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Do swarrms sometimes change their mind

2747 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  A_Bee_Guy
I visited one of my out-yards the other day and found that one of my hives was swarming. As I got out of my truck, I heard that loud buzzing that accompanies bees when swarming. As I walked around and listened for where the swarm might be located, I found them up in the air about 50'. They were clustering on a branch, which was out of my reach.

I also noticed that there were large numbers of bees flying around a swarm trap I had set up. I totally expected to see the bees come down off the tree and go into my swarm trap. I have witnessed this before, and so I grabbed my camera, so I could get a video of the spectacle that I believed I would soon witness.

Instead, what I saw was the bees going back into the hive they had left. When all the excitement was over and things looked to have settled down, I went into the hive and found it seriously overcrowded. I checked for swarm cells and found one. I also looked for the queen and didn't find her. I'm not suggesting she wasn't actually in there, I'm just saying that I didn't find her.

My question is, do swarms sometimes change their mind, and go back to their hive after clustering on a branch? The branch they clustered on was bare after it appeared they went back into their hive.

Thanks in advance for the helpful comments.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
sqkcrk,

I believe there was open brood. I didn't see any eggs. There were so many bees in that hive, the bees were on top of each other.

The queen cell got opened slightly when I pulled it out, and there was indeed a white larvae in that cell. I closed up the small tear on the queen cell. There were bees all over the queen cell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What kind of split? Where did the queen go? Where are the queen cells?
Good questions. I'm going to go back out there and have another look inside that hive. I did several hive inspections yesterday. I just checked my notes and, unless I just wrote it down wrong, my notes said that I did NOT find any queen cells in that hive, nor did I find the queen.

Now, it's not real surprising that I didn't find the queen. I haven't always been real successful at that. But, based on what some of you have said, I need to go have another look in that hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In your situation, best plan would be to make several splits with a queen cell or two each, whether or not you can find the old queen. That's if you catch the hive before it has swarmed proper. Pretty certain there will be queen cells in there if you look hard enough.
When I do these splits, what else should I include in each split - a couple frames of brood and some honey? How many frames should make up my splits?

Thanks
 
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