WOW - a nice 5 pounder or more! (remember your packages are "3 pounds")...there were way more bees than that in this swarm.
and they're CORDOVANS (blonde/light colored bees)...some of them are so light - their legs are this translucent red/orange (strawberry blonde?)...it's "strange" (your first thought is...what's wrong with them?)
one of the girls got me as soon as i shook them into the box - which leads me to believe that this swarm was hanging for awhile. i think they get CRANKIER the longer they hang. did the unceremonious SHAKE into the cardboard box technique.
when i got them home, i put them on top of a hive that i KNOW is queenless. so here's the configuration... queenless hive on the bottom (i got them down to one box - due to them being queenless...and population loss - i could rearrange frames to do that - frames with some bees left are left outside the hive yet...they'll migrate) (i suppose you could use a CLEARING CHEMICAL (bee quick) - like what you use to clear supers to get them down in the box if you had to). put a SINGLE layer of newspaper on top of the bottom box. put a queen excluder in. put the empty box on top - add your swarm (like installing a package) it will take them some time to chew out the newspaper and MELD the hive smells...meanwhile protecting your queen behind the excluder. in 10 days or so...i'll check the top (swarm) box and see if there are any signs of queen. when i think everyone will be "so happy together"...remove the excluder.
a short ditty on queenless hives. i have ANOTHER queenless hive in the bunch. and i could tell when i popped the inside cover....how? population - lack there of. i said...IS ANYONE HOME??? then i lifted the top box. YUP - QUEENLESS. how could i tell? THE WEIGHT. the buggers are storing HONEY in perfectly good LAYING CELLS. why? - i suppose they're doing something rather than nothing - they'll continue to STORE pollen and honey...and into cells that would normally be brood. the box should not be that ladened with honey this time of year! so to cut to the chase - i went STRAIGHT into the brood area and pulled a frame, then another. NOTHING going on there.....lots of nectar and pollen.... (if i don't catch another swarm for this hive...i'm thinking of combining them with another hive - what i don't like about this hive is the number of DRONE - laying worker? i'll have to inspect closer)
so - back to the swarm hive. what might happen if the swarm is queen-right....with the excluder between these two boxes - i might end up with my brood chamber in the top box...and the storage in the bottom box (cause - STORAGE is what queenless hives do). so - again in 10 days or so...if things look good - i might switch the hive bodies. (hindsite being 20/20 - i suppose i could install the swarm into a blank bottom box and put the weaker/queenless hive on top. configuration paper/excluder remains - no need for a switch later)
i'm happy so far with the swarms i've combined. i've got 2 swarm hives with supers on them already. as i don't much expect anything from "first year hives" - they're beyond my expectations.
i've said it before - but i think i'll mention it again. one thing i've learned from last year's swarm season is...HAVE ENOUGH EQUIPMENT ON HAND FOR NEXT YEAR'S SWARM SEASON!