Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"
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  1. #1
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    Default Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    Yesterday I was alerted to a swarm near my house, so I went to go walk them into my collection box:



    Everything seemed to go well, but when I came back at 9:00 PM, in 58 degree weather, they were all on the outside of the box:



    Someone on the infallible intarwebs told me that this is the sign of a queenless swarm, and that "ground swarms" often are queenless, so I suited up and scooped 95% of them into the box and took them home. I left the entrance plugged up with a rag, and I left a vent hole at the top.

    This morning, thinking they were queenless, I was setting up to do a newspaper combine with an existing colony, and voila! I see Her Majesty! The rest of the bees were on the frames, but I didn't look for eggs or disgorged honey, because I wanted to get the box closed back up as soon as possible.

    So I had a queen after all. I've turned my primary BeeCam over to look at them, and they seem to be doing pretty well:

    https://www.youtube.com/user/IAmTheWaterbug/live

    A bunch of them were clustered on the outside of the box, and still are, but I do see what looks like normal foraging behavior, so maybe they like the box after all.

    But why didn't they like it last night?

    Is there any truth to the rumor that swarms on the ground are often queenless, or that they behave any differently than a classic "hanging swarm?"
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    How long ago was the lemon grass added & how much? The swarms that I have come across on the ground were wet, had been sprayed, had a clipped queen, or the weight of the swarm brought the branch down to the ground.
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    Ah, you're thinking possibly too much LGO, correct?

    Good thought, but I think I'm OK. I put two drops in about 6 weeks ago, when I first put the box in my car. It didn't have much smell (to me) when I took it out yesterday. But maybe less is more. When I move the gals to a proper deep box next weekend I won't re-dose the nuc.

    I'll go back and check the site this evening to see if they broke off a branch, but I don't remember seeing anything like that out there yesterday.

    The queen wasn't marked, but I didn't inspect her wings. I'll do a closer inspection when I mark her next week.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  5. #4
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    Default

    I caught a couple ground swarms both were forced absconds from lots of water. I also had a few that I caught gather on the outside of the box like you experienced but I was less proactive about putting them back in and they left. I now just put them in a deep and throw an excluder on top of the bottom board trapping the queen. Works every time so far.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    Ground swarm is because the queen couldn't fly very well

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post
    Ah, you're thinking possibly too much LGO, correct?
    And now you've got me thinking.

    I wonder if I have too much LGO in my swarm trap. I had huuuuuuuge numbers of scouts yesterday and today, but they didn't move in.

    I did put 3-4 drops in the trap about a week ago, plus a bunch outside the trap.

    I might swap the top cover on the trap with a fresh one, to see if that might be the problem.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Ground swarm is because the queen couldn't fly very well

    I agree.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    A Why on the ground ? Queen
    B Why on the outside? LGO+
    C Why still there? A
    D New box quick !
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    Using OE's and driving new swarms out of boxes is a common trap for new players, as is trying to run swarms into boxes that are too small for the bees.

    Not saying that was the problem in this case, but me, i never put OE's in a swarm collection box.

    Another possibility is that if bees cluster on the outside of the box as per this video, if it gets dark before they have completed moving in, they cease moving in and just stay like that till daylight the next morning.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    And oh, a swarm on the ground is no indication of it being queenless, just means the queen ran out of puff and the swarm had to settle where she landed.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    What are "OE's?"
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Another possibility is that if bees cluster on the outside of the box as per this video, if it gets dark before they have completed moving in, they cease moving in and just stay like that till daylight the next morning.
    I wonder why that would be. Seems like they'd want to go in and get warm!
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post
    What are "OE's?"
    Oops my bad should have said EO's (essential oils)

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post
    I wonder why that would be. Seems like they'd want to go in and get warm!
    I don't know, but have wondered if it's simply that in daylight they can see the new hive, and distiguish that entering into the darkness means they are in, but once night falls everything is dark so they don't know.

    Not to be confused with an established hive, if they are bearding they are well capable of moving in overnight, they know their way around. Just new swarms hanging on the outside of the box will not move again till morning light.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    I've caught a few swarms and not all stay or make it through the winter. I did catch a good size swarm two years ago laying on a driveway that is still the strongest, most productive, and gentle hive in my apiary. I have been grafting/spitting from the swarm's original queen with good results. With that said, I would not differentiate between hanging or ground swarms, though I only ever found one swarm on the ground. As mentioned, this is usually where queen was able to stop for a break.
    Vic

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post
    I wonder why that would be. Seems like they'd want to go in and get warm!
    4Q4A3600.jpg4Q4A3592.jpg

    I noticed this once the leaves dropped in the fall. It was clear they had raised brood from the color of the comb. Location was approx. 40' high.
    Why would a swarm locate out in the open?

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Is a "Ground Swarm" any different from a "Hanging Swarm?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    And oh, a swarm on the ground is no indication of it being queenless, just means the queen ran out of puff and the swarm had to settle where she landed.
    This is making more and more sense.

    Maybe these queens run out of puff because they're just too full of eggs!

    The ground swarm in my original post is boooooooming, and is by far my strongest hive. I picked up another ground swarm 2 weeks ago, and it's also doing very, very well in its nuc.

    I walked another ground swarm in last night, from left field on a baseball diamond. It was around 7:00 PM, and getting cold, but this time all the bees went in, and I picked up the box at 9:00 PM.

    Of the 10 swarms I've picked up this year, 3 have been on the ground. In the past 4 years of picking up swarms almost none of them have been ground swarms.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

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