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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1 yr old 8 frame 'garden hive' started from package bees and it now has 5 hive bodies on it. Is in a residential area. The last two hive bodies were added about 6 wk ago with the top queen excluded for honey. I check them everyday. They are a really active hive with a buckfast queen.

Today at sunset I notice about big ball o' bees about soccer ball net size on the bottom of the hive beneath the screen bottom board. The hive is suspended between cinder blocks. I have a bait hive not too far away but don't want to lose them if this is a swarm and doesn't take to the bait hive. (No reason to assume they will, I guess).

I have a cardboard nuc box for just such an occasion if this swarm is big enough to take and has a queen inside.

So . . . I may need an answer tonight if they are going to depart tomorrow. Should I scoop them tonight??

Thanks for reading.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update, there are more bees than I realized. They are in the ball in the pic plus spread a couple inches thick on the bottom of the bottom screen. I am wondering if they are more than will fit into the nuc box, which is, I think, 4 short frames.

Update - Well we scooped them into a nuc. Maybe got half of them. This is where a bee vac would have been great. They were in a tight area. Got the main ball into the nuc. I put the nuc on the ground next to the hive to leave there overnight. I guess they can leave if the queen is not there or maybe some others will join the nuc, but it has got to be confusing for them with the hive and nuc adjacent. Will check in the morning. Meanwhile I'll take any advice.

Another note. Saw lots of drones hanging out on the beehive front board in the last week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oops bad idea. Around midnight there was a bee highway along the ground back to the hive and the box was mostly empty. Today there are only some damaged bees at the bottom of the nuc hive. Looks like I did nothing but annoy about 10,000 bees in the middle of the night.
 

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Watch them today. If all stay in the box, it was likely just too warm for themto stay inside. "bearding". If they continue to hang underneath, I would put on gloves and place them into the nuc by the handful, looking for the queen as you go. Get all the bees from underneath, even if you have to move the hive a few feet. Then if they go back, you know it is bearding. If they stay in the nuc, or fly away, you know it is a swarm. If you find the queen, it is a swarm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well this is the warmest day we have had in a bit (80's and humid) but not as bad as it will get later in the year.

Today there is still a big layer on the bottom, but no ball. Maybe I need more ventilation. I have 5 hive boxes. There is a screen bottom, standard hive bottom entrance recently moved to the big (about 4") entrance size plus the 1 cm wide in the top cover on the edge that can be exposed by moving the telescoping lid away from that hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Considering that the entire bottom of the hive is screen and is open to air, suspended on the corners with cinder blocks, doesn't seem like it would make much difference to remove the entrance reducer in terms of change in total open area at the bottom of the hive, but I can try. The bees are there on the outside bottom again tonight but not balled up. Seems like they are actually reducing airflow by blocking the screen on the bottom.
 
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