Swarm is swarming? maybe not?

Discussion in 'Swarms, Cut outs, and Trap outs' started by me2pl, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. me2pl

    me2pl New Member

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    first off, it's been a while since i was on this forum, but in my curiosity i had nowhere else i could go.
    so two weeks ago my father and i went to remove a swarm of bees from a friend's sister's house. all we knew is that they lived near Lower Chico Park . . . we had no idea how freakin' huge this swarm was. this thing was 3x as big as all the other swarms either of us had seen before. we removed them from the tree and took them home. we had been keeping them in a single brooder and super, and it usually has a beard in the front that changes during the day.

    just a half-hour ago they started FREAKING OUT. it happened suddenly, but the bees started pouring out the entrance like a waterfall! several thousand bees left the hive in a minute and were shooting in a 10 yard cloud over the fence to our neighbor's yard (he had no idea we had bees apparently, and was the target of a bad hornet attack when he was a kid. he is very angry). we assumed they were swarming, so we watched to keep track of where they went. turns out they turned tail and flew right back into the hive!

    we were planning on opening the hive earlier, and figured that our friends who were going to come see us open the hives(same friends btw. they're going to start keeping as well) were not worth waiting for. we opened the hive and discovered that their super was not only combed out, but full of honey! we promptly added a spare super to it, and i came inside and typed this up.

    so here's the million-dollar question: what on earth were they doing in our neighbor's yard? :???:
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    They are in swarm mode and this was sort of a practice run.....the queen did not come out with them so they returned. They are going to swarm so keep your eye on then so you can follow. You could do a split of them but would need to find the old queen and that will not guarantee they still will not swarm with a virgin (after swarm). You are to late on adding more room to them to keep them from swarming.
     

  3. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Sounds like a good prime swarm. You could try putting an excluder between the floor and the bottom box, or a strip of old excluder across the entrance. The excluder should be removed after a few days.

    If the swarm stays, then I might think about doing some manipulation to split it into two. After a few days, my plan would be --- 1. Prepare a hive stand a few yards away. 2. Prepare another brood box with frames of foundation and one frame of empty drawn comb. 3. Go into one of my other hives and mark a frame containing eggs. 4. Move the swarm hive to the new stand. 5. Place the brood of foundation on the old swarm stand and swop the frame of drawn comb with the shaken comb of eggs. 6. If the flow has stopped or the weather turns bad, the hive on the old swarm stand may need feeding.

    If things go to plan, the swarm foragers will return to old swarm stand and raise a new queen from the frame of eggs. The swarm colony will have lost the foragers which would make it easier to find the queen if needed,

    Thinking about you.
     
  4. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Me2pl says: "we removed them from the tree and took them home."
    Ef, thinking aloud says:From your description I'm not sure if you collected a swarm or rather a full-fledged family, hived to overflowing in a tree. Maybe they were getting ready to swarm and you beat them to the punch.
    When you opened the hive did you find brood or just honey? Did you see their queen? Too many questions without answewrs for me to give a "reliable assessment", but as my imagination runs wild, I think of this possible scenario---which could be totally off mark.
    You caught the "swarm" before it swarmed, with the queen, and hived it.
    The swarm set up home in the hive you provided and didn't have any brood to feed so it was super efficient in drawing combs and collecting nectar>honey. But the swarming instinct hadn't been satisfied and they were crowded so they went out for a trip. Since there weren't any ripe replacement queen cells in the hive, the queen didn't leave with the swarm (G3's suggestion) so they came back.
    I repeat, I could be totally off mark.
    My suggestion: Now that you have added space and they have (hopefully) satisfied their swarming urge, check the brood box for the presence of any queen cells. If you find any, follow G3's advice and make a split. If you don't find any but do find eggs or brood, expect them to stay and produce a bumper crop for the season. Make sure to keep them happy with room to expand and frames to draw. Toward fall, replace the queen so that you go into winter and next year with a young queen, not likely to swarm.
    Now that I have babbled along with my imagination, please fill us in on the details of what develops.
    :wink:
     
  5. me2pl

    me2pl New Member

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    oh
    well we took it off a tree, not out of it. the swarm had exited the park and lighted on a friend's tree so we removed it. we have not opened the brooder yet, as we were planning on doing so that afternoon, but figured that we should leave them be for a day after their little trip
     
  6. me2pl

    me2pl New Member

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    well, we now face the issue of 30 mph winds blowing straight into the hive. we do not wish to open the hive in such weather, but i'm hoping that they won't try and swarm until it subsides
     
  7. me2pl

    me2pl New Member

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    ok, the winds have died down and we're about ready to split it. if you have any last-minute tips, now is the time