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Author Topic: Very Disheartening Week  (Read 280 times)

Offline vomdogg

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Very Disheartening Week
« on: October 22, 2020, 05:24:56 am »
Hey everyone -
First time posting.
I've been beekeeping for just on 3 years. This is my 3rd spring.
After last year finding out the hard way about swarming hives and not being properly prepared, my main goal this year was to be 3 steps ahead at all times - got into the hive early in spring, looked super healthy and approx 75 - 80% full, so have them a completely empty box on-top of a queen divider. They got in there straight away, checked them 3 times over 6 weeks , didn't see any queen cells, still plenty of room in the brood box ( added 2 empty frames )
Then this week, out of what I thought was nowhere - 3 swarms !
I caught all 3 luckily.
I just can't see where I'm going wrong.
My main hive is still looking pretty strong, maybe I didn't give them enough room ? I hadn't really thought of doing a split before, but should that have been my option with a strong larger hive ?
I have done a beginniners bee course, I've read so much, watched so many YouTube videos, spoken to other people with bees...
Is my hive just really healthy ?
Please, send me some advice, I'll take criticism also.
Thanks.

Offline Garigal

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Re: Very Disheartening Week
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2020, 06:53:12 am »
Two weeks can be a bit long between inspections during swarm season as it only takes 16 days to raise a queen meaning you could easily miss it until it?s too late.

I did the same as you and added supers early in spring to make sure both my hives had ample space but one still built swarm cells. I split them 3-4 weeks ago and that seems to have stopped them for now.

Online Honeyeater

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Re: Very Disheartening Week
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2020, 10:10:44 am »
Hi mate, this year I've been doing the OSBN as suggested to me by skeggley, with some modification and so far it is working a treat. If you look Matt Davey and OSBN he now has some videos too.
http://daveybees.wikidot.com/openingthesides

Having said that my true test for me comes later in summer when the eucalypts are in flower and the hives explode, because my spring here in the Perth hills is a damp squib.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Very Disheartening Week
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2020, 08:58:40 am »
One issue could be genetics.  Bees are programmed to swarm.  Some are really programmed to swarm.  They get to a certain size and they are gone.  Easy to catch but not easy to keep.  So my first question is where did these bees come from?  Was it a commercial beekeeper or a caught swarm?
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Very Disheartening Week
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2020, 05:47:03 pm »
Vomdog,
Welcome to Beemaster.
It is always a constant battle to stay ahead of swarming. I try to split before they swarm. Problem is that I wait til BeeFest and last year a lot of them swarmed the week before. We did catch a few of them.
Jim Altmiller

Offline damienpryan

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Re: Very Disheartening Week
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2020, 03:52:18 am »
I had a heap of swarms from my hives in Melbourne this Spring.

Partly lockdown but I think it is a bit of a swarmy season...

Down to zero new covid19 cases today.
We are all celebrating...

Offline chartekat

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Re: Very Disheartening Week
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2020, 01:37:06 am »
Hi all, I'm in Doncaster and this is my first spring. I did a second inspection of the season today and am disheartened not because of swarming but I worry my bees may be struggling. My observations are: The bottom box is pretty active and I see brood in various stages - altho' the brood cells are scattered all over the frames rather than clustered in the centre. I see the odd pollen stores but not seeing any capped honey or nectar. I'm thinking that with the cold and wet weather they've been consuming what they collect just to maintain the hive (is this a reasonable assumption?).

I saw a single empty queen cell - that's odd, isn't it since they would prepare more than just one queen cell?

I also saw the bottom board had stagnant water in it (again!) Definitely need to set the hive stand at a slight tilt! Flicked off some slugs and gave the bottom board a clean and wipedown.

There is a second box which held their honey stores over winter and that's completely empty save for a couple dozen bees - housekeeping? I'm also seeing SHB (aargh) but observe that the bees are onto them.

So...is the empty top box normal and is it better to remove it so the bees don't have so much ground to protect/clean. Are my observations indicative of normal hive rebuilding post-winter or is the hive under strain - old queen or not enough food?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts/opinions.


Offline crispy

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Re: Very Disheartening Week
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2020, 05:27:26 am »
Gday mate my queen was laying all over the place as well ,i was the same as you a bit worried .I did an inspection today of both the top super and the bottom brood box ,the top super i had moved 1 frame of brood up to and a frame of uncapped honey .

When i did my inspection today the top box has larvea and capped brood so when i put it up there it must have had eggs in the comb .The bottom box is booming along the bees have started to fill comb above brood with honey on at least two frames as we have had a couple of good days of sunshine .

I was happy with what i saw today and i only found 1 empty cell which could or could not be a queen cell ,some drone comb on the bottom of the frames in places in the brood box but overall lots of bees honey on brood frames and plenty of larvae didnt see the queen was not really looking for her today .
Ive only had this hive for around 10 weeks or so and have asked a heap of questions and have found one thing you will get a miriad of different answers only you can decide what you are going to do if you read some of my posts you will see what i mean take advice from the experienced guys but make your own decision .

ne answer i recieved warned me that i may end up with a dead hive well after today i dont think that is likely from what i saw in the brood box today .