Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two weeks later: Eggs in my swarm hive!

Saturday (April 21st) was the fourteenth day that my swarm colony has been in their new hive. If you remember, this swarm was from one of my own hives, and they landed 20 feet from their former home. Saturday was the second time I had checked this colony since I caught them. I also checked them at the one week mark, and while they were drawing comb, I could not find any new eggs on the three frames I moved from the other well established hive.  

Here is a frame where I found the new eggs. As you can see, there is some capped brood from this frame that I moved, but I also found brand new eggs scattered around it too. The frame was so full of bees, I had to gently blow on them to move them around. But at just the right angle with the sun behind me, I finally saw the tiny white eggs at the bottom of the cells. And with the worker bees building new comb on the other frames, the queen will soon be able to lay more eggs to keep this colony thriving.

As you can see, I seriously need to get some deep hive bodies. I'm still using two honey supers stacked on top of one another to act as a hive. My trip to Dadant in Chatham, Virginia, was sidetracked this past week because of work. But I'll have to make time soon because the bees in my swarm hive are building a lot of comb to fill in the extra space. I was tempted to go ahead and scrape all the excess comb off, but decided to just leave it so the bees will stop working to replace it and concentrate on finishing the task of drawing out the empty frames. The excess comb won't go to waste. I'll melt it down and use the wax on the frames in the hives. I'm getting ready to experiment with foundationless frames in my honey supers, so the wax will come in handy.

So overall, I believe this colony is doing well and I'll continue to check them in weekly increments. I'll have to in order to fight the burr comb until I can get them moved into a proper hive.

On a side note, I received a local swarm call on Saturday afternoon. A woman contacted my father and said she had a swarm of bees at her house. When I called her, she told me that the bees were in her fireplace chimney and somehow getting inside the house. A deputy Sheriff was at her home (they called the Sheriff's Office and asked for help) and he's the one that told her to call me, a local beekeeper. Based on her description, the bees were located deep in the chimney, so I knew there was little I could do for her. She said bees were flying in her house and crawling on the carpet, so I told her that the first priority was to plug the hole where they were coming through so no one would get stung. Then I told her that she would probably have to get an exterminator to kill them. It broke my heart to tell her that. If the bees had been in an outer wall or more accessible, maybe I could have done more. But with them being deep in a chimney and getting inside the house, there isn't much I or anyone else could do. But above all, the family's safety comes first. I thanked her for calling a beekeeper and I also appreciate the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office for thinking of me when it comes to saving the bees. 


  1. Hi Mark, can you put a piece of food or every two days to put syrup 300g.
    Good luck!

  2. Foundationless frames in the honey super. How do they go in the extractor, ie are they as strong as ones with foundation?

  3. Greetings Evangelos! I am feeding the bees 1:1 sugar syrup for right now. They are taking it, but slowly, and that is because we have a lot of pollen and nectar flowing right now. It is always great to hear from you!

  4. Hello Tim! That's a great question. My intent is to use the foundationless frames for harvesting comb honey. I have so many people asking for the comb, but all of my past harvests have been honey only. Since I use Plasticell and Pierco frames, I've had to use the crush and strain method for those harvests, but since I now have a small Dadant extractor, I think I'll be using it this year. I would think that the momentum of an extractor would tear foundationless comb all to pieces, so you might as well use crush and strain. if anyone else knows, please let us know!

  5. I have to agree with your decision, although it breaks my heart too to have to exterminate that hive.

    As a beekeeper, I too share your excitement at find eggs and larvae in the hive of a newly collected swarm.

    Good luck to you and the bees!

  6. Glad to hear about the eggs in your swarm hive. I've never tried foundationless frames but know there is a big demand for comb honey. I think I'll learn from your experience and then maybe give it a try.

  7. Mil: Thanks for dropping over! I checked out your blog and you have some great information over there. Stop by anytime!

    Danielle: I have people ask for comb honey all the time. I personally don't like the comb and don't like the taste or texture, but I'm going to add some to my next honey harvest giveaways. I plan to post some pics to see how it goes! So stay tuned!



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