Beekeeping forum: Swarm season already?

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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Mar 27, 2013 10:48 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Yesterday afternoon we got a call from a local farmer friend who told us they had a swarm of bees on their place, and asked if we wanted it.

Of course, Trish headed right out and picked them up.

This is the earliest swarm I've ever seen, that's for sure! But I'm thankful to have a new swarm for my hive that I built over the winter!! Hurray!

It's worth noting, also, that this was a gigantic swarm. Shockingly big, actually. I'll probably have to move the separator bars earlier than expected.

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Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
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Mindy03
Mar 27, 2013 10:58 AM CST

Moderator

Cool Dave.

It may not be that early for your zone considering the weather. Our hives are building up fast this spring. They have been out foraging even on days the books say they don't fly. Someone forgot to tell the bees they weren't supposed to go our when it's below 50 degrees. Though I'm wondering if they have just evolved to make better use of their location here.

That looks like a primary swarm which is said to be the best to catch.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Mar 27, 2013 11:33 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Well I'm definitely happy. Smiling

And they seem to be happy, too. This morning after the sun came out they started coming in and out. I'll open it in a week or so and see if there are new combs. This is my first try with a top bar hive so I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes!
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
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Mindy03
Mar 27, 2013 11:44 AM CST

Moderator

I'm sure it will go fine if they are already busy working.

Looking forward to hearing about the top bar hive and how it works out for them.
Name: Terri
virginia (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Region: Virginia Dragonflies
dragonfly53
Apr 30, 2013 5:47 PM CST
When you get a smaller swarm, do they tend to be more experienced in getting their own food? My friend just received one and she has been trying to get them to take syrup but they haven't touched it in 2-3 days. I told her because they days are so warm here to change the syrup in a few days because it might go sour, do you think a week is long enough to hold a jar of sryup? Our temps are running 60-70 during the day and 45-50 at night.
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."
[Last edited by dragonfly53 - Apr 30, 2013 5:58 PM (+)]
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Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
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Mindy03
Apr 30, 2013 5:58 PM CST

Moderator

Usually if they don't touch it in 2-3 days it means they have found a natural supply of food to gather. Check to see if they are bringing pollen in. If they are then they are busy foraging.

But definitely change the syrup after a few days when it's warm weather because it does go sour.

Name: Terri
virginia (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Region: Virginia Dragonflies
dragonfly53
Apr 30, 2013 6:05 PM CST
Thanks Mindy! I'll let her know, we're both newbies at this. I just knew abouth the syrup going sour because I use simple syrup for iced tea (50/50 mix) and have to keep it in the fridge
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
May 8, 2013 8:02 AM CST
Dave, how do the bees enter that hive - under the roof ribs?
Porkpal
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
May 27, 2013 11:53 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Sorry about this, Porkpal, somehow I didn't see your question until now.

I have holes drilled on the front of the hive there, as well as in the rear. You can see in the photo I put a landing board right below the holes I drilled.
Name: Tim Hoover
Elysian FIelds, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Seller of Garden Stuff Beekeeper Ponds
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TimHoover
Mar 27, 2014 7:55 AM CST
I have been dragging my feet putting supers on and doing splits. I have justified my laziness by using this long winter as an excuse. Well Dave, if you caught a swarm, I better get on it. I have at least 4 hives that are bursting at the seams and will no doubt swarm soon. I have noticed in the past that it often happens the first sunny day after a stormy period- just like what is about to happen. I keep my hives "tight"...very crowded, to help keep Small Hive Beetle at bay. This can backfire on me though during swarm season.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Mar 27, 2014 8:01 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

How funny that you bumped this thread exactly 1 year after it originally happened.

I can see how a "tight" hive could seriously backfire during swarming time. I haven't opened my hive for a couple months and I'm wondering what it looks like in there. Probably pretty full because we've had a tremendous amount of flowers around here for the bees and I've seen a lot of activity.
Name: Leslieray Hurlburt
Sacramento California (Zone 9b)
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HamiltonSquare
Mar 27, 2014 11:35 PM CST
Its swarmtime here in Sacramento. There are several everyyear on or near the ground. We call a local backyard beekeeper and they come and collect them.
These have settle onto Rose during some unsettled weather.

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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Mar 28, 2014 6:19 AM CST
I just got a voicemail from my neighbor saying a whole bunch of my bees are on her kitchen window. Problem is, I'm out of town and my son, who is the beekeeper, is out of country! guess we'll be losing that swarm Thumbs down
Name: Terri
virginia (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Region: Virginia Dragonflies
dragonfly53
Mar 31, 2014 7:04 PM CST
I set 4 hives of Italians today in some of my old boxes that still had some filled comb in them. There were a lot of robbers bees trying to get into the box to get the goodies too. I put the hives over some old carpet and it was very clear that there were a lot of casualties. Hope it was the robber bees and not my new Italians!

I have a question for anyone - I ordered a box of Russian bees by mail and they are due to arrive sometime mid april, does the Post Office usually call you to pick them up right away? I can't see that a rural carrier would be able to do their job peacefully with an angry bunch of bees buzzing at them from a screened box... Big Grin
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Mar 31, 2014 7:14 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Every time I order a nuc the post office always calls me bright and early to come and get them. It's pretty fun walking through the post office with a box of bees. Same thing with chicks when we order them from the hatchery!
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Apr 1, 2014 6:24 AM CST

Moderator

We are lucky to have a mail carrier who doesn't mind at all to have bees or chicks for company while he delivers mail Smiling

Good luck with your new bees Terri
Name: Terri
virginia (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Region: Virginia Dragonflies
dragonfly53
Apr 3, 2014 5:25 AM CST
Thanks Mindy and Dave! The day after the installation, the ground was littered with hundreds of dead bees in front of each box. I don't know if they were robbers trying to get into the box or the box bees dying. The hives seem to be doing okay these past two days though not as many are outside of the box trying to get in! Hope that means they have found a lot of nectar sources and are not all dead. Going in today to put syrup in the tops, then will pull them apart tomorrow to make sure the queens are out.
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Apr 16, 2014 3:12 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

We just got our first swarm today. Actually, oddly enough, they've been flying for a few days here and there but haven't seen them land until today. A nice gigantic pile of bees congregated on my crepe myrtles just outside my office door. Got them in a bucket and transferred them to my top bar hive that was empty and ready for vacancy. Hopefully they'll get settled in! This might be fun. Smiling
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Apr 16, 2014 4:37 PM CST
Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Apr 16, 2014 4:58 PM CST

Moderator

They were probably waiting for the right weather and for the queen to be ready to go.
Congratulations shouldn't be long until they start swarming here.

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