I am wondering what I should do, my first hive 10 months old decided to swarm towards the end of winter - it was my fault because I could see the observation window was absolutely crammed full of bees with no room - the flow frames were nearly 80% full and I planned to harvest but missed the opportunity - they swarmed and took a lot of the honey - 7 days later they swarmed again and reduced the population further. My location is central NSW on the coast and food available all year round. The hive has a queen but the population is struggling now after a further 8 weeks - there is brood but not a lot and noticeable population increase although plenty of activity. Do I persist with this or replace it with a new package.
Reduce it to the broodbox only and reduce the entrance. Let them build up this season.
I agree with everything @Rmcpb just said. You know that you have a nice young queen now and they are established in your hive. I know it’s a shame but just wait it out.
When the swarming finished, prime,secondary and maybe cast, there would have been a brood break of two weeks while the new queen got mated and then a further 3 weeks before new nurse bees emerged and longer until they become foragers. And meanwhile the population would have dropped because of the swarming and natural deaths. This seems to be the stage you are at now.
Fortunately at this time of the year they should be able to expand now and do ok. Assuming plenty of food (if dearth, feed them) the big danger to watch out for now is robbing as this is what could finish them off.
The lesson here is that you need to regularly check your brood frames in swarming season. The observation window doesnt give you any information on swarming.
Drain what you can from your Flow frames, and remove the super as Rob says, and to secure this honey from potential robbers as Jim points out. You can feed it back to your colony if needed. I also add that the other big danger is pests getting an upper hand over the small population of bees left during the interim before the new queen is productive. Condense the space, reduce the entrance & put traps in place for moths, beetles and ants.
Hi Greg, it will take time for the colony to build.
To add to what the others have said: My focus is on hive beetles. Make sure that the brood frames that don’t have a good covering of bees are void of brood & pollen. Those frames can contain honey or just be empty fully drawn comb or foundation. Beetles will lay eggs in unprotected brood & pollen.
There’s no need to replace the colony. A good option would be to acquire one or two frames full of sealed & emerging brood. Especially frames like the one @Doug1 recently showed.
Someone pointed out a few years ago that 3 frames of bees will come out of 1 good full frame of brood. I can vouch for that.