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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Metamora, IL, United States
    Posts
    69

    Default It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    I'm new to beekeeping this year, and I have a hive that I just can't figure out. I installed a package of bees on April 27th. They completely drew out one medium super but would not move up to the second box and then swarmed on June 11th. After that, I moved some drawn frames with nectar/pollen up to second box and that seemed to draw them up. They had two mediums almost completely drawn out so I added a third. That was about a month ago and they just weren't doing anything in it, but I figured it was due to the dearth and they just didn't have much to bring in. Now, on September 22nd they swarmed again! The last time I went completely through this hive was a couple weeks ago and I didn't see any queen cells, so they must have started building them right after I went through the last time. So answer me this:

    1) Why is this particular hive to darn stubborn to move up into an empty medium so they don't get too crowded???
    2) Why would they swarm this late in the year when winter is right around the corner???
    3) What could I have done to prevent this?

    These bees are crazy. Twice they swarmed because they apparently didn't know which way was up... Now I'm afraid they have grown too small to over winter...only about 15 medium frames worth of bees...should I combine them with another hive?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,596

    Default Re: It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    When you went through it 2 weeks ago what DID you see? Lots of capped honey and pollen? Hardly any at all? Brood? Eggs? Hive beetles?

    You didn't say so there is no way for me to know, but if a hive is sick and starving or infested with hive beetles they will abscond sometimes even this late - it has happened to me. I've heard other people say that they had strong healthy hives swarm this late, but I never have.
    5Y-25H-T-Z6b-0 winter losses in '14

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Metamora, IL, United States
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    I did see eggs and larvae, but no hive beetles. I think they are healthy...I am thoroughly going through the hive this weekend, so maybe I will learn more at that time...thanks for the advice...

    Love your quote...love that movie! I was just at Bristol in August.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,656

    Default Re: It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    >only about 15 medium frames worth of bees.

    Whats wrong with that? As long as they raise a new queen....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Metamora, IL, United States
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    Maybe nothing...I was just under the impression that the colony had to be a certain size in order to generate enough heat to get through the winter. Temps in the teens are common here in the middle of winter...some sub-zero spells occasionally hit...I'm new to this...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,596

    Default Re: It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by cjfoster72 View Post
    Love your quote...love that movie! I was just at Bristol in August.
    Augustus McCrae is one of my favorite actors. I grew up near there, a shame I never saw the stock car races though.
    5Y-25H-T-Z6b-0 winter losses in '14

  7. #7

    Default Re: It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Augustus McCrae is one of my favorite actors.
    I expect you meant Robert Duval.....I liked him as Augustus McCrae too.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  8. #8

    Default Re: It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    >only about 15 medium frames worth of bees.

    Whats wrong with that? As long as they raise a new queen....
    Might be kind of late to get a queen mated in IL.
    Also...an overwintering cluster might need a bit more mass there...
    I'd check with the locals.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    457

    Default Re: It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by cjfoster72 View Post

    These bees are crazy. Twice they swarmed because they apparently didn't know which way was up... Now I'm afraid they have grown too small to over winter...only about 15 medium frames worth of bees...should I combine them with another hive? Thanks!
    In my world 15 medium frames of bees are a lot of bees. I am planning on taking several hives through with probably half that many bees. Are you absolutely sure you are queenless? How do you know they swarmed on Sept. 22? If they did swarm how do you know your mated queen went with them? I had a hive cast a small swarm on labor day and they swarmed with a virgin queen. I know this because I caught the swarm and saw the very young immature queen, and I checked the hive that had just swarmed and my old, marked queen was still there. I do not understand why the old queen permitted the hive to raise another queen, but they did, and I can't explain why the old queen stayed and the virgin queen swarmed, but that is bees, and they do pretty much what they want!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    N. Ridgeville, OH, USA
    Posts
    346

    Default Re: It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    What kind of foundation do you have in that "problem" box - wax or plastic? It's been my experience that the girls can mightily resist building on the plastic - even if it's "wax coated". I was all ready to give up on the plastic a couple of years ago when my father-in-law got a suggestion from an experienced BEEK who uses nothing but plastic to simply rub some beeswax on the plastic (an old candle or or bar or melted down chunk) and the additional wax residue should induce the girls to start building on it. Oddly enough, it works.

    Cheers

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Metamora, IL, United States
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: It is almost October - why did my hive swarm...again!?!?!

    Well, I don't know exactly what to think right now. I'm not even sure that swarm was from one of my hives. I was out playing ball with my son this evening, and ANOTHER swarm flew right through us! They came from some woods a couple hundred feet away and flew straight to where my hives are and clustered on an apricot tree.

    I scrambled to get a hive with one medium set up, and by the time I got back to where they had clustered, they were out of the tree, flying around and gathered under a couple of my hives. I have screened bottom boards so I'm guessing they smelled the honey. I left the new hive box on the ground about 10 feet from where they were, and put a q-tip with lemon grass oil in the hive. Not sure if that was a good idea or not... I wasn't able to put any drawn comb in the empty hive as I was afraid to open any of my existing hives with all the action going on.

    So what the heck is going on? Why all the swarming? I also got 2 calls today from local businesses reporting they had alot of bees in dumpsters and in an aluminum can recycling bin. Are they having a hard time finding nectar so they are looking for anything sweet to eat? This all seems like really strange behavior to me....I thought swarming was prominent in spring/early summer....

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