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Author Topic: Newly removed bees want to swarm...but I don't want them to  (Read 1584 times)
TwoHoneys
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« on: June 17, 2011, 02:40:23 PM »

Friends, I removed a hive from a house on Tuesday (3 days ago) and relocated the hive to my yard. I placed a queen excluder (includer) at the entrance of the hive to keep her from leaving. Yesterday and today, the bees swarmed...they filled the air, but they got only about 20 yards from the hive, turned back to the hive, and blanketed it. They hang on the outside of the hive, and after an hour, they all go back in.

On Tuesday, I removed 8 medium frames of comb, and when I got the hive to my yard, I added a box with 8 empty frames beneath the full one. I didn't, however, move any of the brood comb to the bottom box to keep the brood nest open because I didn't want to manipulate them too much in one day. I think this may have been a mistake.

Are they trying to swarm because they feel as if they're out of room, but they can't because I've sequestered the queen?

How long will they keep doing this?

What can I do so they'll stay?

-Liz

Here's the little video I took when I caught them today:

Big Daddy bees want to swarm



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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2011, 02:52:58 PM »

wonder if there was more than one queen in there?  did you notice any queen cells when you removed it?
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TwoHoneys
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2011, 02:56:10 PM »

wonder if there was more than one queen in there?  did you notice any queen cells when you removed it?

I'm pretty sure there were no queen cells, kathyp. It was sort of a small hive, but they HAD outgrown their space in the floor joists. They were packed in there.
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nella
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2011, 03:26:05 PM »

It might be a queenless hive, I would check for a queen.
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TwoHoneys
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2011, 03:57:20 PM »

UPDATE: At 3:00 PM, all those bees on the face of the box formed a big swarm and headed off. I chased them through my yard, through my neighbor's yard, through the next neighbor's yard, and then I lost them.

I returned the the hive they left and looked inside. NOTHING. Only about 15 or 20 bees on the queen excluder (I didn't see the queen there). They left capped brood but no honey. As I was removing the queen excluder, I heard bees. Then thousands of bees started coming home. They covered the box again (this time with the queen excluder removed). Masses of bees returned (but fewer than left, I think). They entered the box as if nothing had happened. Now, everything looks normal and calm again.

Beekeeping is the oddest hobby. It takes fortitude.
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iddee
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2011, 04:00:03 PM »

I would return the excluder and wait until Dusk. Just at dark, I would add another box. It doesn't look like a small swarm to me.
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TwoHoneys
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2011, 04:16:53 PM »

I'll do what you suggest, iddee, but what's the advantage of doing this "just at dark?"
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joebrown
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2011, 06:04:57 PM »

They are less likely to swarm at dusk and opening them could trigger a swarm. If you missed the queen she may join them this time!
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iddee
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2011, 06:24:37 PM »

Ditto
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AllenF
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« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2011, 07:57:35 PM »

I think you brought home some crazy bees.
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TwoHoneys
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2011, 09:55:37 PM »

Okay. At exactly dark, I added a new hive box and put the queen excluder back on. They were all humming away in there.

Thanks, everyone!
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JP
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2011, 11:29:09 AM »

A few observations.

I believe they need more space. You have all those bees and what's inside in a two eight frame medium set up. I would definitely add another box.

It it were me I would have them in a deep and a medium.

I also believe based on the video they are in too much of a shady spot.

I would place them at the edge of the woods for morning and day sun and evening shade.


...JP
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iddee
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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2011, 02:39:22 PM »

While watching the video again, I think there is light going in from the top. That is a definite NO-NO. Use a top that excludes all light from above.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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TwoHoneys
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2011, 07:20:01 PM »

Those crazy bees did NOT swarm today. I watched them like a hawk all afternoon. After adding another box last night, they're still with me. Smiley

Iddee, there isn't light coming in from the top. It's a migratory cover propped up with shims to form a top entrance. Perhaps the queen excluder sticking out makes it look as if the top is shoved back, but I think it's okay.

JP, you're right...all my hives need more sunlight, and I've decided to move them into a sunnier place in the yard. What was a nice mix of shade and sun 3 years ago is almost all shaded now. It's been bugging me, and your comment was just what I needed to make a change. Seems like a big pain to do, but worth it.

-Liz

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TwoHoneys
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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2011, 06:32:30 PM »

UPDATE: This danged crazy cut-out hive absconded again on Wednesday...almost 2 weeks after I removed them from a house and installed them in a Lang hive. I captured them, though, and put them in a top bar hive (in full sun!) with a frame of eggs, larvae, and brood from another top bar hive. They seem very happy. Again. But who knows...

-Liz
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yockey5
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« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2011, 08:52:12 PM »

They have my attention, and I hope you keep updating this post.
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