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Posted by brer Zone 7 (My Page) on
Tue, May 31, 11 at 21:34

Sigh! I think I just had a swarm. I didn't see them actually coming out of my hive, but they were right in the yard coming from that area.

Here's my story. This is the first time I've had bees. The person who got me the nuc said to get medium boxes, so I did. But when the nucs came, they were in regular boxes, so I had to put two mediums together to fit the frames.

He said, "Just let the bees fill out the combs and then lift them up and out." But after three weeks, the bees had filled all the empty space below the large frames (they are shorter than two mediums) with large chunks of comb. I tried one time to inspect the hive, but one of the combs fell off, and all that work was destroyed. Comb, brood, and eggs---and honey. :(

A couple of weeks later, I looked again, and the frames were not drawn out on the outside..only up the middle. So, I tried to slide the longer frames to the side and put the empty ones more in the middle. But again, moving them knocked off one of the clumps of comb. (A piece about 4 inches tall and 8 inchse long.) I was still feeding them sugar water. Well, on Mem. Day, I thought I'd take the feeder off and put on another box. Even though I had no idea what was happening underneath. It was a big mess with comb everywhere, and still nothing on some of the frames. So, I thought they had plenty of room. But, still I added another box.

Well, that's when (about a half hour after I took the feeder away and put on another box) I saw the swarm.

Today there are still many bees circling around the front entrance of the hive.(Oh, and they had been doing that for about a week...lots of bees just hanging out there) They are still there. So there are bees there...but I don't know if there's a queen or what. A book I read said that I should leave them alone for a week, but look inside before TWO weeks.

But I'm not sure what to look for. Or what to do.

Maybe this is why hobbiests should leave the beekeeping up to the professionals.



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Troubles!

No no..don't get discouraged, we all start at one time and climb
the ladder.
If you see eggs you have a queen, if not, then most likely it's this hive what swarmed. Now wait for at least two weeks and look for eggs, also change over slowly to
medium if that's what you want. I run all deep, perhaps you can
have the brood box deep and honey super medium.
You could have a couple of after swarms from a large hive, watch for little swarms hanging on trees/shroubs every day in the afternoon, take them down in evening about two hour
before sunset, I find this way they don't take off when hiving them, ..[not enough sunlight].
I love swarm's, it's amazing how eager they are to get to work and build up a new colony very fast. Too bad you didn't get the first larger swarm, this is the old queen and she still can lay for a little while very good and build up.

RE: Troubles!

Do you have any full size boxes? Most beekeepers use 2 full size hive bodies for brood. Super sizes are optional. I'm using 2 full size brood boxes with medium supers. Bees prefer exact dimensions. Your full size frames installed in 2 medium boxes leave room for chaos below. The comb in the void below will never follow the shape of the frames & will be damaged or destroyed every time you pull the frames to inspect them. If your frames are too far apart the bees will fill in between them & again you will not be able to pull them to inspect them. Spacing is critical. If you have full size frames they need to be in full size hive bodies & need to be evenly spaced. I have frame spacers in my hive bodies & have 9 frames per box. This is what my mentor taught me & he has 140 hives & has been keeping bees for 35 years. I trust his advice completely. There are as many opinions as there are beekeepers. 9,10. & even 11 frames can be used in 10 frame bodies. Full, medium, small hive's personal preference & whatever works for you. But I would think that like-size frames need to be in like-size hive bodies or you are asking for trouble. What you are experiencing supports the theories I'm offering. I also keep an empty hive in reserve in case a swarm becomes available.

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