My wife found what I assume to be a long lost swarm that has taken residence in a worn out tractor tire by her garden. (Probably the swarm that left me with a mean, b*@$# - queen hive). The bees are docile so she likes having them in her garden but she was planning on using the tire for a raised bed. Should I leave them be (deliberately avoiding the bad pun) for now as we are heading into our mild winter and move them come Spring? Or will they be OK if I feed them. My inclination is to leave them except they seem rather exposed in that tire and I would think a nice bee box would be preferred.
I think I would move them. Most exposed colonies in non-tropical climates don’t make it through the colder seasons. They may not make it anyway, but at least you have given them a chance.
If she likes bees in her garden, why not set them up there? If there are only enough bees for a nucleus, you can get Styrofoam (polystyrene) boxes in the US now, which might be a better choice. You might need to use follower boards if you can’t get a nucleus box and the colony is small.
I’m thinking, rather than disturbing them now, to instead shore them up for the coming months. I figure a sheet of plywood across the top with a gap for access should help protect them from the elements. Maybe find something to fill some of the space, too.
I think that I would be inclined to get them into a box, seeing as you have a mild winter. I would choose a warm sunny day to do the transfer.
You might as well do that, if you’re doing to do something. You have to do it sooner or later.
I agree with Jeff, the longer you wait the more work you’ll need to do, more comb, more bees… Get in there.
OK. I got the message. I’ll move it first warm day. I got the new home set up nearby. I don’t have a nuc so I put a piece of foam down the middle of a deep to reduce the volume (will install bees on one side). I filled in the other side with frames with wax foundation (what I had on hand). I have three without foundation I will use with rubber bands with their existing comb. Took some pics in case anyone sees something my novice eyes are missing.
Looks like a great setup. I think you are doing the right thing for them.
Looks like you got your ducks in a row. Looking at you the tire hive … that’s pretty exposed n probably the BEST IDEA !
Love your set … great impromptu emergency hive (Perfect) … not heard anyone say or mention this thought yet. Try to place the Nuc as close to the original spot as the tire is. Otherwise your bees place in that new box are going to use their internal GPS n go right back the the spot you pulled them out of.
Guess that’s my only thought … Good luck
N go for it.
PS… where or what part of Az is Queens Creek ?!
Just a note… I captured a swarm in a styrofoam box and before I could get them properly housed the bees chewed away at the foam creating a fine foam dust which got into everything including their nectar stores. It was an awful mess. I would replace the foam with wood if possible if I were you.
Yup. Used to be a sleepy Ag town but the city found us!
Buzz thru there n Phoenix area back in September 2012. It was 104 dgs @ Sunset ! That’s terrible ! Visit with friends for 12 hours in A.C. House … before the sun cracked the Eastern Phoenix ridge I was pushing the gas peddle n heading for Flagstaff… Now that’s an okay place n temps were okay ! Stayed 4 days up there visiting the “Big Hole in the Ground” (Grand Canyon)… that’s one impressive deep n wide scenic HOLE ! Love to go back n check recheck that out once again ! Tuscan was pretty nice too. I checked out that big Green House complex there (the Bio-Dome) too. Wasn’t any honeybees around that I saw … but maybe I wasn’t looking good enough.
Got a little old lady just called with no heat ! Got to be getting down there n see what I can do ! Frosty outside this morning (30.0 dgs) …
LOL! I don’t even break a sweat at 104. Now, these 45 deg mornings are killing me! Wish me luck, making the move today - nice and sunny with a high of 72.
Wishing you all the best and may the gods of bees smile upon you for trying to help.
The deed is done. I fear the hive is doomed. I saw very little brood but I’ll keep feeding them and see. For grins, I put together a very short time lapse. Don’t blink!
Shortly after this finished, I put the lid on - just left it with the box on top a few minutes to let the bees crawl out.
You may mock my suit of armor - but no stings!
Tock … 45 dgs. That’s T-shirt weather up here except for marsh mellow n snowflakes …
That’s why you live there n I live here in the Eastern Cascade foothills.
We got up to a blazing 43.3 dgs this afternoon after a frosty 28.0 dg sunrise.
This afternoon I popped the top for a quick couple minute “Looksee” n slid in a couple more patties as our coldest month just dropped in on us n I know my hives are light on the honey side …
Should be having a spectacular moon rise here soon. Suppose to be a Super Duper Moon (first full of the 2018 year) …
Happy New Year !