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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hephzibah, GA
    Posts
    125

    Default Strange "swarm" in bait hive

    I had a "swarm" move into a bait hive a week and half ago. I left them to their own devices until yesterday,when I went to inspect. I had been concerned because I didn't see as many foragers as I thought I should, or bees bringing in pollen, and wasn't sure I had a viable swarm. Sure enough, there only seemed to be about 100 bees inside working over the bait comb but not building any new comb or extending the old. I searched for a queen and didn't find one, and the combs had no eggs in any of the cells. By the dead bees scattered on the floor and not being removed, to the bees falling off the comb and dying even as I examined the comb, I suspected that a swarm must have left these bees behind while they were foraging some time earlier in the week and they were starving. As I removed the top bars, they stayed clustered around the entrance and in the gaps of the bars, fanning. The lack of aggression and the fanning made me think there must be a queen, so I double checked, but all the bees were workers. There are too few to worry about combining with another hive, so I plan to just open the hive up and let them find another place to live. I'm curious if anyone else has had this happen.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,893

    Default Re: Strange "swarm" in bait hive

    I call those "Zombie" swarms. They are scouts attracted to the lure. This sometimes happens when you have bait boxes too close together. I have one right now that has had a lot of scouts for ten weeks, but no swarm.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hephzibah, GA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Strange "swarm" in bait hive

    I had a swarm box sitting on the roof, which I've since removed. So you think they're scouts and not foragers left behind after a swarm rejected the hive? After I opened up the hive, I took away all the bars, expecting them to leave and return to wherever they came from, but instead they stayed clustered around the entrance, fanning, and waited. It turned cloudy and, not wanting it to rain in the hive, I closed it back up and they went right back in. They're still in there, acting like a colony. Weird.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Searcy, AR, USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Strange "swarm" in bait hive

    My guess is that a swarm landed there temporarily and absconded and these were foragers which came back to find an empty house. I took down one of my swarm traps one night last week, which had a nice swarm in it, and replaced it with another box the next day. Immediately, withing a minute a few lone bees started fanning at the entrance and I was pretty sure that they had somehow gotten left behind the night before when I didn't get the entrance covered quickly enough to keep from losing a few. Sounds like they were acting the same way. My two cents.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hephzibah, GA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Strange "swarm" in bait hive

    I'm thinking the same thing. Last night I checked to make sure they were actually staying the night and not just a bunch of scout bees and found them in a fist-sized cluster about eight bars from the entrance.

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