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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 16th year of beekeeping in April 2021. 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.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

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. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

The Little Kitten Swarm

Cindy Bee who belonged to Metro Atlanta Beekeepers when she was in Georgia once said that when people called her about a swarm, she would  ask how big it was.  She'd say, "Big as a basketball? A football? A baseball?" but people would say, "Well, it's as big as my Mama's purse;" or "It's as big as two cats."

When I got this tiny swarm, I thought, "Only as big as a kitten."  So I housed the tiny swarm in a nuc box to help them thrive.  Since it was so small, it was probably a secondary swarm with a virgin queen and she needed time to mate and start laying.

I looked into the hive for the first time on Wednesday.  They have a laying queen!  She had an egg in almost every available cell. 

I am feeding this nuc, unlike my other hives.  I feel like mothering it - they are so small and I want to make it work for them.  Maybe they won't make it, but I loved opening the nuc and finding all these eggs.  And they were storing nectar.

Notice in the comb below that they have left themselves a passageway right in the center of the comb.  This is one of the advantages to the bees of foundationless frames.

The bees only occupy part of three frames of this nuc, but Michael Bush once wrote on Beemaster that at this time of year, if he had a group of bees about the size of a baseball (or a kitten), he would try to give them every chance.  That's what I'm doing.

And now that they are making a new home in the nuc box, I hung the swarm trap back up again.  It may have already used its 40% chance by catching the "small kitten" but I love it that it worked and want to try again!

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  1. Hi, Linda. What a nice outcome for the bees, the swarm trap, and you. Mike Palmer (VT), the bee journals, and our local survivability surveys all recommend nurturing small spring/summer nucs to overwinter as nucs, then they roar into strength the next spring. Sounds like you have a good start on that here.

  2. That is so cool that you caught a swarm! Wow!!


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