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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    259

    Default High loose swarm

    Went out to my bee yard (yard, funny, two hives) about 5pm today and heard LOTS of buzzing ..immediately I thought "swarm"!

    I looked all around and 20 north of my hives about 30-40 feet high was a loose swarm of bees. Flying. ..almost right above a swarm trap that I have 7 feet off the ground ...except the swarm was much higher ...over the top of some nice tall trees. I have no idea if the swarm had just gotten there or if they were just moving through.

    I wasn't pleased, thinking they were my bees swarming. Anyway, the loose swarm moved off south, staying high over the trees. I ran in to get my binocs and by the time I was back out (30 seconds later) they were gone ...didn't know what direction they went after that (later I drove around for a while hoping to spot them).

    I went back in to grab my veil and went out to the hives that I have just inspected this last Saturday - opened the first one ...quickly looking down in each box ...looked the same as Saturday.

    Opened the next one - same thing ..the population looks the same as Saturday.

    Either my memory is off - or both hives look good. I didn't see a reduction in population from either one. I'll do a better check of the hives tomorrow and make sure there's a nice red marked queen in each. Too late today.

    I'm curious - will a swarm visit another bee yard? Coincidence? I was an amazing thing to hear and my whole life I've never seen a swarm until the very year I get bees. Strange!

    What do you all think?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,026

    Default Re: High loose swarm

    I had a swarm land in an empty top bar nuc a week and a half ago. The swarms are attracted to the pheromones from your hives. It could be your bees, but maybe not.

    Swarm landing in Top Bar Nuc

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    649

    Default Re: High loose swarm

    Yip only seen one swarm my entire life get bees and 3 weeks later a swarm shows up and lands in a branch 10 ft from my hive caught a few more around town and even hit one going down the interstate in the wife's van lol I think part of it is just awareness kinda like you dont see many silver cars on the road untill you buy one then you see one about every 20 min while traveling down the highway

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,861

    Default Re: High loose swarm

    Sometimes it's not easy to see if your hive has swarmed by looking at the top bars. You may have to pull some frames and see if you find queen cells.

    To answer your question, yes I have had swarms come close to my home yard from parts unknown. About a month ago my wife and I were working in our back yard. 20 hives or so were 100 feet to our east. We heard the sound of a swarm, but we couldn't see one coming from any of our hives. As we were listening we found that it was coming from the west. I walked off that direction and found a swarm slowly coming toward our back yard. 50 feet short of the edge of the yard they stopped at the top of a small fir tree (30' up). About an hour later I heard them take off north up through the forest.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: High loose swarm

    Thank you all for your responses ...it was great to hear your experiences! Today is rainy and windy, so I'm holding off 'til this afternoon or most likely tomorrow to do an inspection - and find both marked queens ...to make sure that the swarm wasn't my bees. The anticipation is killing me

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: High loose swarm

    Well I was able to inspect my hives ...and yes ..one of mine swarmed.

    Ugh. I feel a bit of a failure. But looking through the hive, I can figure out what I missed.

    I did do an inspection last Saturday and things looked good. No queen cells in the third box, and the bees were working on it ...had 4 out of 8 frames filled out, so I put on a 4th box of foundation-less frames. I didn't inspect the 1st and 2nd boxes but I did lift the 2nd box and looked underneath to see if there were any swarm cells. There wasn't.

    Come to find out ...they didn't create any swarm cells in the bottom of any frames. One they created on the east wall of the 1st box - and that cell is much further along, larger and darker. The other 2 cells were on unfinished foundation-less comb in the second box that I had placed there on the 15th of June. They are both newer, much smaller and lighter in color.

    Further inspection, I see lots of 4 or 5 day up to 9 day brood. Lots of capped brood. Worker and drone. There was not a lot of nectar/honey in the 2nd box but there was a lot of back-filling in the 1st box. I wish I had gone through those boxes - but I hear so much of leaving them alone. ...which might not have been a bad idea but the blackberries have bloomed and that is our major flow here.

    It was a marvelous queen, superb laying pattern and I was exceptionally happy with her especially with so many people getting bad or superceded queens. I kick myself in the pants.

    The swarm did leave a LOT of bees - and brood ...if I get a good laying queen, this should just be a hiccup. So now I'll watch for the new queen to emerge and start laying.

    If anyone has any advice, I'll take it.

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