2 swarms? Or 1?
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Thread: 2 swarms? Or 1?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Nottingham, PA

    Default 2 swarms? Or 1?

    What are the chances a large swarm rests in a tree in 2 separate clusters on tree branches about 3 feet apart?

    I came down my driveway around noon yesterday and saw a large cloud of bees in front of some of my hives. I was able to get back to them within 15 minutes to find 2 “swarms”, 3' apart on tree branches 100 feet from the hives. I was able to shake both into separate nuc boxes. When I checked on them 6 hours later one was fine (the larger one) while the other nuc box was empty. Either that swarm left or it was never a swarm and was part of the bigger one. Thoughts?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa

    Default Re: 2 swarms? Or 1?

    004.jpg By the time I got ready they had joined into one. This happened a few times the year I put lemon grass oil on a few limbs to try to entice them to land on a particular branch. I think the odor confused them as I have not seen it since.


    Edit; It was suggested by someone that the swarm may have contained multiple virgins.
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA

    Default Re: 2 swarms? Or 1?

    When you find a swarm that has several clusters of bees there will be a queen with each cluster. The larger cluster will have the queen that is most attractive to the bees, usually the mated queen from the hive from which the cluster issued. The other smaller clusters will be virgin queens that have been prevented from emerging and leaving the hive by poor weather.

    If the two or more clusters are shaken into the same hive body one of the queens will usually leave taking the bees loyal to her. This usually happens before dark on the day they are hived. If the swarm is hived late in the day they may stay until early the next morning. The second swarm bees will usually not want to enter the hive, but will want to cluster on the outside of the box. The second queen will hide in her cluster to prevent being balled by bees from the first cluster. It is a good practice to put a frame of unsealed brood in a hive when shaking in a swarm as it helps anchor them to the hive. If you have bees that wont enter a hive, but remain outside, try placing a frame of unsealed brood against them, and after it has been covered by the bees, put it in another nuc box along side of the other colony.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: 2 swarms? Or 1?

    >What are the chances a large swarm rests in a tree in 2 separate clusters on tree branches about 3 feet apart?

    There were two swarms. The bees aren't clear which queen is theirs so they drift to the more attractive one.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF


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