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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Swarm or No Swarm

I received a call at the end of work from Dick regarding his bees.  It seemed they were balling underneath his hive, and he was concerned they were getting ready to swarm.  I came out to look at them with him, and it was rather amazing...they were hanging onto the screen on the bottom of the bottom board.  They were hanging onto each other and were at least 2-3 inches thick all the way across the bottom of the hive.  I would guess, basing it upon what my 3 pound package of bees looked like when I installed them, that there were 20,000 under there!  We decided to check the hive for the Queen and for swarm cells to determine if they were preparing to swarm or just too crowded or hot in the hive.  In going through the hive we found the Queen and did not find any swarm cells. 

We also checked the hive of bees we captured a week ago.  As we looked in the hive we didn't find any Queen and we didn't find any brood.  Dick said he saw these bees carrying off the brood over the past week and we could figure out why.  They also weren't building comb on the frames but appeared to be destroying it.  * I later found out from Dave at Long Lane that it is a challenge to keep brood alive when taking them from another hive, especially the capped brood.  He said you have to keep the brood at 92 degrees or they will quickly die.  He usually brings along another hive to install them in with bees who will keep them warm.  So, it looks like the bees were carrying off their dead.  Dick and I discussed the need to get a new Queen to install and save the colony.

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