Swarm settling on existing strong colony?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lexington, VA
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    26

    Default Swarm settling on existing strong colony?

    This was a new one for me. This afternoon I noticed a frenzy in the hive yard and watched, what I thought, was one of my colonies ready to swarm. I was on a work call and couldn't get up close, but when I went outside about 2 hours later, there was actually a swarm attached to the bottom of the landing board and the front of the lower deep of one of my existing hives filled with an overwintered, healthy colony. The swarm bees looked to be trying to bully their way into the existing hive and luckily, I still have my entrance reducer on this hive, so progress looked slow, but nonetheless, some of the swarm colony was getting in. I'm almost positive it was a new swarm- not my old colony still thinking about swarming, since most of the bees on the outside of the hive body were in full display with butts in the air dishing out nasonov pheromone.

    I shook what I could of the swarm into a 5-frame nuc and moved the nuc about 5' from the existing colony with the hopes that I shook the swarm queen, and the rest of the swarm trying to get into the existing hive would drift to the new nuc and stop bothering my existing colony. My fear was the swarm bees that infiltrated my existing colony may be confused and ball the existing queen, but I'm not sure if that would actually happen. Anyone ever deal with something similar? For what it's worth, I had a bait hive with lemongrass oil about 100' from this hive. Is there any way the swarm got confused when making the move to the new hive?

    It's been a good swarm season for me in central VA. I've caught four in the last 2 weeks and it doesn't seem to matter where I put the bait hive, size of the hive, whether I lace it with essential oils or not...bees galore so far.

    Thanks in advance for any info on this one.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,157

    Default Re: Swarm settling on existing strong colony?

    Paul:

    Could have been a usurpation swarm- I dealt with something similar last year and was puzzled by it.

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...ght=usurpation

    Dr. Mangum is over your way- Bowling Green, VA and has been observing / documenting this phenomena for the past 10 years or so in European Honey Bees.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,361

    Default Re: Swarm settling on existing strong colony?

    Or your swarm flew away and came back or never made it very far. Either way nuc her makes sense.

    so what does the inside of the big hive look like ? when is the next train leaving the station?
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lexington, VA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Swarm settling on existing strong colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    Paul:

    Could have been a usurpation swarm- I dealt with something similar last year and was puzzled by it.

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...ght=usurpation

    Dr. Mangum is over your way- Bowling Green, VA and has been observing / documenting this phenomena for the past 10 years or so in European Honey Bees.
    I had never heard of an usurpation swarm- thanks for the info and the link to the old thread. I wish I had taken a picture...it was definitely interesting to witness.

    PP

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lexington, VA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Swarm settling on existing strong colony?

    "Or your swarm flew away and came back or never made it very far. Either way nuc her makes sense.

    so what does the inside of the big hive look like ? when is the next train leaving the station?"

    Hmm...you're saying the colony may have swarmed, and then came back to their original hive? If this was the case, it seems unlikely *to me* they'd be denied entry and active with nasonov on the front of the deep. I would think they'd be readily accepted to their old home since they'd still have the original hive pheromones on them. Heck, what do I know though...this was a new one for me.

    I haven't opened the original colony yet, but the nuc seems active. Bees, bees, and more bees...now if only we could get some rain to keep this clover flow going.

    PP

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,157

    Default Re: Swarm settling on existing strong colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulprop14 View Post
    I had never heard of an usurpation swarm- thanks for the info and the link to the old thread. I wish I had taken a picture...it was definitely interesting to witness.

    PP
    Glad to offer a hypothesis at least... It seems I learn something new about bees almost every day.

    Have a great weekend.

    Russ

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,361

    Default Re: Swarm settling on existing strong colony?

    If the queen went in they would as well, If she did not, not likely.

    Main point; what is going on inside.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

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