I had a very exciting morning today.
I went out to one of my beeyards in order to create nucs when I noticed that there seemed to be alot of bees that weren't going anywhere and I noticed the cloud of bees get darker and when I got over to my one hive, the bees were pouring out like someone turned on a faucet of dark water.....
Since I had an entrance reducer. I jammed a piece of cloth into the entrance and the pressure of the bees trying to get to the outside, pushed my entrance reducer up and the bees came pouring out underneath the entrance reducer -- So I jammed the entrance reducer back into the hive and probably crushed quite a few bees. But I think I saved thousands in the process.
Believe it, then I saw a cloud of bees coalescing on a small tree and I took a nuc over there and smacked them down into the nuc box. I know that this sounds crazy, but I did smell a different smell around the swarm bees. You know that when you go into the hives, the bees will sometimes put their butts into the air and release a strong banana smell that they are under attack. This smell was different.
Then the bees flying above my hive started descending and coming back to the entrance way and within 10 minutes, the whole event had completed.
I then started pulling full supers off expecting to see the bees come pouring out and they didn't, but they were in a roar. So, I pulled out the cloth out of the entrance reducer and some bees went back in, but most seemed to rest on the outside not quite sure what to do.
My thoughts are that when the bees are pouring out, the queen has already left and you can stop the bees from exiting in the midst of the swarm activity.
Once they have stopped the exiting, then you can take action to save major quantities of your worker bees.
Using the swarm cells, I then created two strong nucs.
Overall, it was exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. One for the beek.