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Author Topic: Capture a Swarm on the Ground  (Read 369 times)

Offline hrtull

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Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« on: April 22, 2020, 09:30:16 am »
I successfully captured a swarm of bees  that were on the ground at golf course where I work. I transported them 20 miles home last night , placed then in garage , provided 1 to 1 syrup. It was mid 20s temp last night in central Ohio but warming to near 60 this afternoon. Do I treat this swarm as if it was  a  3lb packaged bee purchase. Any advice on best way to introduce . Thanks HT

Offline Acebird

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2020, 12:26:07 pm »
Does it have a queen that survived the 20 degrees?
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Offline hrtull

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2020, 01:33:05 pm »
 Acebird, thanks for the reply. I captured them yesterday afternoon. Bees were swarmed on the ground with temperature about 45 degrees.  I had to use two hands and cupped them into hive.  I started in the center guessing the queens location. I did several handfuls then observed. I placed a flat piece of bark as a ramp to brood box.  At some point the queen was put into the box, I never saw her but the bees started their march into the box. Almost every  bee entered. I sealed up the box,  drove home, placed them in my 55 degree garage, provided 1 to 1 syrup. Temperature dropped to mid twenties but they were in the garage.
    They  are currently in my garage feeding well on syrup.  Temperature should be about 55 at 3pm today.  My plans were to  move them to my other hive location at that time, keep feeding syrup and open them up. My best guess but would appreciate any advice on  introducing them into new location. I have done package bees before and am assuming it can be approached in a similar  manner, thanks for any help. HT

Offline Acebird

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2020, 04:45:04 pm »
If the queen is in there and there are enough bees she will be fine at any temperature.  The issue is food and mating if the queen is a virgin.  Hopefully you will have some warm weather soon.
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2020, 01:56:37 pm »
If you have any drawn comb, give it to them. This will speed up building up this hive.
Jim Altmiller

Offline hrtull

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2020, 02:41:14 pm »
Thanks for your replies/advice. I did borrow  a few  frames with comb and some honey. They seem just fine and very active. Maybe they will  be happy with new address. Thanks

Offline hrtull

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2020, 09:35:26 pm »
Concerning this hive I captured. I  have been feeding  this hive for three weeks and have not disturbed them. Lots of activity and all seemed normal. Had some great weather yesterday so I opened up hive for inspection. Several frames of comb were drown, some pollen , capped honey/syrup.  Problem is there is no brood, no Queen.  Bees are actively building queen cells.  So what are the best options.  It will be May 21st before I can introduce a new Queen which will be exactly a month since capturing.  Is that to long to have a successful  re queening. I could purchase a nuc immediately and combine if it would have a net gain.  Would need a little guidance in doing so. Any suggestions would really be appreciated . Thanks HT

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2020, 07:54:53 am »
HR,
I have a hive (a swarm) that is in the same situation. How many bees are there in the hive? If it is full of bees, leave it alone for 3 weeks to allow the queen to hatch, mate and get a brood patch developing.
If it is weak, like mine, add bees. I had another swarm go queen less and put those 2 together.
If you can get a frame or two of brood add that to this hive.
Jim Altmiller 

Offline hrtull

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2020, 12:44:36 pm »
Jim,  There are plenty of bees, about equal to a 3 lb package.  I captured them 3 weeks ago, placed them in a brood box with new wax coated frames. I have fed them 1 to 1  for 3 weeks.  When I  inspected I was expecting some capped brood but none present.  What I found was plenty of drawn comb, some pollen and a little capped honey/syrup.  There was never any eggs, larvae available to raise a queen  that I am aware of.

1) Is it possible that a queen could  be developing  in one of these queen cells without any signs of eggs or larvae, capped brood, or are bees just making queen cells  from instinct/habit?

2)  I can introduce a queen  May 21st  ( earliest availability) .  I will have had bees for 4 weeks at that time.  Doing the math,  adding queen to a 4 week old  queen less hive  would produce  an emerging brood  in 3 weeks in a perfect situation.  7 weeks total .  Is  this  a viable option considering the time table.

3) I can obtain a Nuc immediately .  Should I try to combine this hive with a new Nuc.  Also considered taking a frame of egg, larvae from this nuc and install in queen less  hive and see if they can  raise a queen.  Would depend on strength/condition of nuc.  I am only guessing  what to do and appreciate your opinion. Have a great day and thanks , HT

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2020, 12:57:13 pm »
Hi HT, All

I have read through all of the above.  You have done all the right things and taken great care of them.  Have given them the best chance.

At this point 3- 4- 5 plus weeks from their swarm date with no brood nest development and the bees building cups ; here is my read of the combs and the situation.... The description of the behaviour of the bees at the time you hived them and since then indicates that the swarm had a virgin queen.  She has since been lost on her mating flight(s). Do not be too disappointed. Such is the way of the queen, they do not all make it through to becoming La Reine Supreme.

