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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After collecting swarm..."extra" bees? (or does this mean I really missed the queen?)

Hi everyone,

This has got to be the best beekeeping forum on the internet, I can't stop reading it :). I'm a newbie beekeeper and have a question about collecting swarmed bees. I collected a wild swarm today, which was located about 8 feet off the ground in an apple tree. I am 90% sure I got the queen, as I was able to bump/brush most of the bees off the branch into my bucket. After collecting most of the bees, and I was taping up the brood box for the drive home, I noticed that some of the bees that had been flying about while I was doing this had resettled on the branch in a much smaller bunch, but I wasn't too worried about getting these as well.

It was a nice apple tree...I couldn't really just cut off the branch :)

The homeowner called me later in the day, and told me that this mini-swarm was still there, and had grown a bit larger as well, probably when more bees settled back down on the branch. I am not too worried about having missed the queen, but my question is, are these bees sticking around in a mini-swarm just because the pheremones from the queen are still in this area? (or, perhaps all the sugar water I sprayed). Is this normal, and do beekeepers sometimes leave these extra bees if they can't get them all (I didn't have time to leave the brood box for them to crawl in). Lastly, will this mini-swarm break up and dissapear shortly? What happens to these now queenless bees?

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this!
 

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Re: After collecting swarm..."extra" bees? (or does this mean I really missed the que

Your mini-swarm are very likely just stragglers... bees that were out searching for a new home for your swarm, or collecting nectar & pollen for this new group of bees. As you say... 95% chance you've got the queen.

The best thing you could have done would have been put the swarm in a nuc box, and put it beside the tree. Leave it for a day. The stragglers will find this box. Then, in the evening when it's dark, block the entrance and move the nuc.

As for what will happen to the stragglers... they might return to the parent hive... or they'll just hang around, feeling rather annoyed... and eventually die.
 

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Re: After collecting swarm..."extra" bees? (or does this mean I really missed the que

Hi Vbees,
Swarms don't generally go too far from the hive. So if you really sprayed a lot of sugar water on the tree, it's possible that some of the bees you're seeing on the branch now are from the original hive just foraging the sugar water.
 

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Re: After collecting swarm..."extra" bees? (or does this mean I really missed the que

The very same thing is currently happening to me. Two days ago, I had a state trooper telling me a swarm of bees had settled into a man's tree in his front yard. I know the man and called him. I gathered up my equipment and bucket and off I went. I got the largest part of the swarm as I posted two days ago.

Well, this morning, I got a call from the man saying a baseball/tennis ball size cluster of bees had gathered on the same branch. I told him that it was the bees that were airborne as well as the scouts that had been searching for a new home. I am very confident I got the queen.

Personally, I don't want to chase baseball/tennis ball size groups of bees.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: After collecting swarm..."extra" bees? (or does this mean I really missed the que

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your replies on this situation. It's now 3 days later, and the smaller swarm of bees that I left on the branch are still there apparently. It's about the size of a smaller football I have been told (about 1/4 or less the size of the swarm I first removed. I went and checked on the first part of the swarm that I caught earlier in the week, and which is now in new hive....they seem to be hanging around, and although I still couldn't find the queen, I would be surprised if she wasn't in there.

So, that means that the bees that I left behind and that are still swarming are probably not with a queen. They could even be just feeding on the sugar water I sprayed as you suggested. The homeowner is anxious to get rid of these remaining bees. My follow up question to you is now, if there are a substancial amount of bees left, can I use these to make another hive? I would have to buy a new queen in that case, correct? Any suggestions on what to do with these bees?
 

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Re: After collecting swarm..."extra" bees? (or does this mean I really missed the que

well with my experience with a veteran bk, the worse thing you can say is the word pesticide, bk getting really affended by that word and with good reason, after i collected a swarm the lady did not want stragglers back on her tree. so my veteran bk said to dose that area where the hbees were with fuel oil, it discourages the bees from landing there and breaks up the scent of the queen and they move on their merry way. and it worked, went back days later and not a sign of a honeybee.
 

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Re: After collecting swarm..."extra" bees? (or does this mean I really missed the que

smoke works to rid the area of the scent too. as an aside, i dont consider myself to have hived the queen'till i see "fanning"-bees lined up, facing the entrance, butts in the air, and "fanning" with their wings. its a call to stragglers the queen is in this place.(by spreading her scent).
good luck,mike
 

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Re: After collecting swarm..."extra" bees? (or does this mean I really missed the que

i."...can I use these to make another hive? ..."
yes, or add to a weak one.
2."...have to buy a new queen ..."
or give'em a frame or 2 of eggs from another hive.
3"...what to do with these bees..."
start a nuc,do a newspaper combine with a weak hive..
 
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