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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Somes Bar, California, USA
    Posts
    42

    Exclamation Potential Swarm?

    Hello!
    A few days ago I rotated one of my hives so that it would be in a better position to receive the sun on the entrance. Since then there have been a lot of bees at the old entrance. I assumed they were just getting adjusted to having their hive rotated. I had placed a stick on the entrance to try to prompt them to re-orientate when I did the rotate. I noticed that the bees that were hanging out at that location (about 200 or so) were very agitated. Today I noticed a bit of fighting and some slightly different colored bees getting attacked. Overall the fighting was really minimal so there might have been a local hive trying to do some robbing but the bees seemed to be fending for themselves rather well. I reduced the entrance a little to give them a hand. By the end of the day today (the same day I reduced the entrance a smidge) I saw a few thousand bees flying around the hive and probably 5-600 or so on the side of the hive where the old entrance was. They weren't fighting so I don't think it was another hive robbing. They seemed to build up on the side of the hive and then a small mass of them would rush into the hive (again no fighting and the bees weren't the color as the earlier robbers so I think they were my bees). I don't think that I reduced it to the point to cause that much congestion, I was rather conservative with my entrance reduction and they still had more than enough space for their usual activity level. Others were simultaneously coming out the other side of the entrance. This was happening in waves where one group would be rushing in and another group would be coming out the other side. Would this many bees flying around the hive be a sign that they are preparing to swarm? Any suggestions on what I should do? Right now I did my best guess and I reduced the entrance down smaller (they only had about 30 minutes left of sun) and as soon as the sun was off the hive the bees went back to a normal level of activity for the hive before they close up for the night. Any suggestions on what I should do tomorrow? Should I be as panicked as I feel???

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,250

    Default Re: Potential Swarm?

    Adam, bees are very sensitive to entrance location, when you rotated the hive it confused them, the field bees will keep coming to the old entrance location for a few days then things should straighten out and be ok. A number of weeks ago I moved the entrance on my hive from the edge of the box to the center which was only about four inches and the field bees continued coming to the corner first then walking to the center entrance for at least two or three days but finally figured it out. I don't think you have anything to worry about just give them a little time......Bill

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Somes Bar, California, USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Potential Swarm?

    I guess I was mostly thown off by the sudden increase in numbers in the wrong place. It had been improving from when I had moved the entrance and then suddenly regressed and there were more bees in the air and on the wrong side of the hive than I had ever seen after just seeing it improve the day before.

    Should I not reduce that entrance then?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,250

    Default Re: Potential Swarm?

    I always keep mine reduced to about 2 3/4 to 3 inches, this way I do not have to be as concerned about a robbing event or wax moths slipping in from the side. Here is a pic of two types of my hive entrances, the first pic is the angled reducing blocks that I built but yours need not be this fancy, just a couple pieces of 3/4 by 3/4 pieces of wood will do as shown in the second pic, I use both types and see no difference other than looks.




  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Potential Swarm?

    Do any of you just move the hive box on the stand so the entrance is on the otherside but not rotate the hive itself? I would think now all of their frames are facing a different way inside the hive that it would be very confusing to them. Do any of you have two entrances? (I do). During the summer heat I have both sides open and can reduce as I want using small blocks of wood. I do watch daily for any robbing and if I start smelling honey curing I start to reduce the entrance. P.S. this is my first year so am I doing it wrong?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,250

    Default Re: Potential Swarm?

    CaBees, do you have any pic's? what you are describing sounds interesting

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Potential Swarm?

    I have tons of pictures of frames, bees, brood but none of the hive showing two entrances. But I just move the box forward on the hive bottom and they can get in and out on both sides. I guess it depends what type of hive bottom one has. They do not need a landing board...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,686

    Default Re: Potential Swarm?

    Since you moved the hive, it was probably a mass of orientation flights. I just moved mine and it had a constant cloud of bees for two days. All the other bees on the old entrance are most likely foragers who spent the night out and came back to the old location and were not forced to reorient. They can be a little cranky, I waited two days as I left a box with frames on my old stand and the bees there were demoralized and very cranky. I was able to smoke them in, seal it up, and bring them home though.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Potential Swarm?

    CaBees, do you have any pic's? what you are describing sounds interesting
    I took a few pictures last night...this hive has an entrance on both sides at the bottom and the bees use them.....

    italian girls.jpg

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,250

    Default Re: Potential Swarm?

    Thanks CaBees, a pic is worth a thousand words, nice hives by the way......Bill

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