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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone direct me to a video of a swarm issuing from a hive? or tell me what a swarm looks like. I'm not sure what is going on but it is a frenzy around the entrance of my hive. I cannot even get within ten feet of the hive because there is almost a cloud of bees.

I have 8 frame equipment. A deep then 2 meds of brood; I just put a third med of foundation on top a couple days ago. There was, what I think was a good pattern of eggs and larvae in the top box with plenty of open cells and capped honey towards the top. It is a beautiful warm, sunny day so maybe they are just being "busy bees" but I'm comcerned about a swarm.
 

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https://www.google.com/search?q=swa...8oCoDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAg&biw=1600&bih=785&dpr=1

You'll soon know if it's a swarm as they won't stay in front of the hive long, they are on their way out and will soon move into the air and settle somewhere temporarily while scout bees search out a new home.

It could be orienting. The first time I saw a significantly large number of bees orienting I was concerned it might be robbing. Now of course I know they do this regularly (daily) and it looks quite a bit different. The bees will be facing the hive and making larger and larger circles and if you watch carefully, it isn't at all the frenzy that it might appear to be.

If it's really frenzied with aggressive activity at the hive entrance, guard bees attacking bees trying to enter, then it's robbing.
 

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A swarm will often only last 5 min before they group in a nearby tree.

I would suit up go close the entrance and watch what happens. Give it 20 min open it up. if it start over I could be robbing.

Watch the bees leaving after you open it up are they plump filled with honey.

It could be afternoon orientation flights. But it sound like too many bees for that.

Look up some robbing/orientation flights videos on youtube.
 

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The swarms I have seen look like small cyclones that get bigger and bigger then really big and then move off.
 

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Did they leave or come back. Were they flying allover the yard or just in front of the hive. Theres a few possibilities. This time of year in Kentucky true swarms are rare.

1) Mating Flight
2) True Swarm
3) Practice Swarm
4) Big hatch of new bees orientating
5) Robbing
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After watching some YouTube I think it was some afternoon orientation flights. It could be robbing though. A couple of them buzzed me and bumped into me but not super aggressive.

How do I verify if it's robbing. Never saw a honey bee in my area till I got mine. Now I just assume they are all from my hive. What do I do about it if it is robbing. If it is it's other bees,I think. I've beverage seen anything else around except the occasional bumblebee or wasp.
 

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If you aren't sure, my guess is that it is orienting. Robbing is definitely frenetic. Bees darting into the hive, into each other, flying in all directions, and fighting at the entrance. Orienting, if you observe for a while, won't seem all that crazy. The bees are calm and flying patterns. They will calming alight from the hive and repeatedly fly circles while facing the hive. And they seem to do it at similar times of day, each day.

It is not uncommon for the bees to buzz you or bump into you at any time. It is more curiosity than aggression. They really don't see well, so they will fly about, get close, check you out from different angles, and as long as you stay calm, they'll decide you really aren't that interesting and move along.

If you have robbing, you can place a "robbing screen" in front of your hive. It's surprisingly simple and surprisingly effective.
 

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By the time of your post, looks like you posted this question right after it happened? Which would be 3pm, around the time frame that hives 'usually' do mass orientations for the new bees (sometimes it goes till 4-5pm).

You say that you only have 1 hive, so it is very unlikely that it is robbing, specially given the time frame it was happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I guess I'm good with orientation flights. It was just incredible to see. I didn't know the hive had that many bees (slight exaggeration). I don't usually see the hive at that time of day but in subsequent days everything looks normal. Thanks for the insight.
 
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