Swarm hive has queen! That hive has eggs, larve, and capped brood. Mother hive finally has a queen that is laying. There are some eggs, larve, and a small amount of capped brood. I put pollen patties on all hives because to me it seems their pollen collection is depleting. I took second honey supers off mother hive and my other hive because they were not complete. My question is can I put a super that is about 60 to 70 full of honey on my swarm hive for winter. Not all of the frames are drawn out. My mother hive and other hive I left one full super on each for winter.

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Re: First year hive swarm

Unread post by Countryboy » September 8th, 2017, 7:57 pm

Swarm hive has queen! That hive has eggs, larve, and capped brood. Mother hive finally has a queen that is laying. There are some eggs, larve, and a small amount of capped brood. I put pollen patties on all hives because to me it seems their pollen collection is depleting.
Sounds good.
My question is can I put a super that is about 60 to 70 full of honey on my swarm hive for winter. Not all of the frames are drawn out.
Yes. And if you get a decent fall flow (or feed) the bees may finish drawing out the frames before winter sets in.
B. Farmer Honey
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