Lots of small swarms?

Discussion in 'Swarms, Cut outs, and Trap outs' started by Tyro, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    Ok - so for the last two days, I have picked up three small swarms from the honey locust bushes around my beeyard. I have about 12 hives and 6 nucs in the yard. I am nearly certain that they came from my hives - although a superficial check of my biggest hives indicates that they didn't swarm (will be doing full inspections this weekend).

    All of the swarms are small - maybe softball to 2x softball size. The biggest one covered almost 4 frames. I caught them all and put them in nucs.

    Has anyone else had this experience or know what is happening? I mark my queens, so when they establish themselves, I will be able to see if they are parent queens from my hives. Otherwise, I am not sure what is going on with them.

    Also interesting - the swarms all happened right before major storms were moving through our area. I read somewhere, many years ago, that swarming activity increases in front of storms. If my recollection is correct - the last two days certainly support that idea.

    Mike
     
  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You haven't lost a large swarm that these might be follow ups to?
     

  3. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    I thought about that and went through my biggest hives today. I did find two interesting things:

    1. I keep overwinter nucs and then sell them in the spring. I sell 5-frames (3-4 frames of brood + queen and a frame of honey). Usually, there are at least 1 or 2 frames of eggs extra (they are 5-over5 nucs). I leave these, sometimes they pull a queen and I let them start over again. I boxed up the nuc WITH the marked queen on 1 April. I caught the swarms on the 4th and 5th. I checked the nuc and it already had an unmarked queen - so I suspect that at least one of the swarms came from that nuc. When I pulled the marked queen and most of the brood for the nuc, there were no swarm cells on the brood frames I pulled and I didn't notice any on the frames left behind. Perhaps there were a couple of recently hatched virgins in there (?). When I removed the queen who would normally swarm, the urge to swarm didn't disappear and one of the new queens swarmed with a small number of bees (? just guessing) (Note: I checked today and all three swarms have unmarked queens).

    2. One of my bigger hives probably produced at least one of the swarms. I mark my queens and in one good hive I found a really fat unmarked queen. So I think it swarmed. I marked her. I run double deeps and when I went into the bottom deep, lo and behold, I found another unmarked queen. She *might* be the original queen - she was pretty sluggish and not as active as the first one. I pulled her out on a frame of brood and dropped her in a 3-frame nuc that I have. I will see what she does.

    that is all the info presently. Would be interested in hearing if anyone has had similar experiences or insights.
    Mike
     
  4. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I've had a removal that had swarmed before I removed, swarm again after in a hive, and again about 3 weeks later. did the same thing in the fall too. Because the bees were feral I don't know what strain but they were pretty consistent about it. Lost them in 2012 during the EFB outbreak, they robbed the sick hive. Bees I have now don't do the re-swarm thing.
     
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't edit my own post. lost in 2013 I need to know how to operate this software.
     
  6. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't edit my own post. lost in 2013 I need to know how to operate this software.