Swarm-Hive Checkup

I bought a whole new langstroth hive a few days ago and finally finished painting the parts, so I opened up the makeshift hive with the captured swarm in it. The bees only occupied the 3 left most frames, but were expanding onto the 4th. The brood nest only took up half of each frame on each side, but the pattern was solid and all frames had capped cells on them. They had some small amounts of pollen scattered around and very small amounts of honey. I found the queen quickly and it looks to me like she’s italian. She’s caramel colored and hasn’t swollen to her full size just yet. I removed an empty frame and quickly placed the telescoping cover on top.

Then I moved over to the large colony and searched quickly for a frame of capped brood. I found one with the queen on it. She’s probably a full cm longer than the swarm-queen and a dark cherry wood color, with rings of golden hair at the end of each segment of her abdomen. I gently encouraged her onto the next frame over and removed the frame full of brood, bees and all. They were almost all brand new worker bees so I wasn’t too worried about smell issues or anything like that. I replaced that frame with the empty one I pulled from the swarm box and quickly closed up the hive. Then I took the brood frame over and put it right next to the brood cluster of the swarm hive, spraying the bees with sugar water as I went. I almost like sugar water better than smoke I think. I certainly use it more often. The bees immediately started cleaning themselves and there didn’t appear to be any issues from either set of bees.

I’m hoping this full frame of new workers (they should hatch within a day or two judging by the color of the capped cells and the frames nearby) will give the swarm bees an extra boost to get the summer going. And the established hive definitely needs some room so that empty frame should keep them busy for a day or two. I also pulled a full frame of drone brood from that hive that I use as a kind of mite-trap. The idea being that any mites in the colony will use the drone brood as a breading ground, and then I can remove it and freeze it (killing the brood and mites) once the cells are capped. It also helps me check for mites. I check a few cells around both sides of the frame to see if there are any mites present (I didn’t see any this time) and it kind of gives me an idea of how the hive is doing. It’s also a nice way to let the bees think they’re rearing drones and keep the drone population down.

I put it in the freezer a few hours ago and I’ll take it out in a little bit to let it warm up again. There was some capped honey on it which was nice to see! Everything seems to be going well this summer!

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One response to “Swarm-Hive Checkup”

  1. Emma Sarah Tennant says :

    A good idea to do some husbandry culling drone to monitor and manage mites. Good luck!

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