Swarm number 5
They just keep coming … and going. I thought I had seen my last swarm, but number five left my third hive (Georgia bees installed in March) and landed on the same magic bee bush as the previous four swarms. I had just received some new woodenware, so I quickly assembled four boxes and then painted them to get them ready for the swarm. It was about three or four hours later when I went out to capture the swarm in a nuc box, but they had already departed for a new home.
I am pretty sure that the swarm had just left the hive when I saw it this morning. There were lots of bees in the air, lots around hive 3, and they seemed to be collecting on the bush. In about 15 minutes, there were noticeably fewer bees in the air and around the hive and bush. It certainly looked like they had just swarmed and settled down. However, a half hour later, I saw a waggle dance on one section of the swarm. I didn’t look on other parts of the swarm. If they had just swarmed, how could a scout be doing a waggle dance already? I don’t know. I didn’t really want another hive, but I surely didn’t want to lose another half of my Georgia bees.
The previous swarm from that hive was 19 days ago. At best the new queen has only been laying for a few days or maybe a week. Now there will be another approximately 14 days until another new queen will start laying eggs. So in two weeks, that hive will have gone about a month without new brood (possibly a few days worth of eggs in the middle). The rest of the bees will be pretty old. It seems like I should expect a population crash and slow rebuild.
This is the hive that has the burr comb in the feeding box. I looked at it today and I saw a little of it capped with honey, but lots of it looking mostly empty. I was kinda hoping that it was all going to be capped honey by now. I recently installed a new medium brood box between the deep brood box and the feeding box, hoping to prevent swarming and giving them plenty of expansion space. Apparently, I was too late.
I also moved the first two hives forward about two feet to give myself more room to work on the hives from behind. Again, I had the chance to see what was going on in the supers I put on a couple of months ago. There was still no nectar being stored there. Below the super there are two deep brood boxes. I removed the super and then the top brood box. It must have weighed 50 pounds. So no honey in the super, but a brood box with lots of honey. I didn’t look at the frames today. The second hive was similar but not as heavy – perhaps only 30 pounds in the top brood box. Both lower brood boxes were lighter than the upper boxes, but, again, I didn’t inspect further. That will be another day soon.
I need to move the three smaller hives forward, too. I might be able to just lift them intact and set them on the new stand. They are not nearly as heavy as the first two hives.