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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,994

    Default Cluster under hive???

    Ok, it was dark when I came in last night so I didn't check on the bees. We had some rain yesterday afternoon and more last night/this morning. I walked down to the bees this morning (had rained just a short while prior) and found this cluster hanging under my strongest hive. Cantalope size. I kind of figure they may have been there since yesterday afternoon....weather hasn't been really flying weather this morning but might be clearing up some now. Saturday will be two weeks since I did an inspection in this hive. It had a super on top that was just getting a good bit of whitening on the foundation...the super below that was about 80-90 percent drawn and a good bit of filling going on. Crowded? I'll bring a super home this evening and check it out. This is the first time I've experienced this. Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Ed


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ankeny, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    591

    Default Re: Cluster under hive???

    I had the same thing happen with a new package that I installed on Saturday. Sunday morning it was super windy and the bees were all clustered on the back side of the hive. I brushed them into a 5 gallon pail and put them back in the hive......they hustled right out and again clustered on the back side of the hive. I brushed them into a pail again, blocked the entrance and put them back in the hive. I am 90 miles from the hive, but had a friend remove the entrance blocker this morning. Hopefully they will now be happy with the hive and stay put.

    I hope someone has a suggestion about what is going on.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Cluster under hive???

    My guess would be a swarm either from your hive, or another that settled in under your hive. Stray bees seem to happen fairly often with packages where there is a screened bottom board, but since you have an established hive, my guess would be a swarm.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Cole County, Missouri
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Cluster under hive???

    google Usurpation swarm did you see any fighting?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ashburn, VA, USA
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: Cluster under hive???

    Could it be with poor flying conditions and everybody at home that it was just too hot inside the hive?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Cluster under hive???

    From the OP description (shortly after a rain), the shape of the cluster, and the lack of bees on the hive or landing board, I don't think it is bearding due to heat.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 04-18-2012 at 03:10 PM. Reason: UNQuote

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ashburn, VA, USA
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: Cluster under hive???

    Yes, the rain is why I was thinking heat in a crowded (strong) hive. All of the exterior ventilation would be very humid so fanning might not help. The rain was also the reason I thought they may have clustered underneath rather than on the front or sides of the hive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,994

    Default Re: Cluster under hive???

    Thanks everybody for the feedback. I feel that these bees have been there since *sometime* yesterday afternoon being as the weather had not been conducive to them flying this morning prior to me checking them.

    As for activity (I'm at work and going by memory)... It had just quit raining probably 20-30 minutes before I found them clustered. Only a few bees were movng around on the porch which was about the same activity for the other hives. Definitely no mass exodus happening. There was slow movement on the surface of the cluster. Very, very few bees were flying at that time.

    Wx conditions... Temperature was around 65F and damp. Mild breeze. Sun peaking from behind the clouds sporadically.

    This colony consists of a 10-frame deep an two 8-frame mediums. Last inspection the top medium had a good bit of whitening to the comb...lower medium was 80-90 percent drawn as earlier stated with a good bit of honey/nectar stores.

    Ventilation consists of the porter bee escape hole and a 70mm round hole in the inner cover (both screened over with #8 mesh). The inner cover doesn't have a slot cut into it's edge so I a small piece of 1/4" wood between the top edge of the inner cover and the telescoping cover...which probably gives better ventilation than a slot in the edge of the inner cover.(??)

    I'm hoping they're still there when I get home this evening. I'll put them in a nuc if they are and see what they do.

    Ed

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Cluster under hive???

    Toss a frame of brood in the nuc if you can spare one. Good luck!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Orange county, Texas
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Cluster under hive???

    Look under the box bottom, i changed out my bottoms cause they were old and dirty and i found a hole bunch of walking sticks(praying mantis ) and i know they eat bees, i read that bees witll block other insects from the hive and even trap them and keep a guard at the entrance of the trap.
    I am probly wrong about your bees but i figured it wouldn't hurt to look.
    I have my bees set up just like yours. weather has been just like yours also.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,994

    Default Re: Cluster under hive???

    Well, the cluster was gone this evening when I got home. Lots of activity in front of this and the other hives. Seems the bees made the most of the nice weather this afternoon. Two more days of clear weather and then rain again. I'm hoping to look into the hives tomorrow and see what up. Problem is I'm still trying to figure out what I'm looking at when I go into them!!! Newbee overwhelmed.

    Thanks for the feedback,
    Ed

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