I’ve been able to find tons of info on catching swarms and even doing cutouts.
This YouTube channel is particularly awesome for that: https://www.youtube.com/user/JPthebeeman
But I haven’t been able to find much information on managing a new hive obtained from a swarm, so I’ve got a few questions.
Some background that might color the answers: I’m in central Texas, USA, between Waco and Temple. Local beekeepers use between one and two 10-frame deeps for brood space depending on who you ask. (My local bee club seems very commercialized, focused on how much honey they can get, not necessarily on the welfare of the bees, which is the opposite of my take on things.) It’s well into spring this year, and most of the pastureland around me is completely full of wildflowers, especially Texas Indian Paintbrush. I captured a swarm by scooping them off a stone retaining wall into a box. They had collected about 25 feet from an existing colony that has been living inside the wall for years according to the lawn maintenance. I must have gotten the queen on the first go, because they then marched into the box even faster than I was manually scooping them in after the first scoop went into the box. I am 100% sure I got the queen, I found and caged her the day after I captured the swarm to get the bees into the frames (which I was having a small amount of trouble with only because it was the first time I’d tried it). 3 days after that I released her into the box and noted that they had begun to put down a small bit of comb on the queen cage. I also have had the queen excluder that came with the Flow hive between the hive box and the hive base with the entrance so that they can’t re-swarm and abscond. I have a feeder I built which right now sits on a lid above the brood box. There’s a tunnel through the lid and up into the sugar water that the bees can access without leaving the hive. I’ve then got an empty box and a hive roof on top of that to keep everything else out of the feeder. The bees took a good amount from the feeder the first day, but since then they seem to have started foraging more and there’s much less being removed from the feeder now.
All right, sorry for the length, on to some questions.
There were a lot of drones mixed in this swarm. (more than enough to cover 1 square foot of surface area 1 bee deep just with drones I estimate.) Is this normal? I’ve let about half of them out of the hive, but most of the rest seem to have gotten stuck in the queen excluder near the entrance and have died. Is this a problem?
How long should I leave the queen excluder on so that they cannot abscond? Am I safe to remove it after a week? Do I need to wait until they have a certain amount of brood? Is there a general rule of thumb for this?
Is there anything I did wrong, or could have done a lot better? (besides getting them in the final box on day 1, I won’t make the mistake that led to that again)
How often should I be opening and checking on this hive? Should they be left undisturbed for a period, or checked weekly for comb building activity, or???
Any experienced input would be greatly appreciated! TYIA