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Author Topic: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?  (Read 1384 times)

Offline ziflin

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10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« on: April 08, 2011, 12:52:24 AM »
I thought I'd try to find out how often this occurs, because it's about to wear us out.  My wife and I purchased 3 nucs last year, left them all their honey, and tried to take very good care of them.

Now within the last 10 days, the weather hear has bounced around from the 80s to the 30s and we've had 3 swarms.  They have all landed on the same peach tree branch about 20' from the hives and about 2' off the ground.  We've managed to catch all of them with the last occurring today (4/7/11) which was quite a bit larger than the last two.

So my question is: is this common or did we just get "lucky"?  We've been inspecting the hives and removed a bit of brace comb that was spanning the two hive bodies in all 3 original hives.  These were largely filled with near-hatching drones.  We looked for queen cells, but never found any, so they may have been on the very bottom hive body.  I'm starting to think our peach tree is just producing bees instead of peaches...

The old and new hives seem to be doing well so far, though I'm not 100% sure both have queens.  We did see the queen on the second hive crawling on the bottom of the inner cover just before we put the lid on the day we captured the swarm.  Is it common for queenless swarms to return to their original hives?  Or should I try to find her?

Thanks for any help or suggestions!  Our main nectar flow hasn't even started yet, but if I come home to another blob of bees I'm just going to start selling bees instead. :P


Mod update: Adding link om request: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ziflin/5599684992/#in/set-72157623442988730
« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 04:40:23 AM by eivindm »

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2011, 03:33:43 AM »
Hives give off a lot of pheromones.  Those linger on the branches.  The next swarm smells them and goes there.  Pretty typical.
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Offline Pink Cow

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2011, 04:58:47 PM »
Just about a month ago I got two calls five days apart and collected swarms from the same branch of a small shrub. I've heard of people with feral hives that have swarms land in the same place, or nearly so, year after year.

Online deknow

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2011, 05:35:36 PM »
....we saw a swarm issuing from a friends hive on a farm.  the cluster landed on a tree branch that was on the ground in the yard.  it was on the ground because the year before, a swarm had landed on it too high up to retrieve, and they cut the branch down.

obviously there is some pheromones, and perhaps some wax, but i don't know of anyone that has produced this kind of "landing zone" artificially.

deknow

Offline Jim 134

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2011, 05:37:53 PM »
  I've heard of people with feral hives that have swarms land in the same place, or nearly so, year after year.


Yes this is common just my $0.02



  
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« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 05:36:25 AM by Jim 134 »
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Offline Vibe

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2011, 08:22:41 PM »
Year before last my FIL had 8 swarms land in his small yard. 3 of those landed in the same tree. The swarms that we think came from his 3 hives landed in other places. It was a busy May.
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Offline skatesailor

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2011, 08:47:46 PM »
I've had the same situation on a plum tree for several years. I make a point of checking it regularly for more swarms. I got a kick out of your picture. I'm still pruning my bare peach trees as we had a late start due to the lingering snow.

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2011, 12:14:44 AM »
...better 2' up and 20' away than 20' up and 2' away!

deknow

Offline Bighead

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2011, 07:58:42 AM »
I had the same thing happen to me, i thought it was the same swarm I had put in a hive 2 days earlier. Glad to see this post
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Offline ziflin

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2011, 10:16:03 AM »
Thanks for the replies!

We looked at the new hives yesterday.  In the first (new) swarmed hive (from 10-11 days ago), we were unable to find a queen.  Can someone give me some guidelines on what to do with this hive?  We did give that have 2 drawn frames, so I was hoping to see some eggs, but maybe it's too soon?  If we don't find the queen tomorrow, should I do the newspaper combining thing to the second (new) swarm that we *did* spot a queen in yesterday? 

And we finally found some (7-8) of the old queen cells in the upper deep on a bunch of honey frames.  So I at least know 1 of the original hives that swarmed.

Thanks again for the help!

Offline tandemrx

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2011, 11:31:29 AM »
deknow,

regarding producing this kind of "landing zone" artificially, Chip Taylor (entomologist from University of Kansas and Nasanov lure producer through Monarch Watch program) specifically has directions in his instruction and uses sheet for his Nasonov pheromone lure to "induce swarms to land at pre-selected sites".  So I am sure this is actually done.

It seems like I always end up cutting off the branch that they are resting on to carry them to a hive, so I guess I never really see this.  In part I cut it off because I know that a bunch of late comers and bees I have missed will end up on that same limb for the rest of the day that a swarm occurs and I get tired of monitoring that to make sure I didn't miss the queen.

....we saw a swarm issuing from a friends hive on a farm.  the cluster landed on a tree branch that was on the ground in the yard.  it was on the ground because the year before, a swarm had landed on it too high up to retrieve, and they cut the branch down.

obviously there is some pheromones, and perhaps some wax, but i don't know of anyone that has produced this kind of "landing zone" artificially.

deknow

Offline skatesailor

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Re: 10 Days, 3 Different Swarms, Same Tree Branch. Normal?
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2011, 07:56:10 PM »
Thanks for the replies!

We looked at the new hives yesterday.  In the first (new) swarmed hive (from 10-11 days ago), we were unable to find a queen.  Can someone give me some guidelines on what to do with this hive?  We did give that have 2 drawn frames, so I was hoping to see some eggs, but maybe it's too soon?  If we don't find the queen tomorrow, should I do the newspaper combining thing to the second (new) swarm that we *did* spot a queen in yesterday? 


I would give them a frame of eggs from another hive and see if they make queen cells. They will decide what to do. Be patient.