Trying to get my bees back!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Trying to get my bees back!

    Hi all,
    I'm a beginning beekeeper in Charlotte NC, and at the beginning of our rather mild winter I had a busy 4-super hive of Russian bees that we decided to leave alone until spring, and then perhaps assess, split the hive, etc. Well, we have had some very warm days and upon inspection a couple weeks ago I discovered that the hive had swarmed.

    There were still about 10-12 frames full of honey, so I moved the top 2 supers up into my carport and we have started harvesting the honey. Well, the bees are close by somewhere because there are about 10-15 of them flying in and out of the supers this morning. I haven't been able to effectively follow them and find the hive.

    Any suggestions on how I might try and lure them back to the hive boxes? Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    10,817

    Default Re: Trying to get my bees back!

    Well, (assuming there are no bees that 'overnight' in your hive), an alternative scenario is that your hive collapsed, and the bees that are flying around during the day are 'robbers' from another hive, harvesting the unguarded honey.

    As far as locating an unknown hive, you may be able to use 'beelining'. More here: https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...1944-Beelining
    And even though that is a 10 year old thread, the page linked in post #1 is still active.
    - and -
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...bee-lining-box
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,567

    Default Re: Trying to get my bees back!

    Quote Originally Posted by justinf View Post
    I discovered that the hive had swarmed.
    Bees dont swarm in January, and even if they did swarm, a swarm still leaves a viable colony behind when it leaves.

    I would posit that the colony died.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Trying to get my bees back!

    Thanks for the replies very much! It's interesting. There are probably 100 bees in and out of there now, very active. I'm pretty sure they are our Russian bees based on their darker color than the bees usually found around here.

    As far as the colony dying, the hive was almost completely empty. Only a couple dead bees other than what appeared to be a small number of fully formed larvae-bees still in the comb.

    I'll read up on the beelining, but yes, it currently remains a mystery to me exactly what happened here.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Trying to get my bees back!

    The inevitable question. Did you test or treat for varroa mites?
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Trying to get my bees back!

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    The inevitable question. Did you test or treat for varroa mites?
    Alas, no. Lesson learned if that was the issue.

    Edit: we did inspect in the late fall and didn't see any evidence of mites. We had a few hive beetles here and there that we would kill if given the opportunity, but at that time the hive seemed very strong and capable of regulating.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,567

    Default Re: Trying to get my bees back!

    Quote Originally Posted by justinf View Post
    Edit: we did inspect in the late fall and didn't see any evidence of mites.
    How did you check for evidenced of mites ? If you were looking at the bees and saw no mites, it's worth pointing out, once you start seeing mites on the bees, the colony is essentially dead and doesn't know it yet, it's typically past the point of no return in terms of recovering from a mite infestation, and seeing mites on the backs of bees on the frames is not an early warning sign of a problem developing, but rather the first indication that the colony has begun to collapse.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Trying to get my bees back!

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    How did you check for evidenced of mites ? If you were looking at the bees and saw no mites, it's worth pointing out, once you start seeing mites on the bees, the colony is essentially dead and doesn't know it yet, it's typically past the point of no return in terms of recovering from a mite infestation, and seeing mites on the backs of bees on the frames is not an early warning sign of a problem developing, but rather the first indication that the colony has begun to collapse.
    We used a bottom board with a grid...can't say for sure that we did everything correctly but tried to follow internet instructions. You know how that goes sometimes

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