Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fourteen ... and a Half

So I went cold turkey.  No more swarm collecting.

The decision wasn't that hard--I was forced to quit because I had no more equipment left to put them in.

With splits from my own yard I had planned on only collecting one or two swarms and end up with about 10 hives.  Now I have 14.

Well, 14 1/2 ....

[Photo - the bottom entrance of a hive feeder was beckoning to some bees to make themselves at home]

I discovered a very tiny swarm had moved into a hive top feeder that was sitting in the yard.  In early spring it had sugar syrup in it so out for robbing but now it was empty.

I shook them out of the feeder and sure enough, just like a swarm, they all gathered in one spot on the table edge.  So I set a nuc box where the feeder had been.

It took about five democratic bee minutes for them to decide to move in.

The next day I found a honey super and put them in it.  I suspected the bees didn't have a queen but I'd wait and see.

There was only about 150 of them - so tiny is the word.

This exact thing happened last year and that tiny swarm didn't have a queen at first and then a few weeks later they had a queen.

What I found touching about these bees was that they were such a motley crew.  They were an assortment of ages and bee races.  Several bees had damaged wings and were unable to fly but they were still part of the family.  It was like everyone was accepted and belonged.  Maybe the hive feeder became a place where stragglers gathered together and became a hive on their own.  A motley family.

So I'll give them a bit of time.  I haven't seen a queen yet.  When inspecting another hive I removed a queen cup with an egg in it and gave it to this Motley Crew swarm.  When I checked the cup a few days later there were about 10 eggs in it.

They definitely have a worker laying drone eggs.
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