Bees in a bunch under the hive (and how it differs from a swarm)
So I got home today, knowing I had a hive that I probably should have added a super to on Friday, but didn't. Sure enough, it was bearded. As in all over the front and sides. No worries, I thought, I'll wait til the sun dips and the temps with it, and I'll go add a new box and checker some foundationless frames into it.
Then came the thunderstorms. Lots of rain. I stepped out to make sure my bees were smart enough to go back inside the hive, only to see what looked like 2 swarms, one under the lid, and one under the bottom board. So I figgered it was high time to get that box added. It was not raining, except the occasional drop, but I figured that was nothing compared to the thousand or more bees that were hanging there, drenched. So I dove in without smoke (but a jacket and pants!), and started re-arranging everything.
Got them all set, then decided I'd lift all those suffering bees and set them in the top box. Here's where the lesson comes in... wet bees on the bottom of a hive are NOT as docile as a swarm, though they appear the same. They sting. Yes, they do. Fortunately only a couple got thru my nitrile gloves, but many more were trying. So I switched to my hive tool to carry them to the top, and got the majority of them inside to dry off. Hopefully they will make it.
Three swarms, one queen added to brood from each of two purchased nucs (in deeps) for a total of 6 hives