My first capture worked. Three weeks after we captured the swarm, they were still going strong and I even saw the queen in there once.
Our set up for the bees is a grow-as-you-go venture, and we really were not ready to start another colony especially as we’ve already started two new hives this year. There just wasn’t a lot of room in the budget, yet I was worried because the hive that swarmed had been quite strong in the beginning of spring.
Here’s how the whole thing played out. Remember, each of my painted hives (Yellow, then Green, then Blue) swarmed this year. Yellow was the first to swarm.
I kept checking on my hives, and saw that Blue and Green were able to raise themselves a new queen, but for some reason Yellow was having no luck, and I was getting really worried, six weeks later, that they still were not queen right. So I decided to try yet another technique that is new to me but common amongst bee keepers.
I merged the two hives.
First I took a sheet of newspaper and put it down on top of the box where all the bee frames were. Then I put another box on top of that, and added the frames from my swarm into that box along with empty frames. Finally I shook the remaining bees into the box, slapped on the lid and walked away.
The thought is that the bees without a queen will smell the new queen, but since bees only like gradual changes (or so it seems), you have to put the newspaper in between the two boxes or the bees are likely to seek out the queen and rip her to shreds.
I went back a week later to check on everyone. Yellow is queen-right; there’s a ton of baby bee larvae inside and it looks like I might have a population explosion on my hands very soon.
Life is good.