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  1. #1
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    Mar 2010
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    Richmond, Virginia, USA
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    Default Tell Tale Bee Swarm Activity

    I watched a video on traditional bee keeping (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7M1X...feature=colike) and the German catch their swarms right at the entrance to the hive. The narrator said that the bee keepers recognized the swarm as it was preparing to leave the hive. They slap a net over the hive and catch the swarm as it exits the hive.

    What do bees preparing to swarm act/look like? How do you recognize the pre-swarm behavior?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
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    Default Re: Tell Tale Bee Swarm Activity

    Interesting video. Thanks for posting it!

    I really like that smoker hanging around the beekeeper's neck...I am going to make me one.

    It seems these guys know when and what to look for. Sitting and watching the hives, all the bees coming and going in specific ways is one thing, but it's clear that they also check for the status of the swarm cells at the bottom of the skeps, and know when to really "wait" for it. Doing this for two or three weeks during their swarm season...watching the hives from sun up to sun down. Wow...

    I did see/observe/ and was fascinated by quite a few swarms in my life...However, if I was to put it in words, it would do no justice to others that have been at it...with a much better observation skill and much longer than I could ever be.

    I am currently re-reading "The Buzz about Bees"...The image taken with an infrared camera of the swarm before erupting out of the hive is really interesting. Here is a nice explanation on swarm behavior from this wonderful book:

    " After the discovery of a hollow, the aspects that will determine its attractiveness are judged by scout bees flying slowly around the site, and intensely investigating the interior. The distances that the bees cover in their examination of the inner walls can amount to 50 m or more....A relatively small and slowly growing group of bees are recruited to the new site by the bee that discovered it, and knows its location. In favorable cases this can be perhaps 5% of the entire swarm. these bees fly back and forth between the nest hollow and the swarm...
    Because the dance floor of the bee bodies transmit no vibration, and so attracts only a few followers, an extreme numerical balance between the few dancers and the many addressees results. It is practically certain that most of the bees, particularly in the center have no idea about the dances occurring on the surface...
    Gradually, all the dancers stop dancing, and force their way into the center of the swarm. There, they battle their way along complex three-dimensional paths through the mass of bodies, "beeping" at as many of their sisters as possible. This high pitched tone is produced by their flight muscles, and is transmitted as a vibration to all they come in contact with. Each "beeped" bee then begins to raise her body temperature. Within 10 minutes, the entire swarm begins to gradually "glow". ( Fig 7.34- Shows an infrared-thermographic capture of the swarm cluster taken at 15 minutes and then again at 1 minute before the swarm erupts out of the hive...It literally glows )...Once the whole swarm has reached 35 C, it literally explodes as all the bees take off into the air at the same time. A large, buzzing cloud appears, several meters in diameter, and consisting of slowly circling bees, with direction-indicating bees flying rapidly through it. These individuals, that know the location of the goal and will guide the swarm, shoot rapidly back and forth in a straight line through the cloud, the axis of which links the departure point with the new accommodation. The buzzing sphere of bees gradually changes its shape into that of a thick cigar, and sets off in the direction of the goal, led by the buzzing possessors of the new address".

    If you watch the video you posted...or any other videos out there showing swarming in progress...or even better, watch a few swarms as they happen...with the intent of observing what bees do at that time, one can see and eventually learn the tell tale signs. What one does with it from there on, it's a whole different story. I really like how they use the nets in the video you posted.

    I have observed older folks in Eastern Europe when they were still using skeps, watching the swarms coming out and just "hope" they'll get o a branch...or a tree, some making all kinds of noises, some throwing sand up in the air...all kinds of stuff.
    Richard Taylor...was even catching the queen at the moment of the primary swarm erupting, taking control of the swarm that way.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Athens, greece
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    Default Re: Tell Tale Bee Swarm Activity

    Do not forget, you see <<german bees>> on the video. They follow the time schedule, exactly.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2012
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    Liberty, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: Tell Tale Bee Swarm Activity

    Quote Originally Posted by DRAKOS View Post
    Do not forget, you see <<german bees>> on the video. They follow the time schedule, exactly.
    What schedule are you talking about?
    Jason Bruns
    LetMBee.com YouTube

  5. #5
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    Oct 2011
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    Athens, greece
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    Default Re: Tell Tale Bee Swarm Activity

    The swarming schedule

  6. #6
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    Dec 2011
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    Victoria, Australia
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    Default Re: Tell Tale Bee Swarm Activity

    Here's a YouTube video showing the start of two swarms at once. There are also several other videos of swarms from these hives. Published by: dritimwilliams

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=txljXqpi6Aw

    Matthew Davey

  7. #7
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    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    1,076

    Default Re: Tell Tale Bee Swarm Activity

    Ha ha, Drakos.

    Zonker - wow! So cool! Uh, lessee...Black pants, black hats, no veils...THESE are the bees that don't read Beesource! Fascinating. Thanks for sharing. Did you catch the bit at the end - how the feed "in the old days" used to contain a bit of "spirits"?! Drunk bees! Whoda thunk!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Liberty, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: Tell Tale Bee Swarm Activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
    Ha ha, Drakos.

    Zonker - wow! So cool! Uh, lessee...Black pants, black hats, no veils...THESE are the bees that don't read Beesource!
    This just makes me question everything I hear, and read from so called "experts".
    Jason Bruns
    LetMBee.com YouTube

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
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    227

    Default Re: Tell Tale Bee Swarm Activity

    MattDavey, thats perfect. I'm pretty sure I can detect the swarming activity when I see it. Now I'm worried about my neighbors detecting it too. I also like the contrast between British swarming (big cloud of ciaos) and the German swarming (neat white bags of bees hanging in evenly spaced rows) .

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Tell Tale Bee Swarm Activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
    lessee...Black pants, black hats, no veils...THESE are the bees that don't read Beesource!
    Of corse they didn't read Beesource, there was no internet back then.
    Our Bees now are very informed

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