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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Northampton, MA
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    Default Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    I've assumed it was mostly nurse and house bees that left in a swarm since they'd be better at drawing wax and would be around long enough to give brood rearing a good shot? I assumed the field bees would be oriented on the old hive.

    Anyone know the makeup of a swarm?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    It can have all ages of bees from ten days old and up, as at ten days the bees have their first orientation flight and are ready for wax drawing and nectar storage duties. That means they also have field aged bees as well as they'll need foraging staff when they find the new home. And, don't be surprised a bit if there's some drones in there, especially if the swarm queen is a virgin. I say this because hives with virgins tend to draw drones in from other hives. This is how I see the makeup of swarms anyways.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Siloam Springs, Arkansas
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    123

    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    It can have all ages of bees from ten days old and up, as at ten days the bees have their first orientation flight and are ready for wax drawing and nectar storage duties. That means they also have field aged bees as well as they'll need foraging staff when they find the new home. And, don't be surprised a bit if there's some drones in there, especially if the swarm queen is a virgin. I say this because hives with virgins tend to draw drones in from other hives. This is how I see the makeup of swarms anyways.
    You can see all that as they fly by? You must have some good eyes....
    Trying techniques that I doubt will work because I like to be right!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,561

    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    LOL, no, but I see it when they fly into one of my empties in the beeyard!
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,050

    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    They have to be young to build comb and they have to be old to be a scout so my guess is that they are all ages that can fly. How the decision is made on who is in the club is a mystery to me. It might even be a different percentage mix between the original queen and a virgin. If you knew the answer how would it change your beekeeping tasks?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Northampton, MA
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    196

    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    If you knew the answer how would it change your beekeeping tasks?
    Well, I think it would better help me understand the condition of the swarmed hive.

    Beyond that I have been doing Taranov splits this past year and it has greatly reduced swarming and made very successful splits. They really take off just list a hived swarm when it works right. I've been getting better at them.

    Taranov splits are supposed to isolate the young bees and queen and work best on hives where swarm preparation has already started. In this way with frequent inspections during swarm season you can create very strong splits and naturally requeen the hives.

    If you do it right it's fast, simple and works great.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
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    131

    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    ....How the decision is made on who is in the club is a mystery to me....
    Bee 1: Pssst... Ethyl, we're all thinking of swarming later, you in?

    Bee 2: Sure, I'm in! But there's no way I'm going if Sally is going! I can't stand the way she exaggerates the distance on her foraging dance! "Oh my! I've flown soooo far." I hate her.

    Bee 1: OK, I'll make sure nobody lets Sally know. We're going as soon as the new queen cells get finished.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    3,027

    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    And I think they must decide in the bathroom, where all hierarchical female society decisions are made.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,623

    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    The oldtimers would tell you it is the field bees that swarm with the old queen, but I can not give any reasons why they believed that.

    Crazy Roland. .

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    You need the young bees for wax and you need the old bees for scouts and foraging. How can a swarm expect to survive if there is not a mix?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
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    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    Because old bees can do new bees work, and New bees can do old bees work? Versatile little creatures.

    Crazy Roland

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,696

    Default Re: Which bees leave in a swarm? Field bees? Hosue bees? Nurse bees?

    My thought is, mostly the foragers or the ones who have already done the first flight.
    A hive about to swarm goes into swarm mode for many days. They pack in brood nest and what ever space is available with honey and pollen. This is stuff the nurse bees and house bees would not have the ability to do alot of because they need to tend to the brood which is left. The hive that is left use alot of the stores to build the population back up...especially if there are many after swarms to be had.

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