Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Split Before the Swarm

One of the Neighbor's hives had a false start to swarm today.  I was home for lunch and went out on the back deck to look at my bees.  As soon as i walked outside i heard that Jet Engine sound of a swarm (a sound i became all to familiar with back in '08).  I followed the sound to my neighbors hives.  There the bees were flying in the typical manic sphere of Doom 20 feet across and pouring out of the one hive.  I watched and waited to see where they would eventually perch; while calling the neighbor at work.  They didn't go anywhere and all came back an landed on the outside of their hive.  Even after they came to rest on the hive they continued to stampede in then gush out of the entrances.  An hour later everyone had gone in for good.  The hive then resumed regular daily activities.

On their way back in
We split out the hive late this afternoon.  The brood nest was opened up with drawn and undrawn frames and an undrawn wax foundation honey super was added.  All the frames with swarm cells where pulled out (5).  We searched & searched for the queen but she was better at hiding then we were at seeking or she's not there.  All fingers are now crossed hoping it did the trick.

We are confident that the colony had not yet Swarmed.  The hive was packed!  Each frame had a pile of bees on it.  We couldn't see the comb without moving the bees away.  Even the newly place undrawn frames were quickly submerged in bees as we traded out frames.

Which left us with a Nucs worth of brood frames and bees.  Most or all of which have multiple swarm cells on them.  The neighbor didn't have any extra woodenware but I did.  She asked me if I wanted them to make a nuc.  I said sure!  So now I have another Nuc.

All the woodenware i have is from Duchess which was a double deep.  The frames I got from the neighbor are mediums.  So I put the medium frames in a single deep with 5 empty and drawn deep frames.  It may be a bit too much space so I need to get another nuc set up soon.

We plan to inspect these hives on Sunday looking for the parent queen.  Hopefully the she is still in the main hive and has started laying again.  We'll see.

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1 comment:

immwia said...

You sound as busy as the bees. Well done!