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Queen settled on the Corflute

i’m brandnew to this adventure, and I was advised that we won’t have a swarm until at least Spring (Southern Hemisphere) as we are about to enter Autumn.
Long story short with loads of events, a swarm settled in the newly assembled hive, left, and came back
The issue now: when they came back, the whole swarm entered the hive into the corflute section and are still in there after a full day and night.
Leave them to find the entrance? (there is activity at the entrance with few going in and out)
All very calm, loads of bees in a Carob Tree and Mexican Sage Bush next to the hive.
My instinct… leave them alone? Suggestions of luring them with lavender or lemongrass oil?

Apparently, the word is out that you’re a beekeeper Talana! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: Wow, I’m trying to picture this cluster all crammed under your hive. If there are some going in and out, I’m thinking they might soon organize as a group and all start marching in on their own. A blob of comb honey or just beeswax, or a tiny spot of lemongrass oil on the top of one of the frames could help motivate. It would be a good idea to feed them once they’re inside, since they’ll have a lot of comb building to do.

I guess you could shake them in, if you felt like it - but that would be a little involved, considering their current placement! I think your instinct is good & I’d leave them too if I were you.

I have heard of late season swarms, but I wonder if this could also be a group of absconding bees, which could account for their uncertainty?

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You ask me! I have no clue… I’m going to leave them insitu as I’m unwilling to interfere further… they seem to have their own mind, and my 2nd hive i’m certainly going to close off the entry to the corflute section with mesh, allowing for ventilation… i see the new FH2 has exactly that, a cover… My African Bees, on their own mission… just checked … some on top of the mesh, and some (I suspect with the Queen Madam) under the mesh… I think it’s not a good idea, have no idea what their business down there would be, but quite intriqued anyway

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I have a suggestion to make, not knowing how you plan for the bees to build in the brood box. My suggestion would be to join a bee group before trying to acquire a frame of open brood. Place that frame of brood next to the bees. Then after an hour or so, gently place that frame of brood into the brood box. The queen will most likely be on that frame. Even if she’s not, the rest of the bees, including her will move into the brood box. Then you can install the rest of the frames for the bees to work on.

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Jeffs suggestions is good- but if you cannot find a frame of brood I would try and get the bees into the box ASAP. swarms are quite gentle generally and can be moved around relatively easily. The fact that some of the bees have settled into a nearby bush already concerns me that they are becoming listless. A swarm that fails to find a good home in time- or loses it’s queen can become listless and start to spread out- not forming a nice cluster.

if you would like to call me I would be happy to discuss exactly what is happening and advise how to go about getting the bees from below the hive into the hive. It will be easier to discuss over the phone. Send me a personal message and I will send you my phone number.

Edit: only just noticed you are in South Africa… Might make a call a bit difficult…

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At the moment the following I’m considering:

  • List item

I assembled a second broodbox, and prepared the frames (all of yesterday), so that I can lift the whole lot on top of it: (ie the floor (with mesh) the broodbox, queen excluder, cover and roof)

  • List item

Close off the entrance and corflute entrance (for the move)

  • List item

Once on top, will gently slide the corflute out so that bees (and hopefully Queen if she is indeed in there) may drop into newly assembled broodbox with frames

  • List item

Open the entrance for bees above the mesh to continue as before and keep corflute entrance closed off.

The issue then will be, how to take the “old” hive & floor off the new one… or just leave it as is.

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Thank you!
My beekeeper mentor is away, and only returning on Sunday. He suggests the same, to move them soonest possible into the broodbox. I am also considering to rather wait for him to return or if I have the courage, to do as set out above, with assistance of a local Malawian who worked for a beekeeper before.

Thank you so much for the offer of a phone call. Our whatsapp phone calls work a charm - I will send a msg.

It sounds like a good plan Talana. The main thing is as long as the bees stay put, you’ll be right. It wont be any trouble to remove the old hive & floor once the bees have moved into the new one. It would be good if you had one or two frames fitted with foundation so that the bees will start building straight comb for you.

cheers

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I am happy to announce that I (with assistance) slid/shifted the cluster into the 2nd brood box last night after dusk.

We lifted the problematic brood box on top of a 2nd brood box, closed off the entrance (temporarily), slid the corflute slowly out, dropping the trapped (on corflute under mesh) bees into the new box with frames and wax foundations.

This morning all calm, bees in/out of both boxes… who knows what goes on in there?
Thank you again, for your engagement and advice.

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An Update to conclude this thread: As suspected the bees carried on building on the screened bottom board. My mentor and fellow beekeeper assisted to re-arrange them into one brood box and three days later, the colony is still there… happily.
A Pic of their beautiful artwork on the screened bottom board.

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