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A summer swarm

John Carey of central Illinois sent these photos of a swarm he hived on June 30. Nice catch! It’s another case where the tree is barely up to the task.

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John set the hive on a barrel just under the swarm. © John Carey.
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The small oak is straining under the weight of the bees. © John Carey.
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One massive amount of bees finds a new home. © John Carey.

Comments

Anthony "TONYBEES" PLANAKIS
Reply

BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!

Jim
Reply

WOW, what a swarm, i got a small swarm (compared to the one above) July 2nd, i have not had many this year. Happy 4th to all. 🙂

Susan Luber
Reply

How did you entice them to go into the new hive? I see a paper plate with something on it but can’t make out what it is. Wonderful swarm!

john carey
Reply

I didn’t entice them. I placed the box under them, then sprayed them with sugar water, and then gently scooped them in with my hands. It took me 3 different times of spraying before I finally got the queen into the box and the the bees started crawling into the box instead back up the tree. The plate I have in there has left over wax from last years honey crop. It had nothing to do with getting them in there, but I always feel like it gives them something to start eating right away.

PeterK2003
Reply

Yeah, what is that bait?

john carey
Reply

I didn’t entice them. I placed the box under them, then sprayed them with sugar water, and then gently scooped them in with my hands. It took me 3 different times of spraying before I finally got the queen into the box and the the bees started crawling into the box instead back up the tree. The plate I have in there has left over wax from last years honey crop. It had nothing to do with getting them in there, but I always feel like it gives them something to start eating right away.

Robbin R.
Reply

Wow, I thought I had a big one, this beats it!!!

HB
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A colleague of mine shared pictures with me today, of a swarm that chose a tree in his yard (in Port Townsend, WA). His neighbor’s hives swarm every year, and every year the neighbors retrieve the bees and “put them back.” I always wondered how that worked. Well today I found out today that before rehiving the swarm in their original hive, the beekeepers make up a nuc with the swarm cells. The other thing I found interesting is that instead of describing the queen cell as peanut-like, they likened it to a big raspberry or marionberry. So PacNW!

Rusty
Reply

Hmm . . . I think I’ll stick with peanut. The berry thing just doesn’t work for me.

Carl Jordan
Reply

Hi, My friend and I have an unusual circumstance with one of our top bar hives. The bees are building comb on the outside of the hive, underneath the hive body. The comb underneath the hive has brood cells in it and capped honey, so it appears that the queen has moved down there. My friend made a decision to remove the comb from the bottom of the hive, invert it, and place it in the top of the main hive body, and we did that this morning. My Youtube channel has videos of the situation.

Ever heard of anything like this?

Rusty
Reply

Carl,

I couldn’t tell from the video, but were all the bees outside the hive or just some? In other words, was the top bar hive completely empty? I ask because it almost looks like a swarm from somewhere else moved in under the TBH. If the TBH is empty, then I’d say they just moved out, but if it is still heavily populated I would say there were two colonies. I just can’t tell from the videos.

But here’s the major problem: I can’t understand the reason for inverting the comb. The bees can’t actually use inverted comb. The cells in a comb are angled upward at roughly a 14-degree angle. If you look from the side they form a V. This is so the nectar, pollen, royal jelly and such don’t flow out. This is a serious upset to the colony.

Carl
Reply

Rusty,

Thanks for the reply. There is still a significant population of bees in the top of the hive, but when we inspected them, we could not find the queen, so we assumed that she moved down to the comb underneath.

The reasoning behind inverting the comb was to encourage the bees to abandon that comb and begin drawing out new comb inside the hive. We have yet to determine if this is working or not.

Rusty
Reply

Carl,

Okay, I see your reasoning. Still, I would have just tied the combs onto the top bars instead of wasting all that hard work. They would have them attached in just a day or two.

Eddy Wright
Reply

Hi, Just found your site I think it is fantastic.

Rusty
Reply

Thanks, Eddy.

Kyle
Reply

I have three tbh that died last winter and I replaced May 1. The queen died in one leaving it broodless and dying. I figured it was too late in the summer July 10th to requeen. Yesterday a swarm found it and moved in. I started feeding 1:1 sugar solution but they consumed the entire qt jar in less than an hour. Refilled it today with the same results. It’s currently an outside feeder. Should I put it into the box to avoid robbers? Fondant?

Rusty
Reply

Kyle,

If a nectar dearth is in progress I would definitely feed inside the hive instead of outside.

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