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Author Topic: Why Swarm??  (Read 281 times)
chux
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Location: Eastern NC


« on: July 05, 2013, 07:45:30 AM »

I did a cut out on Tuesday. The colony was a secondary swarm from this year. The comb was a bit soft, but I was able to get three frames of brood comb into a deep. There were probably about 3 pounds of bees. When I put them in the hive, I smelled the lemon scent of the queen. Never saw her. I brought them home that evening and put them in the yard. I put stacked two wooden pallets and put the hive on top. The next day, there were at least 20 or 30 bees walking around in the grass in front of the hive. Not all right at the entrance. Spread over a space up to ten feet from the entrance. Drones and workers. Went to look yesterday after lunch, and still bees in the grass. Also lots of bees "washboarding." (Running up the front of the hive box) Lots of bees hanging on the entrance. Then they started flying. Up in the air, bees everywhere. They swarmed. I was on the way to an Independence Day gathering, and had to leave. Figured I'd come back and they'd be gone. But no. I got home about 1 hour before dark and went to look. There was a ball of bees hanging on the underside of the top pallet, below the hive. Inside the hive, there were at least a few hundred bees on the brood comb. I gently scooped the bees below the pallet into my hand and placed them on top of the frames. Took several attempts to get nearly all of them.

So...What happened? When I did the cut out, I noticed no queen cells. In the hive now, there is capped brood, but there are no queen cells. I think the queen tried to swarm anyway, but just couldn't make it off the ground too far. She crawled back to the hive and got as far as under the edge of the pallet, then stopped for a rest. The bees came back to her when she fell. Is that likely? Will she probably try again?
 

   
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chux
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Location: Eastern NC


« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2013, 07:52:56 AM »

****Correction to above: They were not "washboarding." They were running up the front of the hive, then gently dropping back to the entrance.
 
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beehappy1950
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2013, 07:57:14 AM »

I believe you are over thinking this thing. We dont know what happened because we are not bees. Ha. rolleyes
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jeepjivenwale
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2013, 12:28:49 PM »

A lot of times the Queen doesn't want to leave with the swarm...they will try to force her out of the hive...If she doesn't or can't leave with the other bees they will come back but eventually leave again with a virgin queen if I understand it correctly.
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JP
The Swarm King
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Location: Metairie, Louisiana

I like doing cut-outs, but I love catching swarms!


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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 12:55:43 AM »

There are factors that contributed to them wanting to leave the set up. We can only take a guess at what they were.

Perhaps there was too much honey on the bottom board, they don't particularly like that or they just didn't feel comfortable in the set up for reasons you'll never know.

I know sometimes it is difficult to find the queen on a cut out but finding and caging her for a few days or so in the set up while the bees are establishing their new foundation is a big help in anchoring them. If you know she is in there you can also use a queen excluder as an includer for a few days or so.


...JP

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