So the bees have swarmed and how fabulous was that to watch! Anyway I have got them in a basket and need to put them into a hive I have waiting (thankgod I bought a spare). How do I go about this to be successful? Thanks
Thanks ive managed to shake them in. Theyre all fanning at the entrance so I am sure we are all on board and Queen Latifa is present.
Ok so what happens now…all sorts of information on the internet. I have put the swarm in a poly frame with new brood frames. Some advice online says swap in some drawn comb and brood? That would involve me opening hives and I didnt really want to do that right now. I can but i wasnt due to open them up for another 4 or 5 days. Also what about the hive thats been left. Presume they will make a new Queen?
Sounds like your on your way with the new Swarm Hive ! As for the Queen … she’s not a new Queen but the other hives main girl … the Old Girl goes with the Swarm …
There are currently Queen (peanut shaped) Swarm cells at the bottom of one to several frames of your original colony/hive if you look/inspect.
Being a beekeeper ! I’d highly recommend inspecting each colony every couple weeks to be aware what is happening inside your colonies.
As for adding drawn comb frames … usually you as a newer beekeeper won’t have a lot of extras you can spare. Is this your first season ?!
As for your new Swarm Colony … yes ! It should be okay for the next few days. In a week I’d check to see if your girls are building correct frames of comb or getting creative with side comb n other unique wax creations. Sometimes redirecting starting side comb or remove is necessary to prevent a real MESS !
Enjoy n inspect,
You don’t need drawn comb for a swarm. A swarm is a comb drawing machine.
As for the old hive there will be a number of swarm cells, maybe up to 25. If they were my bees I would go straight in to reduce those cells to one unsealed cell and revisit in five days to remove any others the bees make after you close up the first time. Mark your chosen cell and brush the bees off to spot any more. Shake the bees off the rest of the frames as bees are good at hiding queen cells. If you don’t do that the bees will swarm again in ten days or so and possibly again and again. You will lose your honey. You can, of course ignore this advice if you don’t mind losing more swarms.
Hi Gerald. I am a new beekeeper…this is my first year. I am learning a great deal! This colony I had thought didnt have a queen hence I hadnt inspected them in the last week. When I last inspected them I couldnt see any eggs and so I had presumed I had maybe accidentally killed her the week before. I could see some QC’s so I figured they were making a new queen not getting ready to swarm so she is either a new Queen or alternatively the old one that didnt lay any eggs for a week? Nevertheless I have inspected the hive they swarmed from and they have a beautiful new peanut shaped QC hanging off the bottom of the frame (I have been panicking thinking I hope I was gentle enough putting the damn frame back!) Anything else that looked like a QC I have got rid of. Hope thats correct. There is some brood in there so I put it back together and left. I have put, into the swarmed hive, a frame of brood from another hive I have…A newbie but I now have 4 hives! along with a smudge of lemongrass oil and a prayer that they will stay in there. Have to say seeing them swarm is a remarkable thing when you have never seen it before. They went into my apple tree which was somewhat precarious to get a ladder to but I magaed to get my office bin under them and then whacked the branch with a stick. I figured I am damn well not letting all that lot go elsewhere. How long should I leave the hive with the capped QC before I check it over? (Also I should say the frames I put into the hive with the swarm in have foundation so they will build from that). Thanks for you response…so much to learn.
Dee is a local in the U.K. n years of excellent experience ! Read or reread her advice … it’s great advice.
P.S. here’s a diagram to know n memorize.
Thanks Dee I have got it down to one beautiful QC and will go back in on Friday and see whats happening. Certainly hadnt expected them to swarm as I had thought I had killed the Q accidentally as there were no eggs. Now I have read that the Queen stops laying just before a swarm. I had figured the new cells were a new queen being made. Pre swarm there must have been about 7 or 8 cells. My inexperience let me down but it is a steep learning curve. I am glad I have got her she really was a lovely Queen however I do recall the chap who sold them to me that she was 2 or 3 years old. Do you think there will be any further swarming from the swarmed colony?
colonies do not always swarm more than once- but they can. As you have reduced the queen cells down to one my guess is they won’t swarm again this year.
it’s quite fun catching a swarm, no? And yes- it’s an amazing sight.
