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small swarm

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New Bee

Joined: 26 Nov 2015
Posts: 3
Location: East Harling

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 7:08 pm    Post subject: small swarm Reply with quote

We've collected a small swarm and apparently, according to eyewitness accounts, broken away from a larger passing swarm a couple of days ago. They are now in a top bar hive but don't appear to be coming in and out of the hive. I've been able to look up through the bottom mesh and they appear to be building on the bars. They seem docile and I thought perhaps needing feed so I have put my feeder over the entrance holes. It has a slot at the bottom so there's access for the bees (and seems to deter wasps!). Is this necessary? I just get the impression they seem lethargic. I assume there is a queen though not sure. Any advice on small swarms/feeding/ caring for is welcome. Thank you. David Wheeler
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Golden Bee

Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1550
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that very small swarms will often die out without feeding unless conditions are good. (The past week here, I probably wouldn't have bothered)

However the swarm splitting off from a larger one raises a couple of questions.

Why did it split off? I have heard of colonies with two queens but haven't seen it myself. If the Swarm only had one queen, only one part of it will survive. A swarm with two queens is not something I have seen or even heard of. If there is no queen, when they start foraging, your best bet might be to move it close to another hive, then after a few days move it to the opposite side of the new hive so that the foraging bees loaded with nectar will be allowed in to the hive boosting it's numbers.
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1856
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe it is not unusual for cast swarms to come out with multiple virgin queens and then split.

Much as I generally advocate not feeding swarms, a jar or two of light syrup might give this little colony a leg up. If you have any spare drawn comb, that would also be a big help to them but it may be that they are lethargic because they have no queen. Only time will tell.

Good luck with them
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