I got invited to collect a swarm today, it wasn’t all that far away so I agreed to go & pick it up. I was told it was the size of a football. I’m thinking rugby or soccer ball size. It was slightly bigger than a tennis ball, with a virgin queen!!! I took a full frame of brood with a box & empty frames. There wasn’t enough bees to look after that one frame of brood. I wondered how I’d go about putting more bees in the box to look after that brood to stop SHB laying eggs on it. After getting the box & bees home, the penny dropped. I have a single box of bees with a queen, fairly strong. I moved that box to a new location in my yard, put the box & tiny swarm in the old spot to let the field bees return to it. By the time I came inside with on hour before dark, the frame of brood was covered in bees, 2-3 deep. Don’t let anyone tell you that a tiny swarm is not worth picking up. The strong hive will quickly recover. I’m using it as a feeder hive anyway. The virgin queen might end up being a real beauty.
Swapping boxes around is a brilliant way of reinforcing a weak colony.
Can slow up a swarm build up too!
Hi & thank you Dee, I’m thinking back to several other occasions that I should have used that strategy. PS, the homeowner was a bit sheepish while we picked it up after telling me it was the size of a football, however I was on my way to my other bees, I normally wait till dark to pick them up, this time I grabbed it on my way home. She’s a beautiful looking young queen, that was worth the effort.
This is the video of our tiny swarm capture, that was 4 days ago. Everything is looking good.
One thing I was wondering. Do you think this causes any kind of detrimental effect on the original hive since all you are taking are the foraging bees? What happens to the original hive now missing so many of its foragers? Not implying that this is bad enough to kill a colony or anything just wondering about the effects if any.
It shouldn’t make much difference if there are stores and a flow. If not, then feed. They will make up the foragers pretty quickly
Hi & thanks Adam, I mentioned in my video that the original hive was strong, I felt comfortable moving it away so the bees that had done their orientation flight would finish up in the new hive. It has a new lot of bees coming out for their orientation flight daily. They will become the new field bees. I’ve been using that hive as a feeder hive to help make new colonies for the past 3 months. The main thing I have to check on is that I haven’t left it too weak so SHB can lay eggs. That colony was the schoolyard swarm we made a video of about 6 months ago. It rained yesterday, I’m going to take a look at them both today, apparently the rain has gone. I’m keen to see if that queen was mated or not. I also want to check on the hive I made up with the other video I posted on here yesterday. “the angry bees”. You might be interested in our native wildlife visitors on that video. cheers
Foragers are the oldest bees in the hive. When you take them you are making the least overall impact on the hive. Taking brood and nurse bees is much harder on the hive. The foragers will be quickly replaced, so long as there are sufficient stores in the hive already.
This is the video of the update of the tiny swarm.
This is a tiny swarm that just turned up in some empty boxes 4 years ago. The second video is the queen from that swarm. She really co-operated for us. Someone suggested that she maybe a Buckfast. I had no idea. We made some money for the rights to use that video.
Thanks for the video
Nice looking bees, they do look like my Buckies
Hi & thank you Dee:) that hive built up really strong, it produced lots of honey & I did heaps of splits out of it. I sold the last split out of it last year. I’m not keeping any strong hives next to my house any more through fear of them swarming. Only nucs making queens for customers & stray swarms I pick up. When they get too strong, I split them. That way I don’t get any cranky bees near the house.