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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Of all the things to happen...

I went out to check my Flower hive, the one I caught and placed straight into a 10 frame deep on Sept.21st. The one I put a super on two weeks ago (4 weeks from first setting it up) because it was chuck full o'bees. The one that apparently SWARMED toward the end of last week (week 5). My daughter and I thought the bees were just taking advantage of a break in the rain (as it had been for several days straight) for a little while and many were out climbing about for a quick flight. There are still "lots" of bees in the hive, but not nearly as many. As Iddee taught me, approximately 6 of the 11 spaces were filled. I didn't pull any frames except the outside one and it was very heavy with honey. So I guess they're okay food-wise. I left the super on, but it was pretty much being ignored.

Did the bees swarm as soon as the new queen was born? How long before the new queen mates and starts laying eggs?

Next, silly question but with a little info...before I brought bees to my neighborhood, we saw almost NO bees at all. It's something my neighbor and I discussed because our gardens weren't being fertilized over the last couple years. (Melons and cukes were complete washouts, tomatoes and peppers were sparse.) What was fertilized looked to be from various wasps. What is the likelihood that the drones from my other hive are almost the only ones around? How far will the queen fly for mating?

I so wasn't ready for this. :(
 

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The new queen should be laying in two weeks.
You might want to pull the unused super off until they need it again. It would be a shame to lose the hive to small hive beetles.
Queens mate at about 1000 feet in drone congregation areas. DCAs are 2 to 8 miles from the hive, natures way of preventing inbreeding and genetic depression. You are not alone (from bees) in Florida.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Drat, but thanks, AB. I think I should probably see if I can still get replacement queens from a breeder. Otherwise, I'm going to go through the stress of wondering about temperament again for the next 2 months. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh, another question along these lines. What happens when the hive decides to swarm, but the old queen is clipped and can't fly? (Assuming I don't realize it's going to happen until it's happening, so no preemptive splits.)
 

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The hive will swarm but when they realize the queen is not with them (clipped) they will return. The next thing that will probably happen is new queens will start to emerge and that will create another set of scenarios ie: secondary/afterswarms with virgin queens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So they will still swarm, but take the new queen(s) and leave the old? I like this scenario better than "they will kill the old queen" one I worried about. Still, what is to prevent them from swarming continuously with every new queen born if there isn't a new queen offing the ones that haven't emerged yet? Confusing... :confused:
 

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It is a better thought - "they will kill the old queen" but life is cruel. A clipped queen is damaged in the bees eyes and will be killed. Injuries from squeeezing her too hard, damaged foreleg, paint covering the eyes or spiracles are all the death sentence!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm beginning to wonder if the scifi writers of old (Clark, Heinlein, Asimov) were all beekeepers. The concept of "hive consciousness" is becoming more real to me by the day. :shock:
 

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Honeybees are truely remarkable creatures, and there is more then enough evidence to indicate that the "swarming impulse "', isn't as much a impluse as one would think, with substancial numbers of bees starting to load up on honey ( one calls them loafers and they add to colony congestion as they stay inside waiting for the old queen to depart.) as much as a month in advance of the issuance of the primary swarm
 

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skyhigh writes;
What happens when the hive decides to swarm, but the old queen is clipped and can't fly?

tecumseh:
a clipped queen swarming is an odd thing to watch. the queen cannot fly in a straight line so she flies in a soft arc and typically plows into the ground 30 feet or so from the hive entrance. sometimes she will return to the hive and sometimes she will fly in short hops (interrupted by long pauses) from spot to spot. quite often you will find swarms headed by a clipped queen hanging for days from a branch or limb. a swarm headed by a clipped queen or one with damaged wings is not going to fly too far away from it's original location.
 

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bhrandy tags themselves as from either from Louisiana or California... or perhaps both?

bhrandy writes:
I didn't know they will be that cruel

tecumseh:
it ain't cruel it is a collective survival instinct. instinct are never cruel... cruelty requires thought.

and yes Clarke, Asimov and Heinlein could teach someone a great deal about honeybees. when I read the three authors I had been keeping bee already so the analogy was not so odd to me.
 

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Americasbeekeeper said:
Queens mate at about 1000 feet in drone congregation areas.
That seems kinda high to me. Maybe you hit the 0 once too many times? I was under thew impression that DCAs occured more like 45 or 50 feet above the ground.

In The Encyclopedia of Beekeeping, under "Drone congregation area" looking for DCAs is described. It is suggested that one use a helium filled balloon w/ queen scent suspended 6 or 8 feety below the balloon and the balloon raised to 20 or 30 feet high. So, at least in looking for them, somewhere around 20 feet is the limit. Maybe anything higher is too hard to see.

AB, do you have more info? A source study maybe? Thanks. Just curious about DCAs.
 
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