Austin Area Beekeepers Association Message Board › Reporting Swarms

Reporting Swarms

Karl A.
user 12208208
Group Organizer
Austin, TX
Post #: 89
It is swarm season in Austin right now, so I decided we should probably start a thread where folks can report swarms.
Jim Hogg (Daddy's...
DaddysBees
Dripping Springs, TX
Post #: 146
Attention Everyone!!! If you have a swarm of bees or a honey bee infestation, just let me know!!! I will gladly take them of your hands. Contact me: www.daddysbees.com My phone is: 512/228-0022. Thanks for saving the bees!!!!!!
Jonathan S.
user 11269528
Austin, TX
Post #: 225
LOL - that's kinda like preachin to the choir Jim! ;)
Doug Hamelwright J...
user 31498952
Bedford, TX
Post #: 2
My hive swarmed today. Good thing my wife was home because I would've never known otherwise! Looks as though about half the hive took off. The other half seems to be just as active is they have been over the past month or so. I posted a picture of the swarm as it was hanging out in my neighbor's holly tree. I came home as quickly as I could to try and rescue it once my wife noticed and alerted me. I wasn't prepared well at all, so I had to try and build a temporary bottom board that I planned to use under a spare super I had and house them there until I could order another brood box. Unfortunately, they took off within 2 hrs of leaving the hive and I was about 30 minutes too short of getting everything ready to get them into a new home.



I had just had them opened yesterday and didn't notice anything more than a queen cup that was unfilled. I wish I was diligent enough to check the other frames, as I only looked at one brood frame and just spot checked the others from on top. Not sure if maybe she laid an egg in the one queen cup yesterday and took off with the swarm today or if there was another queen that had emerged from a cell elsewhere and the new one is now with the swarm. I do think it was something they had been planning for a while as I noticed quite a few drones and drone cells over the past couple weeks and there were no other issues in the hive (plenty of brood, no disease or pests, normal activity on clear days, etc...). I even saw the queen (or maybe one of two queens) on the one brood frame I pulled out to inspect and she looked normal size. I'm not sure if there would be a noticeable difference in a queen that is preparing to leave with a swarm or not, so maybe I wouldn't have been able to tell anyway.

I suppose I'll leave the remaining ones alone for a couple weeks before I open up and assess the situation more closely (i.e. find evidence of a queen). For now I feel like all I can do is keep my eye on their activity and be sure they are still as active as they seem to have been after the swarm left today. If the activity lessens I will probably get too antsy and at least open the top to see if there are some still there or if the stores are just being robbed.

In April I will have been a beekeeper for only a year, so this is my first real swim thru swarm season and obviously I didn't do enough or didn't do things soon enough to keep the hive from feeling the need to split. I would've loved to have caught the swarm and had another hive to put elsewhere, but that opportunity has come and gone. Anyway, it's a learning experience. If anyone has any suggestions or more specific questions that would help me better assess what has gone on, I'd definitely be happy to hear it. And if you happen to be in the Bedford area...keep your eye out for my bees!!!
Jim Hogg (Daddy's...
DaddysBees
Dripping Springs, TX
Post #: 152
Sorry to hear about it Doug. This happens when you don't do splits or open up the broodnest/checkerboard your hive in February. The old queen left with the older bees. A new queen may still emerge and carry on with the young bees. Next year do a split in February. Have a good one.
Doug Hamelwright J...
user 31498952
Bedford, TX
Post #: 3
I did checkerboard in early February and even added a super a little over a week ago when it was obvious they were filling out the empty comb that had been there for most of the winter. I think the biggest mistake I made was leaving the queen excluder on during winter. I finally took it off about 2-3 weeks ago, but I'm sure they had already started prepping to head out. I will definitely plan to split them next year.
Jim Hogg (Daddy's...
DaddysBees
Dripping Springs, TX
Post #: 153
Thursday afternoon provided 2 early swarms. Thank you Joe for your lead! I hope the nasty weather doesn't harm the newly installed swarm to our AUB hive. This week, March 11 to 18, should really begin our swarming season. Everyone please keep your eyes and ears open and give me a call asap if you see any! smile
bob
user 4036110
Austin, TX
Post #: 2
swarm at Little Deli today... settled on branch near parking lot

(512) 467-7402

7101-A Woodrow Ave
Austin

they close at 9pm
dustin
dustin2dust
Austin, TX
Post #: 57
I'm assuming split means to split your colony, right? With a hive that is in it's first year and with the summer having been so rough, is it a good idea to do that? How do you know if your hive is swarming? What are the signs?

Today there was an insane amount of activity around my hive. There were TONS of bees in the air (way more than orientation flights) and they covered the ground in front of the hive as well. I kept watching to see if they were going anywhere, but eventually had to run some errands. When I came home they weren't in the air anymore or on the ground and were bearding on the side and later the front of the hive. I'm not sure if most of them went back in or if they swarmed and left.
Jim Hogg (Daddy's...
DaddysBees
Dripping Springs, TX
Post #: 161
Dustin, open the hive and look for queen cells that are developing, developed, and/or mature and are open on the tip. Any of these indicates a swarm is possibly going to happen if not already. The other possibility is that the hive will raise queen cells in order to replace her, as the bees determine, for some reason, that she is weaker or damaged in some way. Beeks split hives earlier(in Feb) to avoid swarming or they can open the broodnest in a checkerboard pattern or similar for the same effect. Queen cells placed near the bottom or near the outer edges of the frames indicate swarming. Queen cells near the top of the frame or center of the combs indicate that they want to replace her. But, they can only make queen cells where the queen has laid eggs. Bees cannot move eggs to another cell location. I hope this helps.
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