Friends of the Bees
Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


*** You will need to re-register ***

Please support Friends of the Bees

small swarm

Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
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
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Golden Bee

Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1551
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.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
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
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

Now available from

Now available from

Now available from

4th Edition paperback now available from

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.