2019 Honeybee swarms, lessons, successes and learning experiences

babsbag

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Hi Soar, long time....I was thinking about you the other day so I am glad that you checked in. Do you still have the sheep?

Seeing you catch swarms already makes me realize that I need to check my hives this week and split them if needed. I just bought two hives about a month ago and they have been very busy and I certainly want to lose part of them.

Are you eucalyptus trees in bloom this year?
 

soarwitheagles

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Hi Soar, long time....I was thinking about you the other day so I am glad that you checked in. Do you still have the sheep?

Seeing you catch swarms already makes me realize that I need to check my hives this week and split them if needed. I just bought two hives about a month ago and they have been very busy and I certainly want to lose part of them.

Are you eucalyptus trees in bloom this year?
Hi Babs!

Yes, long time no talk to you! So sorry!

Yes, sheep have been multiplying like crazy. It will soon be time to thin the flock...will probably sell more than half of them to keep our summer feed costs low. They more than doubled in numbers in the last 8 months.

Yes, I heartily agree, check your colonies asap. During a strong flow the queen can lay over 2000 eggs per day. Within a 10 day period during a strong nectar flow, you may need to install another super or they will surely swarm.

I was concerned we would not catch any swarms this season...but now I think the bees postponed their swarming activity due to the massive rainfall this year...

They've been about 30 days later than normal....

BTW, we launched our new honeybee company this year...

We will be selling nucs, package bees, queens, etc.

We took our colonies to the almond orchards for the first time this year too...

Hope to have a website up soon!

Take care!
 

babsbag

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That is just so good to hear about your success with the bees and the sheep. Did you every figure out what killed the sheep a few years ago? Did you ever get an LGD?

I don't really want to split my hives as I would prefer just to have a stronger hive instead of smaller ones. But I understand that if I go in and inspect and find swarm cells at that point I have to split or they will swarm. I have equipment to make splits if I have to but just hoping that it isn't too late. I will check on them today.
 

soarwitheagles

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That sounds great! You are really growing your bee business. What breeds of bees do you have?
Baymule,

We raise Carniolians, Italians, Russians, and Heinz 57's!

That is just so good to hear about your success with the bees and the sheep. Did you every figure out what killed the sheep a few years ago? Did you ever get an LGD?

I don't really want to split my hives as I would prefer just to have a stronger hive instead of smaller ones. But I understand that if I go in and inspect and find swarm cells at that point I have to split or they will swarm. I have equipment to make splits if I have to but just hoping that it isn't too late. I will check on them today.
Babs,

Never found out what killed the lambs. It hasn't happened again.

A good rule to follow on the bees is: ALWAYS add another super when the honey bees have filled 80% or more of the boxes. If you permit the bee numbers, honey, pollen, eggs, larvae, etc. to exceed 90%, you will have just induced a swarm. The most critical and crucial time of the year in California is in the spring when the flow is strong.

Hope this helps!
 

babsbag

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A good rule to follow on the bees is: ALWAYS add another super when the honey bees have filled 80% or more of the boxes. If you permit the bee numbers, honey, pollen, eggs, larvae, etc. to exceed 90%, you will have just induced a swarm. The most critical and crucial time of the year in California is in the spring when the flow is strong.

Hope this helps!
Thanks...I was late.
I checked on one of the two hives and ran out of daylight but boy oh boy were they crowded. There weren't any open frames in the two deeps. There were a lot of swarm cells, which I destroyed. I added another deep and a super. I took as much of the brood as I could and moved it down and put in three empty frames in the middle. Put the brood that wouldn't fit in the bottom in the middle deep along with the honey, and I put some open frames in the box too. Then the top box is 6 frames of honey and 4 empty, and then the super. Hopefully this will keep them happy. They had honey and brood mixed up everywhere, not very organized at all. I also didn't see any pollen stored...maybe just no room. The bearding on the outside of the hive is quite intense. I still need to check the other one but it is just really hard to do when it is 95° outside. They don't seem to be as big as the other hive so hoping that they have room and I will get in there in the next few days.
 

karenerwin

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Swarm number 7 today...smaller, but still precious! Wetter than heck! It was raining...

View attachment 61164
I have seen on other threads that you paint your boxes. Have you ever used exterior acrylic paint? Do you know if it is safe to use Acrylic paint to paint the outside of the brood boxes and supers?
Thanks.
 

soarwitheagles

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Thanks...I was late.
I checked on one of the two hives and ran out of daylight but boy oh boy were they crowded. There weren't any open frames in the two deeps. There were a lot of swarm cells, which I destroyed. I added another deep and a super. I took as much of the brood as I could and moved it down and put in three empty frames in the middle. Put the brood that wouldn't fit in the bottom in the middle deep along with the honey, and I put some open frames in the box too. Then the top box is 6 frames of honey and 4 empty, and then the super. Hopefully this will keep them happy. They had honey and brood mixed up everywhere, not very organized at all. I also didn't see any pollen stored...maybe just no room. The bearding on the outside of the hive is quite intense. I still need to check the other one but it is just really hard to do when it is 95° outside. They don't seem to be as big as the other hive so hoping that they have room and I will get in there in the next few days.
Babs,

Long time no talk to you! So sorry, been gone for some time now.

Just a quick note of encouragement...

When you find swarm cells in your colonies, they are a huge blessing in disguise. Here is what I recommend:

1. Count how many frames have at lease one good swarm cell.
2. Make up small 5 frames nucs according to the number of frames with swarm cells.
3. Install one frame that has sealed queen swarm cells into each nuc.
4. Come back 30 days later and you have a brand new, butt kicking colony, with a new queen that is usually machine gun laying 1,000-2,000 eggs per day!

Special note: if there is no pollen during this process, simply add a little pollen sub and a quart of sugar syrup.

We have done this more times than I can remember and have experienced tremendous success!

Just yesterday we installed frames with swarm cells in more nucs. They should hatch in the 1-3 days, then, we give them two weeks to get properly mated, then 1-2 weeks later, we open the nuc and look for evidence of a laying queen [open brood, sealed brood, eggs, etc.].

To be honest with you, we usually experience a high 95%+ success rate in making nucs with swarm cells.

Lots of people panic when they see the swarm cells and do everything they can to stop their colony from swarming. We recognize and work with the honeybees natural cycles and simply help them out a little by providing new homes for them...

Hope this helps!

I have seen on other threads that you paint your boxes. Have you ever used exterior acrylic paint? Do you know if it is safe to use Acrylic paint to paint the outside of the brood boxes and supers?
Thanks.
Hi Karen,

Most professional beekeepers highly suggest latex paint for your final coats.

I have had a tremendous problem with a top brand Acrylic paint bubbling some years back...I will never use Acrylic on bee boxes ever again. Latex only for us, and never had a problem with it!
 
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