Swarm advice needed asap

Information on Swarms and what to do if you have one. Or want one.
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rachelp
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:36 pm

Swarm advice needed asap

Post by rachelp » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:47 pm

Hi all, we started bee-keeping in April last year when we bought our first hive (queen plus a couple of drawn out frames). The bees settled in quite well, and slowed down as expected for winter. These last few weeks there's obviously been a lot of activity, and when I checked two weeks ago our marked queen was quite happily depositing eggs - we had a lot of males hatching though! Anyway, this afternoon when we came home they had swarmed and moved only 15 metres away in one of our olive branches. I've checked the old hive, and it's reduced in population, no sign of our original queen, but a queen cup with a grub in it. I can only assume our old queen is in the new swarm.

We only want one hive and I don't want to lose my original queen - I've only had her for 6 months and the frames weren't even fully honeycombed - she and her workers have been incredibly docile. I have no idea why she left. How long is the swarm likely to stay in the olive tree? Is it possibly to get her back in the old hive by pinching out the new developing queen and moving the swarm back in? If I do this, will the 'old' workers attack their old queen?

Thanks in advance!

Rachel
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Jonj
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:52 am

Re: Swarm advice needed asap

Post by Jonj » Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:25 pm

The swarm will stay tor 1-3 days while the scouts look for a new home. There is no certainty.
What sort of hive do you have?
The best thing to do is capture the swarm into a spare box or even cardboard box so at least then they might not abscond.
You can then remove the new queen and merge the new box into the original hive using the newspaper method.

rachelp
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:36 pm

Re: Swarm advice needed asap

Post by rachelp » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:31 pm

Thank you for the quick advice. I can clip the whole branch and put the swarm in a carboard box tonight. How long can the bees last in there - I need to have a much better look at my frames to make sure there's only the one new queen before I re-introduce the old queen, and I don't think I can do this until Tuesday morning.

Any ideas what triggered the swarming? We still had two frames not fully drawn out, and I'd just added the super box so there was heaps of room!

Jonj
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:52 am

Re: Swarm advice needed asap

Post by Jonj » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:41 pm

There are lots of theories about why they swarm, but suffice to say, it is their method of reproduction. Once they decide to swarm, there is no stopping them.
If you seal the box and put a few small holes to let air in, they should be ok until Tuesday.
You didn't answer about what sort of hive, and do you have a spare box to relocate the swarm into?
You mentioned putting on a super, so I suspect Langstroth. Do you have another base and lid?
You could remove the super and use it to house the swarm temporarily and once they have settled, put it back on the old colony over sheets of newspaper. Which suburb are you in?

rachelp
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:36 pm

Re: Swarm advice needed asap

Post by rachelp » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:13 pm

Yes, we have a full frame Langstroth with a super but no spare base or lid.

I've clipped the branches and moved the bees into a ventilated cardboard box and will have a good long look at the hive over the next couple of days to find my new queen(s). I do feel horrible for killing off what would probably be a very strong second hive, but I don't see any alternatives if I only want one hive and want to keep my original queen. I only just started beekeeping here in Bungendore a few months ago and do not want a second hive at this point.

Jonj
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:52 am

Re: Swarm advice needed asap

Post by Jonj » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:35 pm

I live in Wamboin, and I can lend you a base and lid tomorrow to create the second hive. You can then find the new queen, dispose of her and join the new hive to the old one. Call me tomorrow 0417293009

Jon

rachelp
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:36 pm

Re: Swarm advice needed asap

Post by rachelp » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:43 pm

Hi Jon, I can't thank you enough for this! I'll ring you in the morning if that's ok, maybe planning to swing by Wamboin around 9:30. Ah, I can rest a bit easier tonight having been given the gift of time to sort this out properly and keep my still-young queen!

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