Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Putting the Swarm in a Hive
It stopped raining long enough today to put the new swarm into it's permanent digs, so to speak.
This is a matter of opinion but my experience tells me that the most important resource a new hive can have is drawn comb.
I have seen package bees die off swiftly over and over when put in a hive with no drawn comb while I have seen an almost dead hive with no more than a cup full of bees left bounce back and produce honey in one Summer when they were left with frames of drawn comb. One reason I stay well clear of frame-less hive types as it makes it more difficult to help out a new hive and destroys so much comb when harvesting honey.
Comb is also the reason I grow my apiaries mostly using captured swarms. I have read that bees typically only produce comb for a few weeks of their short lives. Like when they are between 4 and 5 weeks old or so. However I have also read that swarming allows older forager bees to produce comb for a short period as well. I don't know if those two statements are completely true as I often read conflicting information but I do know that NOTHING builds comb like a newly captured swarm.
The above picture is how much comb this new swarm has built in about 72 hours. I figure the swarm occupied the trap sometime on Sunday and I hived em up today. The longer you wait the more wasted comb the girls will build inside the trap. This swarm had already started laying eggs in the full frame of comb I baited the trap with so I know it won't be going anywhere now.
As you can see from the top picture after dumping the bees into the new brood box and putting the bait frame in I leaned the trap over against the new hive. This allows any bees remaining inside the trap that maybe nurse bees to make it into the new hive without having to fly. Sometimes young bees are reluctant to take wing unless encouraged to do so.
I will remove the trap and lid tonight after all the bees have made it into the new hive. I know I got the queen in there because the entrance was full of bees fanning her scent out so the stragglers would know where she was.
This turned out to be a good sized swarm too. I am pretty sure it is actually the one that got away from me Friday afternoon or at least it is about the same size-wise anyway and well within the swarming distance. With the swarm I have in a trap in town I have now replaced my Winter losses so it's all growth from here on out.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!!!