Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Unmotivated swarm  (Read 719 times)

Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Unmotivated swarm
« on: April 01, 2020, 03:30:18 pm »
It has been six days since I installed a swarm into my hive box. So far, I have only seen one or two bees out and about at a time. I thought that maybe they were just busy making comb, but when I inspected the hive, it looked like they were still bundled together as a swarm. Is there a chance that they are still out searching for a home and not settling in yet? Should I be doing anything, or just waiting for them to give up and start building comb here?

Offline iddee

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 9876
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2020, 04:42:01 pm »
Sounds like they may be queenless. Do you have another hive you could give them a frame of eggs from?
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*

Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2020, 05:11:58 pm »
I do not. I found the queen when I first caught the swarm, but I could not locate her once I had transported the swarm to the new location. They did collect back together and act like there was a queen in their midst.

Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2020, 06:10:33 pm »
I just opened up the hive and the bees looked so pitiful. They seemed super sluggish and nobody was flying. I put in a boardman feeder and next thing I know, the bees are moving around and cleaning up the dead bees and flying around. It was as if they were starving to death despite being right next to a fully blooming tree and vast quantities of nectar all around. My biggest hope is that they just were helpless and not willing to forage. I hate being a brand new beekeeper and having so many doubts!

Offline van from Arkansas

  • Super Bee
  • *****
  • Posts: 1503
  • Gender: Male
  • Van from Arkansas.
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2020, 06:48:07 pm »
Leo, you nail it: starving.  Bees need energy to forage.  Feed 2X sugar syrup that is:
two 4 pounds of sugar to 1/2 gallon of water OR 1 quart water to 4 pounds of sugar.

Health to your bees.

Van
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2020, 07:04:53 pm »
I love seeing them happily buzzing around now and just wolf down the syrup! It makes no sense to me that they would starve though. I collected them the day that they swarmed and they had full bellies of honey. Is it because they were too small a swarm to afford foragers? I cannot imagine a swarm surviving in the wild if this were the case.
My level of happiness just flew way up seeing them come back to life. I would be happy if they absconded now in comparison to opening up the hive to find staved bees.

Offline Bob Wilson

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 455
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2020, 06:57:32 am »
Leo. Where are you in Georgia? I am in Thomaston.Is there a bee association near you?
And by the way... Welcome to the forum. Glad the have you here.

Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2020, 08:16:40 am »
I spent 8 years down in Columbus (which is closer to Thomaston).  Right now I am up in Augusta, Ga. We have been going to the association in Aiken, SC.

Offline Acebird

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 5869
  • Gender: Male
  • Practicing non intervention beekeeping
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2020, 08:50:35 am »
Doesn't make sense to me.  Sounds like a queenless hive where all the foragers are gone.  How many bees left in this swarm?
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2020, 09:07:29 am »
It does not really make sense to me either. We will see whether they proceed to build comb and brood or just die off. They are acting like all is well with the world now though.

Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2020, 01:04:11 pm »
An update to the swarm. Since putting in the 1:1 sugar water, the bees have been non-stop consuming it. Yesterday there was a huge amount of activity outside of the hive as the bees were all doing orientation flights. Today they are as active as ever and it is weird to think that two days ago they were about to starve to death. So it is really pointing towards my bees just being stupid teenagers who would rather starve than try to fend for themselves.

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 11174
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2020, 08:28:17 pm »
Leo,
Welcome to Beemaster.
Bee careful with the boardman feeder. If you use it during a dearth it will cause robbing and the robbers will try to kill the queen.
Jim Altmiller

Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2020, 08:33:32 pm »
Thank you for the welcome. This is my only hive and so far the only competition has been some solitary digger bees that are promptly chased off.

Offline FloridaGardener

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 285
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2020, 12:20:22 am »
Robbing is a shock so be prepared.  It can kill a new colony in a few hours. A dearth can happen for several days even in spring.  Know where your entrance reducer is.  Better yet, get a robbing screen, you can always keep it on with 3 gates open, and close the gates when trouble starts.

If you are going foundationless, peek in the lid to make sure the comb is straight and your frames are pressed together tightly.  The new comb will be like warm marshmallows in this heat, so be careful if you have to straighten something.  If you gave them frames with foundation, that's easier, and then I'd leave them alone for a couple of weeks.

Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2020, 11:21:00 am »
They are foundationless. Last Saturday I did a peak in the hive and made sure they are following my guides. There was just the start of some comb, but that?s was good since they were starving just days before.  Since they are the only hive nearby, I have not had to deal with any robbing. There is some weirdness going on where guard bees will kick out their sisters while stinging them. I am worried that all the confusion might be coming from being queenless. I have been really itching to look for the  queen because I have not seen her since I collected the swarm.
[ You are not allowed to view attachments ]
Fresh

Offline CoolBees

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1162
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2020, 03:27:20 pm »
There's not very many bees in that picture. If that's the majority of bees in the hive - they need some help.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline FloridaGardener

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 285
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2020, 03:49:12 pm »
Guard bees stinging sounds like robbers getting the syrup.  Are any bees spinning?

Don't be surprised if you don't see a cloud.  They can rob by stealth - and will fly a couple miles for an easy sugar source.  Plus, there are hardly any bees there.  How can they be taking down very much syrup?

For reference, an average-sized spring swarm can draw out four medium frames of comb in a week.

Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2020, 03:54:55 pm »
Well I inspected the hive again. They are very noticeably dwindling in numbers. I could not find the queen and all I could see in the comb was nectar. It really points towards their being queenless and at the end of the rope. I am discouraged because these bees were so friendly and they had spent several years in a tree. I am tempted to go and try to get a cutout from the tree to get some brood to give them.
[ You are not allowed to view attachments ]

Offline FloridaGardener

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 285
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2020, 04:01:48 pm »
The queen is one of the first to be killed when robbing starts.

And getting bees from a tree isn't easy ... even WITH a chainsaw.  It isn't like Winnie The Pooh.  They will be incredibly defensive. Might be good to have an epi pen at hand. 

Remember Finding Nemo, when the fish swam down together? Bees will fly backward together and sting through your jacket or hit your ankles.

https://ohmy.disney.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2014/03/When-the-fish-win.gif



Online Leoj900

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Male
Re: Unmotivated swarm
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2020, 04:09:07 pm »
Haha! Oh dear...
Well the one question I have is that I have seen plenty of pollen coming into the hive durning the week, but I saw no signs of it in the hive. What do you think is going on there?