Let's assume and agree this to be the case.  What you have now is a box of resources with old bees that is hopelessly queenless. They may be building cups. Though are no eggs/larvae to make any bees from. This box of bees is on the verge of progressing to laying workers. You may soon see egg/jelly in those cups and get excited. That would be false hope, as the cups will not develop into viable cells.

So, now what then?  I will be the one to say that this box of bees is doomed and will not become a viable colony without extraordinary amount of time. The bees are old, the population will soon dwindle/crash. Introducing a queen will not work. Introducing frame(s) of brood is not worth the effort, timeline, and risk of another VQ failure.  All is not lost!  That box of bees and the resources they have organized has a lot of value to some other colony. 

Your only reasonable course of action with this box of bees at this point is to combine it with an established queenrite colony. Preferably a strong colony that can make use of the resources and has enough population of its own to stave off and correct the pending laying worker tendencies.

You mentioned two things above. That you have another hive somewhere and that you could acquire a nucleus colony.  My suggestion is to newspaper combine this box of bees on top of your existing hive.  For reasons of the length of time of being queenless, the nucleus colony would have more risks involved.  Let them combine into a well organized larger colony. That larger size will be short lived though as the old bees die off.  When the hive surges about a month after the combine date, buy a mated queen and split them into two hives.

I hope that all makes sense and that your next steps to take are clear.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2020, 01:06:58 pm »
PS:  if you have any uncertainties at all about whether they do or do not have a queen, then please also use a queen excluder when you do the combine.
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Offline hrtull

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2020, 05:11:15 pm »
HP, thanks for taking the  time writing this very detailed and informative reply. The hours of reading brought me to the same conclusion per your reply.  I thought possibly I injured or killed her during the capture.  They swarmed in grass a few inches thick. The only means available  was hand cupping them into the capture box.  At one point they started the march into box until all aboard.  She could have been  injured .  I considered she   never made it back from mating flight also.  This happened at a golf course where we keep bees.  This virus shut the course down for a few weeks and caring for bees got put on hold.  I got a call from the superintendent  telling me he found swarm near one of the greens on edge of tall grass. We  captured them and  looked at the 3 active  existing hives near our shop area. All hives had been active during  a warmer  day a few day earlier. We discovered  one of the hives had swarmed very recently during  this  capture  process. The captured hive was within  about a 1/4 mile of  the shop area. We were hoping to see a marked queen in  this hive  that I took about 25 miles to my home thinking it could be them.  Forward 3 weeks  brings us to this discussion. So what I did was purchase a Nuc, removed existing worker laying hive  to an area across  property, Installed Nuc at original location , when back across property and shook  worker laying  hive onto ground .  Field bees beat me back to  the original location.  I returned to the area where I shook bees out and what I assume  were the  laying workers were balling up.  I did this from reading and on the suggestion of the keeper that supplies nucs.  Doing so brings up even more questions. Do the returning field bees care who the queen is?  They covered the face of the  new box with new nuc.  Will they go into  this  new nuc and try to eliminate her or just gladly accept her.  Just took a walk and  things seem to be fairly normal. Now just going to see what happens.  Entertaining stuff.Thanks again for a great reply, be safe, HT

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2020, 06:19:28 pm »
HT,
If the returning bees were aggressive towards your queen the house bees would ball her to protect her. I have seen this happen in my observation hive when I tried to paper combine two small hives in it. The marked queen ended up above the paper and I saw the ball of bees in the wrong area. Later that night she was laying eggs in the top of the hive.
The bees should not let the laying workers in the new hive just like they will not let another queen in the hive.
Jim Altmiller

Offline hrtull

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2020, 07:23:37 pm »
Thanks Jim.  I was curious how returning bees reacted  after returning. I just took another look where I shook out hive.  A ball of bees on the ground assumed to be the layers. I really didnt like doing this but I guess  it was necessary. Good to know that queen is probably alright. Did  not know this is how a hive protects the queen. If you can answer another question. I ended with four  good frames of comb. Two are very clean and the other two have various stages  of drone  rearing, exposed larvae, capped larvae etc.  Will there be an issue putting these  two in the new nuc.  Im thinking they will clean up the drone mess but not certain. I really appreciate the help I get from you and others.  Thanks, HT

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2020, 02:37:26 am »
The ball of bees on the ground is just a confused ball of bees.  Rest assured, laying workers can fly just fine and will go along back to the hive location along with all the others.  If the nucleus colony is strong enough, they will sort out the misfits. The evidence will be a pile of curled dead bees on the ground out front the next day.  Stay out to that nuc now for at least 5 days.  Let them get themselves sorted out.

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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Capture a Swarm on the Ground
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2020, 07:59:38 am »
HT,
Take those frames and put them in the freezer. This will kill all of the wax moth and if present, SHB eggs, larvae and adults as well as all of the drone larvae. The day before you  are ready to inspect this hive in a week, as THP said, take them out and let them warm up in front of a fan. The air flow will dry the condensation as they warm up. Then you can add them if this hive is packed full of bees.
Jim Altmiller