I am a first year beekeeper in Central, MA with 1 hive in my backyard. I hived a package on 4/13/09 to a new hive with plastic foundation. So far they have been doing wonderfully, building up the frames as expected. A couple of weeks ago I added a honey super to give them more room. Regular inspections showed nothing amiss, no swarm cells, etc.

Then Thursday morning my son comes running to tell me the backyard is full of bees! It was, because my hive was swarming. I documented it on my bee blog:


I was worried because it looked like a lot of bees had left. Well, today I got a chance to inspect the hive. There still seemed to be quite a few bees left. I found no queen, but a lot of queen swarm cells (see http://stevensbees.blogspot.com/2009...n-6-27-09.html )
So the swarm occured before they had a new queen available.

The only thing I can think of regarding swarming was that we have had a spate of rain over the last 3 weeks, and the bees couldn't get out and forrage like they want to. Maybe they felt cramped and crowded and decided to swarm. I have a screened bottom board and the weather hasn't been hot, so I don't think heat was a factor (I've never seen them beard on the outside of the hive).

What's done is done, but it makes me sad all the same. Does anyone have any suggestions or comments for me?

Thanks - Steven