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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

What a Swarm is Supposed to Do When it is Hived

You'll remember that I put the swarm that I collected on Friday into a cobbled together hive situation. The outside three shallow frames are over completely empty space - no bottom. I had to go get equipment - new frames - and had to paint the hive box, build and paint the screened bottom board and telescoping cover.

The picture below shows my preparation for the transfer to the new box with a decent bottom board. The telescoping cover and inner cover are lying to one side so that I can lift the bottom hive box over and set it on the inner cover. That way if the queen, for example, falls off of the frame she is on, at least she will fall on the inner cover and be returned to the hive.

I pulled the frames out of the medium 8 frame box exactly as they were in the original box and put them into the new box just in that way.

I didn't have time or the right sunlight (it was 7:30 AM before I left for work) to see if the queen were laying in the drawn shallow frames but the bees were all over the three shallow frames, so I left them in the new box for now. I left them on the outside 1,2 and 3 positions in hopes that eventually I'll exchange them for medium frames.

When a hive sends out a primary swarm, the old queen goes and the bees who go with her are primed to start up a hive. They are all filled with honey and the younger bees are ready to build wax. this hive has only been in this box since Friday morning and on Monday morning they have drawn some wax in every one of the five starter strip medium frames I gave them.

The confusion for these bees came in their working on entering the new hive. Where there had been a bottom entrance with no bottom board, now there is a screened bottom board. Confused bees headed for what they had been using as a rear bottom entrance to find it unavailable. The screen would allow them to smell the queen pheromone, but not allow them entry.

I put a branch in front of the entrance so that the bees inside would re-orient to the new hive box. I do hope the confused ones in the back figure out that now they have to come in the front door. Maybe when I get home from work, I'll prop the back of the top cover to allow them a rear entry, just not at the bottom.
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  1. Anonymous11:13 AM

    Linda --

    Just curious -- do you think the swarm in the neighbor's yard came from your hives or somewhere else? How would you know? Where might 'from somewhere else' be?

    -- Jane in Chapel Hill

  2. Hi Jane,
    The swarm could have come from one of my hives, but none of them look at all diminished. There are about four beekeepers that I know of (might also be others) who live within a 2 mile radius of my house - could easily have been from one of their hives. I have woods behind my house - could have been a hive from a tree.

    Linda T


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