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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two hives in my back yard that were started from hybrid italian/carniolan packages at the end of March. Today they each completely fill two deeps, and one has half filled a medium super with honey. Saturday I added a medium to both hives.

I walked out to visit the hives on Sunday evening, and found a swarm of bees about the size of a softball up in one of the trees nearest to the hives. I have had a bait hive setup for about two weeks now, so I took it down and knocked the swarm into the hive. It looks like they will stay, but I am wondering if these are my bees or if they came from another colony somewhere. My area is about half suburbs, but they end at my back yard, which faces about 15 acres of woods.

Looking at my other hives today, it seems like there are just as many bees in them as when I checked them on Saturday. The traffic looks no different from before the swarm. At my last inspection I found fresh eggs in both and found the queen in one, who looked like she was far from flying weight.

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I read somewhere that bees when swarming will congregate 50 to 100 feet from their original hive while looking for a new home. I don't know of any other managed hives in my area, but with such a small radius for them to travel from, I find it hard to believe that there is a wild hive that close. Is it possible that the smell from the trap and the existing hives could have attracted a wild swarm to my back yard?

I plan on checking on them in a few days to see if there is a queen in there, along with checking my other hives to take a head count and double check for queen cells. Has anyone here experienced only a small swarm leaving a hive without a queen?
 

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Congrats on the swarm. Regarding where it's from check your hives for swarm cell remnants and lack of eggs. Regarding a small swarm leaving... it wouldn't really change your entrance traffic loosing a softball sized ball of bees.
 

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If you had fresh eggs in both your hives, the swarm is probably not from your hives.
I know this is generally the case, but I had first hand experience with the opposite.

My first hive/package of bees....they drew out about a frame of comb, queen laid eggs in a good pattern...then they left. I managed to find them and return them to the hive and have been fine since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, we opened up the hive, and found a queen that does not look like the Italian/Carni hybrid that we have in the other hives.

Can anyone ID the breed of queen? Also, to me it looks like a virgin queen. Can anyone confirm?

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I am also at a loss at what to do with such a small swarm. The whole swarm is about four to five times the amount of bees in the picture...
 

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Well, we opened up the hive, and found a queen that does not look like the Italian/Carni hybrid that we have in the other hives.

Can anyone ID the breed of queen? Also, to me it looks like a virgin queen. Can anyone confirm?

I am also at a loss at what to do with such a small swarm. The whole swarm is about four to five times the amount of bees in the picture...
You could look at it as a free queen.

Shane
 

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Well, we opened up the hive, and found a queen that does not look like the Italian/Carni hybrid that we have in the other hives.

Can anyone ID the breed of queen? Also, to me it looks like a virgin queen. Can anyone confirm?

View attachment 19019

I am also at a loss at what to do with such a small swarm. The whole swarm is about four to five times the amount of bees in the picture...
Give them some capped brood if you can spare it. If she's not laying it might not be worth the effort though.

A carni queen can throw a striped queen as a daughter, italian can throw a striped or dark queen... it's all about genetics and they are all mutts. Don't worry about what she looks like, worry about what her colony looks like.
 
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