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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,403

    Default More and more, free bees

    Well, there I was, in my queen rearing/mating apiary, under the shade of a large mesquite tree, when a swarm, coming from other than my hives (all my hives have many cordovan workers and most of their drones are cordovan), and none of the swarm bees were cordovan. I watched as this "invading" swarm moved in to one of two mini mating nucs I am running as a test. They took over the one which I had just removed its current queen from and had replaced her with a ripe cultured queen cell. I do not yet know if they have a queen with them, or if my queen cell has emerged or been destroyed. I'll check that out tomorrow.

    Soon after this swarm arrived, two others arrived almost simultaneously, one landing on a branch of the mesquite tree and the other on one of the bottom rails of my nuc benches. I forced both swarms together in one empty nuc box, after isolating them from their queens, which I caged and relocated outside the area. I gave these swarm bees a caged queen of my choosing.
    - - - - - -

    I thought that was good, but then, this morning a nearby neighbor called on me, in person to ask if I were interested in a colony of bees that had recently taken residence in one of a stack of empty, used, cardboard moving boxes. The box was about the same internal volume as a 10-frame deep, plus a 10-frame medium. It was quite heavy as I carried it back to my house. There were six combs about the size of the cross-section from the center of a basketball. The combs were all built of very soft and fragile white wax. From the attachment at the top of the box, there was about 2-3 inches of honey, then pollen, and finally brood that was just beginning to be sealed. No drone comb, anywhere. The combs were too soft and fragile to handle, let alone tie into frames. The bees were all of a uniform color, similar to Italian, but somewhat darker than most Italians I'm familiar with. They were very gentle and I expect they did not originate from any of my hives (all my hives have many cordovan bees, but these had none), though I haven't yet had a chance to find and ID their queen (hoping to do that tomorrow). This neighbor was two doors down and across the street from my place - a two minute walk. I think I'll give the neighbor a jar of honey as soon as I get enough to harvest.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,100

    Thumbs Up Re: More and more, free bees

    So, what are the odds of that happening again tomorrow? Or, ever again for that matter? Would love to have been there to hold your smoker.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,213

    Default Re: More and more, free bees

    Joseph, I know you've said in the past that you have had trouble with Africanized invaders, it is good these ones appear gentle. I read in Africa that honeybees have become migratory moving with the flows. Does this invasion correlate with an impending honey flow? Are there many other beekeepers in the area?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,670

    Default Re: More and more, free bees

    Mr. Clemens, do you OWN a camera? lol
    That had to be an awesome sight to witness first hand.
    Congrats on the captures.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,403

    Default Re: More and more, free bees

    I think the three small swarms were possibly AHB, one of them simply flew in and took over a recently queenless mini mating nuc, and the other two were no larger than those tiny watermelons that have recently become popular. Perhaps they too would have taken over other nucs.

    When I'm raising queens, I usually mark them as soon as they begin to lay. I also raise nearly all cordovan queens, so I have a better chance of maintaining EHB, instead of AHB.

    The established colony in the box were so gentle, neither I nor my neighbor were wearing any protective gear at all. Neither of us were even being checked over by any guard bees. I carried the entire colony back to my place and removed the comb, then shook the bees into a nuc, all without any aggressive/defensive behavior.

    Contrast the established cardboard colony, with another swarm I captured a few weeks ago (about 20+ miles away, in town). They too were docile as a swarm, but became overly defensive once hived, then played musical nucs as they took over another nearby nuc, previously headed by a cordovan virgin.

    I have no way to discover how many other beekeepers are near me, other than the few who come to me for nucs and queens. Most nuc customers are from towns outside my local area.
    -----------

    I do sometimes take photos, but though I thought about it, I was much too busy to go fetch the camera.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    South Jordan, Utah, USA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: More and more, free bees

    Time to go buy a Lotto ticket!!

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