Swarm survival

Basic beekeeping, this is beekeeping after the first winter until about the third or fourth year. You are a beekeeper, but you still have a lot to learn. Talk about normal everyday beekeeping here.
Grappling Coach
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Swarm survival

Postby Grappling Coach » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:05 pm

I have collected 3 swarms so far this year, and hope to get more. one of them was huge and the other two were small. I hear a lot of people say that swarm survival rates are small. I do not know if this is true, but I would like to at least put the odds in my favor as much as possible. I am a new beekeeper and therefore do not have extra resources laying around such as empty comb or capped brood that I can spare. I do have some old black comb that has a little pollen in it from a cutout that I did. I rubber banded some of it in a couple of frames and put them in the nucs that I installed the small swarms in. The rest of the frames are foundationless with paint stick comb guides. Do you have any tips, tricks, or advice on swarms? especially small ones?

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Michael Bush
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Re: Swarm survival

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:56 pm

Any resources you have can be a big help to a swarm. A frame of honey. A frame of pollen. Some drawn comb. A frame of open brood is good to anchor them and a frame of emerging brood can boost the population quickly...
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

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GregV
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Re: Swarm survival

Postby GregV » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:22 pm

Grappling Coach wrote:I have collected 3 swarms so far this year, and hope to get more. one of them was huge and the other two were small. I hear a lot of people say that swarm survival rates are small. I do not know if this is true, but I would like to at least put the odds in my favor as much as possible. I am a new beekeeper and therefore do not have extra resources laying around such as empty comb or capped brood that I can spare. I do have some old black comb that has a little pollen in it from a cutout that I did. I rubber banded some of it in a couple of frames and put them in the nucs that I installed the small swarms in. The rest of the frames are foundationless with paint stick comb guides. Do you have any tips, tricks, or advice on swarms? especially small ones?


Last year I re-started my beekeeping with 3 cut-outs/swarms in late August. Small ones too!
People told me I was wasting my time.
Guess what - I still have bees!
My sole survivor swarm was a keeper in the end, starting with the size of duct paper roll.
Right now that I mean to split it and propagate.
Stay at it and keep even the smallish swarms intact (especially in April - you have entire summer ahead for them to grow yet).
Feed them, if have to, to get them going at first - you never know if you have a valuable stock on hand until you give them a chance.

The best help for my sole late survivor was: a plastic frame of black crappy comb (all I had on hand) - they immediately cleaned it out and filled with the eggs after just one day. Of course, I fed the crap out of them just so they could be set for the winter, starting out in late August with nothing.
So yes - they needed some help up front. This year I will give them a chance to fend for themselves and show their worth.

Grappling Coach
Freshman Beekeeper
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Location: Southwest Missouri

Re: Swarm survival

Postby Grappling Coach » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:38 pm

I put the feed bag on them yesterday evening to hopefully give them some help. We have had a lot of heavy rain lately, so I put a jar of sugar syrup on top of the frames and put another nuc body on top. It is supposed to be sunny today, so I hope they will get out and start foraging. I have heard that a heavy rain washes out pollen and nectar, leaving the bees with nothing. How long does it take for the flowers to replenish themselves? We have had multiple days of rain.

The large swarm I caught seems to be doing well. They are building comb in foundationless frames and bringing in pollen.

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GregV
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Re: Swarm survival

Postby GregV » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:48 pm

Grappling Coach wrote: How long does it take for the flowers to replenish themselves?


I would not worry about this.
Some flowers are short lived. Other flowers do close when it rains. Yet other flowers never opened yet.
All of it is out of your control - then don't worry about it.
This is spring and many, many flowers will come yet.

Do what you can control - feed for now.

You have it good - these swarms are the best deal that comes along.
I am yet to score any this year (but we are running one month behind you).

moebees
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Re: Swarm survival

Postby moebees » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:47 pm

And blossoms that hang down are protected from rain.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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SiWolKe
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Re: Swarm survival

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:20 am

moebees wrote:And blossoms that hang down are protected from rain.


Never thought of that! :D Gives me hope the bees are able to use flow for two days on WE. Thanks!
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

Nate K
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Re: Swarm survival

Postby Nate K » Mon May 08, 2017 10:56 am

If you have no resources like Michael said above, then I would recommend feeding the small ones. I don't normally feed, but this is a time where I think its worthwhile. It will really help them build out comb and get a head start.
What's good for the beekeeper, isn't always what's best for the bees.
http://Mylibertyhomestead.com


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