Hi Guys! I’m new here and new to beekeeping this year. I bought my first hive of bees this year and they’ve been wonderful so far. I’ve also been lucky and caught 4 swarms at my house too in nuc boxes. My question is this… I accidentally caught this last swarm in a nuc box without frames. I wasn’t meaning to catch anymore this year, because I’m a little unprepared for another hive lol. But I was wondering when I should try to add frames to them? It’s been 24 hours since they’ve moved in. Someone also told me I should winter them over in the nuc box also, since it was a July swarm? Any advice would be appreciated, thank y’all so much!
Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!
ASAP, before they get creative with comb that you may well have to damage, when you rubber band it into frames later. Don’t wait more than a day or two, swarms build comb very fast!
Well, I would wait and see. Give them 5 frames if that is the size of your nucleus box. When they have full drawn out comb on all frames and each frame is 80% full of food or brood, I would consider moving them into a full size box (8 or 10 frames). If they don’t use that space before winter, you can always move them back into the nucleus box.
Nuclei can be tricky to overwinter, so if they are not doing well by late September, I would consider merging them with one of your other hives, having first dispatched the queen.
Just a few thoughts.
Thank you so much for your fast reply. I’ll go out there in a minute and put those in, because the messy comb was what I was worried about and I didn’t want to scare them off, but don’t want a mess either. It looks like a huge swarm too, So I’m a little nervous as to what I’ll find. Lol I wasn’t expecting to catch this many this year, especially in my own front yard. Considering this is my first year doing it. I’m dealing with mites in my hive that I actually bought first. They seem a little weak and it looks like they might be fighting with other bees on the outside of their hive. So maybe they’re getting robbed already. I bought a trap to put in, so hopefully that helps. I’ve been researching and researching, so wish me luck! Thank you again and I’ll stay updated with pics and probably many questions lol! Thanks and glad to be apart of the honey flow community!
You may want to invest in a robbing screen. I use one just like this, but 8-frame rather than 10-frame. You may need to hunt around to find the right size for your hive:
This is prime time of year for robbing - heat of summer is often the beginning of a nectar dearth until the fall flows commence. We don’t get a fall nectar flow in SoCal, but I think you might in TN - @Martha would know better than me. If you don’t do something about robbers fairly quickly, the hive can be compromised severely within a week. Not wanting to scare you, just something to think about if you are sure there is robbing going on.
A trap for mites? Traps are good for small hive beetles, but I haven’t seen one that works well for mites. For those you will need something like an oxalic acid vaporizer or some kind of treatment strips.
By the way, if you have a strong hive which could donate a frame with uncapped brood in it, that would help to persuade the swarm to stay. Swarms are large numbers of nurse bees, and nothing makes nurse bees happier than caring for baby bees.
Thank you very much! I’ve been reading about the vapor. I actually thought the mites and beetles were the same thing. I’m a noob. Lol I put the frames in the nuc earlier and the swarm was gone! Only like 10 bees still hanging around. So I don’t know what happened there. Bees are such strange creatures. I’ll buy the robbing screen for sure, I know that’s what’s going on there. Thank you again. I’ll keep in touch!
@Dawn_SD as always has good sound advice and covered your questions very well.
SHB and mites are two totally different thing, except that they both play hell with bees. Luckily in Australia we only have the SHB to contend with but in hot and humid weather they can explode in numbers and knock a colony about in a big way.
Robbing doesn’t seem to be as big an issue except if there is a dearth(a dramatic drop off in nectar), maybe it is luck but I haven’t had it happen here, but then there is a fairly constant supply of flowers and nectar. No problem about being a beginner, we are all learning more each day about bees.
Our dearth has commenced. The bees seem feisty and I put sugar water out to see if they take it and when that happens I put in in their hive with a top feeder. I have started a bee fight robbing situation just doing an inspection. I now cover the bees while inspecting because it gets bad. That seems to do the trick as I use 2 telescopic lids, place one upside down and set a brood box in it then place a telescopic lid on top of that. For my open box I use a piece of old bed sheet to cover the open area. So far so good.