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Author Topic: strange swarm behavior  (Read 892 times)

Offline ConfedMarine

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strange swarm behavior
« on: June 04, 2008, 09:02:47 AM »
I have a hive I can not figure out. Last week it swarmed. They started out as a normal swarm (a cloud of bees in the air) but ended up in two separate clusters. One cluster was under the hive on a 2x4. I have my hives on an elevated “bee bench”. The other cluster was 6 inches from the entrance of the hive on my garden fence. Within an hour or two both clusters had gone back into the hive. I did a hive inspection and found 5 sealed swarm cells. The hive is rocking and rolling with bees and brood so I could not find the marked queen. Monday, 6/2, they swarmed again. This time they (about 5lbs of bees) clustered on a crab apple branch about 25’ from the hive. A picture perfect swarm cluster. Within 50 minutes all but 15-20 bees went back into the hive. The 15-20 bees formed a “cluster” around the old queen, 6 inches from the hive entrance. I inspected the hive and found a swarm cell that a queen had emerged from but the other four cells had not been chewed into and the queens killed. I put the “old” queen in a queen cage with three nurse bees and put her in a hive that I have been working on to queen. Any thoughts?
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Offline Scadsobees

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Re: strange swarm behavior
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2008, 09:48:39 AM »
I've seen some weird swarm/return behaviour this year as well.  I just assumed that the queen got lost in the process.  They will leave with the next virgin queen.

One thought is that if you've got a few extra queen cells is to requeen your other hive with one of those(or the virgin queen that's about to get out).  That way you can get a young pheremone-pumping queen instead of an older 2yr old queen (as of next spring).
Rick

Offline dpence

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Re: strange swarm behavior
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2008, 10:24:07 AM »
I had a similar situation, where they swarmed and then returned to the original hive.  I ended up spliting the hive three ways with brood and queen cells.  The splits are doing well.  Here it seems to rain every two days for the last month, so managing hives and swarms has been interesting.

David

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: strange swarm behavior
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2008, 10:35:40 PM »
Swarms are chaotic.  There are often more than one queen in a swarm.  Also, one swarm from one hive often seems to set off swarming in the one next door.  Clusters that are close often shrink while the one next to it grows.  I don't think they are clear which swarm they belong to and which queen is their queen.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline ConfedMarine

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Re: strange swarm behavior
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2008, 08:08:16 AM »
Thanks for ya'lls thoughts and input.
It is not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.