Late year swarms

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by brooksbeefarm, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I posted this on another fourm and beekeepers in other parts of the US of A are seeing the same thing. I had a hive swarm Aug, 25, 09 at around 1:30 pm, i had taken honey off it 3 weeks prior and put a drawn med. super back on. When i looked into the hive to see why they swarmed it had 2 deep frames of brood and about 12 good long queen cells, about 20# of capped honey and had started putting nectar in the med. super (3 frames uncapped nectar). They were not crowded and we are in a dearth right now before the goldenrod and aster kick in. The next day a lady called and said she had a swarm in her yard ( not my swarm) it was in a tree 6ft. off the ground and volley ball size, i will combine it with a weak hive. Any idea's why so many swarms this late in the year? Jack
     
  2. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Swarming during a darth of nectar is not exactly a survival trait, only 20 lb of sealed honey, and only two deep frames of brood, I am almost inclined to say they absconded but for the queen cells. What kind of fall flow do you normally get and are you actually going to get is, considering the weather? 12 queen cells seems abnormal even for swarming colonies durning a major honey flow let alone durnig a lack of resourcesI personally have never seen more then a half a dozen swarm cells always on the central frames. Doesn't make sense execpt for to the bees.
    Barry
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    We have had a lot of rain the last 2yrs (2008 in my area we had over 6ft of rain for the year) although not that much this year (yet) but were not to far behind. July and Aug. has been wetter than the old timers can remember including me.( i'm 72 yrs. old) The queen that swarmed was one of 4 queens i bought from Purvis Bros. in mid May (no complaint on the queens) i put them on drawn comb and all 4 queens built up fast. The goldenrod is budding out now and the aster will start in 2 to3 weeks and should be a good flow, depends on the weather of course. I'm surprised that you have never seen more than 6 swarm cells in a hive, i've seen as many as 15 in some. I made 2 nuc's, put 2 queen cells in a queenless hive and left the rest in the mother hive from the 12 cells i found. Several people have been seeing late swarms and most seem to think it's the excessive rain? Jack
     
  4. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Nature must have a reason, even if it isn't apparent to us humans. Perhaps the plan is to get a second hive set up and be ready when the fall flow hits. Perhaps it is a way to reduce the population of a hive whose stores could not support them through the winter. Who knows?
     
  5. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I will grant you that, occasionally the bees will do something that seems totally out of character, and in years of extended season where the weather stays hotter then usual, reproductive swarms have happened as late as early August, but I personally have never seen swarming in this late season, without cause, disturbance, something causing them to actually abscound not a reproductive swarm this late. Certianly without extensive feeding and pollen substitute they would not be able to build up enough to collect enough fall nectar to overwinter, assuming there is enough fall flow. As for the numbers of Queen sells, have seen dozens of cell cups not developed queen cells, only a half a dozen or so. Used to live in South Pa, and later in Northern NY, climates vary quite a bit but actual beekeeping season not so dissimiliar. Now in Norhtern Florida everything seasonally is quite different, requiring a bit of adjustment on my part. Back to the fall swarms, I have heard that mite infestations can cause bees to swarm just a thought.
    Barry
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    barry writes:
    20 lb of sealed honey

    tecumseh:
    I would suspect that the operable word here is sealed... in jack's words capped.

    another and unmentioned consideration.... I don't know about missouri jack but at least here even in a relative dearth you can have a lot of pollen coming in and pollen (most especially when you see solid frames of pollen up next to the brood nest) can also act to greatly crowd a brood nest.

    the number of queen cells would suggest this hive had a robust population of young bees. even though the brood nest may appear to the human eye to be relatively uncongested this may have not been so. the swarming urge was likely on this hive about the time jack pulled the honey so the condition then may tell you more than conditions at or about the time of swarming.

    referencing winston (page183) there are two seasonal peaks in swarm generation (not absolutely certain of location from where data was generated) but one peak (large) is centered about june and the other (smaller peak) is centered around the end of august and the first of september. he also suggest that under natural condition neither unit is likely to make the winter.
     
  7. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Studies out of Cornell has shown a fall swarm season that was the result of nectar flow alone. Areas of goldenrod and aster, and in places such as Florida with brazilian peppers, have a swarm season that accounted to about 20% of all swaems. (80% in the late spring, then 20% in the September timeframe.) In the same study, areas that had little fall nectar, had almost no swarming. So nectar probably is a stronger impulse item than most realize.

    A cold spring and wet summer, and perhaps misjudgement on the nectar flow, may be the culprit.

    We all hear over and over about lack of room for a queen will cause swarming. And I'm not saying that may not be true. But nectar flow, age of queen, and just the bees desire to propogate the species is reason enough about anytime.

    EHB will swarm on average, for hives with no beekeeper manipulations and feral colonies, about 2-3 times per season. AHB will swarm up to 18 times per year just based on the desire to propogate, with little reason of seasonal, congestion, or other factors even being in play.
     
  8. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    The hive in question was a very strong hive, i noticed it bearding above the landing board and around the top enterance and took the top cover off and just looked at a few frames in the top med. super and seen they had alot of room ( about a week before the swarm) i thought it probably was the humidity? I got another swarm call this mourning and it was the same size as the one i got 2 days ago ( vollyball size and 7ft. off the ground in a small tree). The high tomorrow will be in mid 70's and monday mourning may match the old record at 48 degree and this is August, Things are getting weird around here. Jack