This Spring started out like any other for swarms but was running about a month late due to the continuing cooler weather. About the first half of May I saw several scout bees coming and going from a trap in my back yard and within a day the swarm came buzzing in as usual. The last two weeks of May I caught a swarm each week from a small five frame nuc I had placed in town while out in the rural area where I keep my bees I started noticing some strange behavior.
Not one of my surviving hives even attempted a swarm cell and the last time I checked about two weeks ago they still haven't formed one which is odd in and of itself, but the activity around my traps has me totally baffled. If I observe a trap most of them would appear to be occupied. There is enough activity for me to believe a swarm has settled in. Once I observed a worker removing a dead bee from a trap and entrance guard activity yet when I went back that evening to remove the trap no bees remained inside. On another occasion I watched a bee bringing in pollen yet when I went that evening again no bees were in the trap. Yesterday I watched as at least 100 bees (and yes I counted them) went inside a trap within a 10 minute period and yet this morning there were maybe 50 bees in the trap when I popped the top.
I have at least a half dozen traps all showing this exact same activity. Lots of scouts, more than I have ever seen in fact at one time in any previous captures and what appears to be actual hive activity but no swarm.
I thought at first it was just robbing but the frames of comb I have inside the traps is not showing signs of being chewed any. In some cases bees are even remaining in the traps over night as I observed at least half a dozen bees hanging out around the entrance of a trap in my back yard well after the sun set this evening.
I don't think we have had the usual swarm activity because I have only received one swarm call this year and it turned out to be an impossible trap out. The two swarms I caught in the city were very small but then again I only had a small trap out there anyway so I might have missed any big ones.
Just not the usual swarm activity I have gotten used to.