Just caught what looks like a secondary swarm in the yard of one of my honey customers. It was about 1km away.
They’re now tucked up in a nuc box in my back yard.
Going to try to sell it for the cost of the nuc and frames I used.
While they’re in my apiary awaiting their new home do I open the door and let them forage, or keep it closed?
Is there nything else I need to do?
Unless your selling them in the next 12 hours you have to let them out, they’re a swarm and have no resources.
Once you let them forage you should probably let them settle down for a week or more so they can reestablish brood rearing.
Too much disturbance could make them abscond.
Are you sure you got the queen?
Yep pretty sure. They all marched in once I tipped the main cluster into the nuc box and when I went back to pick it up after dark, they were all inside, so I’m confident.
Thanks again for the advice.
I normally bring the swarm in, let them fly, draw comb and start laying. I then assess brood 2-3 weeks later and work out requeening strategy. Unless you are 100% sure it is a secondary swarm with a new virgin The old queen is just that, an old queen. You can sell with that disclaimer at a lower price, as you indicated, or requeen with a cell or mated queen and then sell.
Let them out to forage Ron, Leave them to settle in and get into the bee routine. look for larvae in a week or two then you will know if you have a mated queen there. Don’t over do the inspections for a week or two and they have bonded to the new hive or they could abscond.
It was pretty small so I think it was a secondary. I think I’ll put the word out and if I don’t get a bite quickly, I might even buy a brood box and sell it as an established hive eventually.
Thanks for your reply Adam.
An establish colony in a brood box is worth a lot more than a nuc Ron, even without it being large enough to have a super on the hive.
So I’m pretty sure it’s a secondary swarm I caught. It’s not massive. Assuming the queen is a virgin, how long before I should see eggs? They’re on 5 frames of fresh foundation.
Fingers crossed for maybe getting on a plane in 4 weeks or so. I’ve got 3 weeks off coming up and nsw has had no cases in 3 or 4 days.
Hi Ron, I figure on about 2 1/2 weeks to three weeks from the time a queen emerges for her wings to harden up and she gets her strength to do her mating flight then returns to her hive and begins laying eggs. The time can vary because her mating flight can vary in length as she won’t return to the hive till she is full of semen and weather can also be a factor.
A secondary swarm will be a lot less than the original swarm as the colony size is reduced. I’ve done a lot of reading about if a secondary swarm involves a virgin queen but opinions vary a lot even among experienced bee keepers. My thought is that the secondary swarm takes the mated queen and another un-mated queen emerges, the same as in the first swarming.
Here is hoping the borders open up soon. I’m not close enough to be in the border bubble and have a beginner who lives 200 meters in NSW wanting me to visit ‘needing’ to do a split but not confident enough to do it on his own.
Hope to catch up soon Ron.
Bloody things swarmed!
We did a split more than a week ago and they swarmed anyway.
There were no queen cells when we split it. They got 4 new frames of foundation… Thought we did everything right this year.
What the hell?
Swarmed or absconded?
I’m confused - is this the same lot of bees that you caught as a swarm a few days ago or another hive/s ? Maybe I missed something.
Sorry for the confusion. I actually replied to an email to Peter after a private conversation. So he’s probably only only one who knew what I was talking about. The Swarm earlier in the week was from an unknown hive. Yesterday our Hive swarmed even though we split it two weeks ago. I thought we’d done everything right. Very disappointing.
You running single eight frame brood boxes?
Yep with a flow super on top
Just my opinion but in Sydney I believe a single eight frame brood box is too small.
I haven’t heard that before. Why is that?
An eight frame box has 20% less space than a ten, and given the two outer frames are usually honey, you’re effectively giving the queen six frames to lay in, rather than eight in a ten frame box.
In Sydney bees are pretty much on steroids, perfect climate and plenty of resources, such that they can build up and swarm very quickly, and as most urban beekeepers have day jobs, having a second brood box does act as a sort of insurance policy to help delay swarming if for some reason you cannot get into your hives to inspect.