Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Swarm is Gone

The swarm that occurred on Monday afternoon has been sitting in the tree limbs... until now. When I got home from work today I saw that the swarm was gone, and moreover, it didn't take up residence in any of my swarm traps / empty hives :-( Oh well, someone (or something) has new bee neighbors...

I am still not sure where that swarm came from. I suspected it was either the Green Hive or the Brown Hive (the only two full-size hives which have queens). I suited up (in 85 deg heat!) to do a quick "tip check" on those two hives. A tip check is where I tip up the top brood box and look for queen cells along the bottom of the frames in the top brood chamber. That's where a majority of the swarm queen cells are made. I was looking for recently hatched queen cells.

Well, the Green Hive has 3 honey supers on it, and so it's a chore to take them off. Two of them are full of honey, and therefore heavy. But I took them down and didn't see any queen cells on the tip check. The Brown Hive was easier to do since it only had one honey super - again, no queen cells. But boy the Brown Hive was again nasty. I'm going to let things be until I extract honey on the 18th, and then I'm going to go on a search-and-replace mission for the queen. I've got 3 maybe 4 queens to choose from to replace her (one of the reasons I made up these nucs). Saves me $20+ when I need to requeen!

Since I was suited up, I decided to do two things.

First, I wanted to put a "mini-super" on the Gray Nuc. This is the nuc with the nice dark queen, and it seems to have the most amount of bees. The super was decorated by my son a year or so ago - he drew a bee on it. Last time I put the super on a nuc, I didn't have a queen excluder. The queen got up and used the top box as a brood chamber too. The only problem is that the mini-super uses medium frames, while the rest of the brood chambers used deeps. So when it came time to combine that nuc with a full size hive I needed to add more medium frames, and it took until spring until I could get the frames cleared out from brood to be available for honey.

This time I purchased a plastic queen excluder that I cut down to fit the nuc. I don't know if the bees will put up any honey (a nuc doesn't have that many bees), but it's worth a try. If nothing else, it'll give the bees somewhere to go. Anyway, here's the nuc:

I think it's cute!

The other thing I wanted to do was to find the queen in the White Nuc. I saw ample evidence of the queen, but never saw her. This time I paid more attention, and sure enough, she was on the last (outside) frame. She is again a dark queen, but not as dark as the Grey Nuc (sorry, no pictures - forgot to grab the camera). She now sports a stylish yellow paint dot like her sister queens!

I still need to make a trip out to Sutton to check out those hives. Maybe this weekend or some other time when it isn't raining.

1 comment:

  1. I had a swarm in a tree in my backyard and I took an empty box with a hole in it poured some store bought honey in it hung it by a string over an extension ladder and stood it up in the tree about 35 feet up. The next day the were all in it. Built a new hive and relocated them in it.


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