@JeffH told me a good lesson last year: ‘don’t be out chasing swarms when you own hives are about to swarm’.
About a week after he said that.… I was out and about catching other peoples swarms- I came home and noticed a LOT of bees in the air in my own yard. Suddenly a LOT turned into MILLIONS- the air was full of bees- a giant swarm! Having caught so many other swarms I was out of equipment and had to give that swarm to a friend who had a hive ready.
UIf you have left just that one cell they will make a new queen and settle down. On Friday shake the bees off every frame to make sure you have got all the queen cells. Brush the bees off your marked frame to make sure there are no more there. Now leave them alone for three weeks. Some beekeepers have a quick look a few days after expected emergence in the morning or evening to check the queen cell is open. I don’t. I leave well alone for the new queen to mature and mate and start a new colony.
By the way. The idea that queens stop laying before the colony swarms is wrong. It’s still taught in bee books but it’s wrong. She is starved and jostled all the time for a week before the bees swarm to get her fit to fly but although it’s reduced she continues laying.
Thanks for all your help! Is there a way to tell if a hive is going to swarm. I had a split colony on 25th May that didnt make a Queen/or make a Queen that survived so I requeened a week ago. Today has been overcast for the first time this morning but now the sun is out and the bees at the front of that hive are busy busy busy! There are a lot of them! I was leaving that hive to check it on Saturday as I was advised to leave the Queen for ten days but I dont know if I should just check whats going on inside or are they just coming out now as the clouds have cleared.
Queen cells and a crowded hive are pretty good clues.
Thanks Dawn. Ok so good news. Ive been in and had a look. The new queen is there and moving in and among them. No sign of another Q or QC however the brood box was packed with bees. The supers are full of bees and honey too. I dodnt see any eggs yet or brood so I figured maybe they are overcrowded (or excited because she is there!) Not really knowing what to do next as there are so many bees buzzing round the front I figured stick a super (its all I have in the way of spare ready equipment) on top of the brood box and then move the QE up. It gives them space in this warm weather to move up? Gosh its times like this I wish I knew more!
You can put the empty super on top of the full ones if you want. It doesn’t have to go directly above the brood box box, and you don’t have to take the full supers off if you are not ready to extract the honey.
Blimey What does everyone do in the winter! These bees are keeping me busy making boxes and frames
I make extra boxes and frames in the winter, because I know I will need them, and I like to have at least 50% extras of equipment ready!
That’s what you do in the winter- make boxes, frames, etc.
Hi Dee/everyone. So its Friday and as Dee advised I went to check the QC/swarmed hive. Sun is shining and I have waited till it is 20 degrees to have a look. So here is the link for some photos.
There are pictures of 2 hives. The first 4 pictures are of the open QC that i left in the hive at the beginning of the week (the last picture isnt very good but the QC is at the very end of the frame in the background). It is now cleanly opened so she must be around and about. I didnt see her but nice warm day she may be off mating? There are no other QC’s in this hive so I think, as they say in Yorkshire, jobs a good 'un. What would you do now. Shall I leave this hive for longer than 7 - 10 days? Thoughts would be very welcome.
Now let’s move onto the other 5 photos! This is another hive. I didnt see the Queen or for that matter any eggs but there is a lot of larva curled round so around Day 9?. I think, looking at the photos, there is younger larva in there. Wearing glasses and the veil is not the easiest of jobs to see the little eggs but i did see a lot of what I think are the bees making QC’s. Looking at the photos would you agree and, if so, what shall i do next?
Many thanks for your help
I would leave it for at least 2 weeks. Even if you have nice weather, it can take well over a week for the queen to get mated. After emerging from her queen cell, she has to spend a couple of days in the hive eating and storing energy. Once strong enough she will go on her mating flights. Then it often takes a few days to several weeks after mating for her to develop her ovarioles and get good at laying. You have to be patient. I wouldn’t start worrying about a new queen until she is over a month old.