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Title: Group Meeting At St. Tudy

freebeeatst.tudy - June 27, 2010 10:40 PM (GMT)
Thanks everyone for attending today, really glad we didn't have the thunderstorms but the cold rain might have been gratefully received!

It was good to put faces to names too!

Steve - forgot to talk more about helping with your struggling swarm - let me know if I can help by supplying you with a bar of brood.


Tavascarow - June 28, 2010 06:17 AM (GMT)
Thank you to you two for inviting us all.
It was an interesting meeting.
Sorry we had to rush away so quickly.

I hope John caught his swarm OK.
I was going to suggest he put it in the other end of his TBH.
If he makes a follower board with a large cut out section in the middle & tapes a piece of news paper over it, they will eat through it, & by the time they do their scents will have mingled.
The queen cells we put in there could be carefully taken out & put back in the old hive?

Thank you for the offer of a bar of brood but I don't think there are enough bees to cover it sufficiently.
I've formed a national nuc with the queen cells I took away so if they hatch & mate OK & the queen in the swarm doesn't start laying then I can combine them. :)

Janco2 - June 28, 2010 10:39 AM (GMT)
A very big thank you from us for hosting the day. We learnt a lot.
We'd never actually seen queen cells before and hadn't realised they are so big!

It was a very big bonus for Nic to have your swarm John. Many thanks for that.

We got them to Liskeard with no problems and were able to shake them into Nic's hive.

They were still their and seeming quite happy this morning.

I will try to post some photos on the photo section.

Jan and Colin

Carrie - June 28, 2010 12:54 PM (GMT)
Hi Pam / John,

Thank you for a lovely, informative and ultimately exciting morning with your bees.
I'm glad you managed to catch the swarm.

I learnt and gained so much from meeting and talking with you all - a lovely site for my bees with Lorraine and John, what to look out for in a TBH, how to move/remove Queen cells, a bit of a do, and amazing cakes at Pams!

Thanks and looking forwards to the next get together!


columbinegarden - June 28, 2010 09:23 PM (GMT)
Thank you so much for yesterday Pam. I learnt such a lot and the cakes were delicious!

As Mum (Janco) said, we got John's bees back home and into the TBH with no problems, and later in the evening they were making a delightful humming sound. I was over the moon, but unfortunately it was short lived as when I got home from work this afternoon there didn't seem to be many bees at all coming and going. This evening we looked in through the observation window and they were gone, leaving just a handful clinging to a beautiful new section of comb they have made. We put sugar syrup in when we put the swarm in and all had seemed well. I am so disappointed as there is no sign of them.

I know exactly how you must have felt Pam. What did I do wrong? What can possbly have been wrong with the accommodation? Does this happen routinely when new swarms are introduced? Might it have been a bit late in the season and perhaps this was a secondary swarm?

Any words of comfort would be gratefully received...
There is no emoticon that shows it really,


Beebass - June 29, 2010 06:49 PM (GMT)
Damn! That's really sad news... :(

I don't know if this is what you should or should not do, but whenever I've re-housed a new colony I've tended to leave them sealed in their new location for between 12-24 hours to let them acclimatise to the new environment. I suspect if they've been transported in a nuc/box they may consider it an instrument of torture rather than a potential new home and abscond at the earliest opportunity.

Have you asked around? They may not have gone far....


columbinegarden - June 29, 2010 09:22 PM (GMT)
It is really sad, particularly the very few bees left behind who this evening were very agitated.

We followed what we could remember of Phil Chandlers's instructions from his book, although today I remembered Vini's photos of her getting her swarm into a new hive with a white sheet and allowing them to move in at their own pace. Perhaps that would have been more successful. They might have gone anyway I suspect.

If there is a next time, I might try shutting them in as if they have sugar syrup they wouldn't come to any harm and may, as you say, get attached (literally) to their new abode.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that John's colonies go on OK now. Please do let me know Pam.


Beebass - June 29, 2010 10:07 PM (GMT)
Don't beat yourself up Nic, I'm sure there was nothing you could have done.

This year, I've literally thrown bees into a nuc and they haven't absconded so I guess this occurrence is just, 'one of those things'.

Next time...... ;)

Tavascarow - June 30, 2010 08:36 AM (GMT)
I think it's a common problem which no one has yet found an answer to.
Wild swarms will always populate old colony sites first before new, so my suggestion, if another swarm turns up, is to put it in your Mum & Dads nuc box (which they will have shortly).
The smell of previously vacated bees seems to help keep them at home.
& then once established with brood & comb transfer them to your new hive.
A piece of old comb in the hive has the same effect.
It's very disappointing when it happens to a new beekeeper, especially as John was so generous to give them to you, as it means you are still without bees.
Not so bad when you're established, you can just say you're helping the wild/feral population.

We really need to get a group apiary up & running somewhere.
I still haven't heard from Eden.
I will send another E-mail.
If we had a group site we can start our own breeding program & as well as helping new beekeepers with advice & instruction, also supply bees at a reasonable price, already established on bars with comb & brood.
In the mean time I would say to everyone, please follow John, Klaudia & Vini's fine example & try & help others get started as much as possible.

Carrie - July 2, 2010 04:46 PM (GMT)
Hi Nic,

I'm so sorry to hear that your swarm absconded - a devastating feeling especially as they were such a lovely and unexpected gift.

I am a complete novice, but do you think the swarm were still in swarm mode as they were caught quite quickly after they left Johns hive?

Just a thought - maybe somone with lot's more knowledge and experience can comment? It would be good to know for the future.....


Vee - July 4, 2010 10:18 AM (GMT)
I'm really sad about your loss as well Nic - what a dismal experience.

I second all Steve M's points - with the addition of:
* waiting till the cool of the evening / duskish (which I guess you did anyway)
* adding wax scribbles and perhaps a spot of citronella or lemon balm oil on the outside of the hive - and possibly a nasanov phial inside
* and the white sheet technique after tipping some of the bees into the hive which, once those guide bees give out their nasanov signals may release a 'general consensus' feeling for the whole hive. Certainly the guy who came to help me with my monster / problem swarm was much heartened when he saw this happening - it also clearly indicates that the queen is in residence and not lost on the way or still amongst those outside.
* a queen includer might not make much sense because she'll either be a skinny virgin or slimmed down for the flight anyway - plus it would mean the drones would get left behind if the others took off - but a grass plug could possibly slow them down enough to help them change their mind...

Fingers crossed for the next bee family that comes your way.

All the best, Vini

columbinegarden - July 5, 2010 09:55 PM (GMT)
Thank you for all your replies. There are lots of useful suggestions here and we certainly have a better idea of how we might go about it next time.

We're hoping that now that our hive has been occupied, albeit for only one night, it may smell more attractive next time. As you say Carrie, we thought they hadn't had enough time out of the original hive or had a chance to fly far at all, before they were transferred, which would lead them in the wild to risk competing for food with the original hive.

Although we didn't use a white sheet, we didn't have any problem getting the whole swarm into the hive. They climbed up the cardboard box and straight in the entrance holes and seemed quite happy until some time during the following day.

Anyway, perhaps next time.

Thank you for your comments, and thank you, Steve, for continuing to be on the lookout for me.


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