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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had some strange behavior at the hives today, hoping someone might have had similar that can explain this? I have 5 hives, four were 3lb package installs, 1-2-3 are very strong, 4th was requeened and is just catching up. 5th hive was a swarm that almost moved into my garage in some empty hives about 3 weeks ago, until I set the hive body outside! All five hives have lots of room in uppper deeps/supers on 3hives.

Today, at the fifth (swarm) hive I noticed a large amount of activity, maybe 100+ bees buzzing entrance, saw a few fanning the entrance out (putting scent out like when a swarm arriving). The activity dropped down. I than looked at 4th hive (weaker) and saw exact same activity 1/2 hr later, this time easily a dozen bees at landing board, fanning scent out, 100 bees or so all over the front of hive. No apparent robbing activity, no fighting. This fourth hive is right next to the three other (strong) hives. Eventually that activity went down, now all 5 are back to normal. Any idea what it might be? It seems odd a 'swarm' would try to move into a hive that has queens/brood/food (confirmed both a few weeks ago) without a fight. Either way it was pretty exciting to watch. Brad in Michigan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I thought that too but pretty sure it was not that, they were really pretty crazy flying, not lazy circles.

It's the dozen bees fanning outwards, that just made it look like they were putting the scent out for the rest of the 'swarm' to know where home is. I saw the exact same activity 3 wks ago when the swarm arrived in that 5th hive. And today to have that activity in two separate kind of 'weaker' hives 1/2 hr apart, was just weird. I've never read or heard of a swarm mixing in with an established colony before, and this is what it looks like was happening.
 

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come watch mine. you can see hundreds and hundreds doing exactly what you describe. It's orientation flights along with hive cooling. every evening at about 6 p.m. they do it...awesome to watch
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm not totally new, it sure doesnt look like orientation flights to me. The fact they are fanning the entrance with all the activity out front is what was surprising. And both of my weaker hives that have had very little activity up until this point, now having a HUGE amount of activity with the fanning, is totally out of character, and caught my eye. My 1-2-3 hives have had orientation flights, but not fanning with it, and easy flight patterns.

How about this question? Is it common for a small swarm to move in to an established hive?

Thanks for all the replies, this was a pretty neat thing to watch today. These bees keep you thinking thats for sure.

Brad
 

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The details are hard to figure out by some text rather than seeing it, but there are many atctivities that are often confused with swarming including orientation, bearding, queens flying out to mate... and of course there is swarming...
 

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I opened a new split about 2 months ago to check for a laying queen and up bees went everywhere...all of a sudden i heart a pitch change and i look up and staring at me from about 8 inches is my queen, hover...then like that she was gone. My heart SANK. Didn't know what to do as a newbie so I just kept inspecting. Lo and behold, 10 minutes later i look up and there she was agin. She hovered for a sec down to the frame and then disappeared back into the bottom box. Saw her 2 more times as I finished. It was the scariest, coolest thing i had seen up till that point. 2 weeks ago i was inspecting a frame and saw 2 queens duking it out in this rather funny looking dance thingy......fat queen won....LOL.
 
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