Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Breakfast in bed

The bees are mysterious in so many ways.  For example, I just couldn't figure out why they ended up "bearding" on the outside of the swarm trap by the entrance last night.  That was quite worrisome.   It could mean several things.  But the worrisome reason might be that they are just stopping for the night on their quest for a new home.  So our humble little swarm trap would merely be a bee version of Motel 6.  Why else wouldn't the entire group go inside for the night?  Although there could be a lot of bees inside too.  Maybe it's full????  I can't open it up and look in because it's too high up.

So the next morning before they became very active I mixed up some sugar water and filled a new sprayer and feeder to welcome them with a delicious breakfast.  When you spray swarming bees with sugar water it gets them into eating mode vs "let's fly away" mode.  And it inhibits flight temporarily.  They will get a nice snack of sugar which is definitely good for swarming bees as they don't have a hive full of honey to fall back on.  The feeder placed on top of the box is also another reason for the bees to stick around and call this their new home.  So if they do head out again, at least I know that everything possible was done to keep them around.

The other alternative is to gather this hive in a box and take them immediately to the apiary and dump into new hive box.  This may not go over well with the bees and off they could go again.  Plus you could hurt the queen and have some other issues.  By letting them stay in the swarm trap for a week or two the plan is for them to start forming comb inside on the frames and foundations making it theirs.  Then in a few weeks the frames will gently be transferred to their new hive with very little disruption to the group.

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