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Discussion Starter #1
I went home at lunch today and saw the dreaded swarm frenzy outside my package hive. Ugh. There are a few 20' red buds near by, but noooooo, the girls picked a branch 80' up in a poplar tree. I walked over to the hive and most bees were heading in to the hive. I walked around the huge poplar tree and could see the swarm setteling on a branch. About 15 minutes later I saw a huge bunch of bees flying around in front of the hive. I thought " oh no a second swarm. Double ugh! The frenzy in front of the hive got smaller and smaller and bees were going in to the hive. Walking around the poplar tree, the swarm on the branch was much smaller. Another 15 minutes had almost no swarm on the branch and most bees back in the hive. I have never heard of this. Anyone out there ever seen a swarm leave and then come back? Thanks for your help.
 

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The only time I saw this was when one of my hives replaced their queen. The old queen left the hive and a mini swarm followed her. After about 20 minutes most of the bees returned back to the hive. She stayed on the branch for a few days with a handful of loyal bees. When she finally died I assume the rest of the bees returned to the original hive.
 

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The only time I saw this was when one of my hives replaced their queen. The old queen left the hive and a mini swarm followed her. After about 20 minutes most of the bees returned back to the hive. She stayed on the branch for a few days with a handful of loyal bees. When she finally died I assume the rest of the bees returned to the original hive.
Interesting. One of our hives swarmed 1.5 weeks ago, 30' up in a nearby tree. They stayed for about 4.5 hours, and left. We didn't see them fly off. But I noticed that there was a baseball sized cluster that remained on that branch. I checked yesterday evening and that same cluster, although a lot smaller, is still there. We did an inspection of the hive shortly after the swarm left and there was a lot of bees still there, capped brood, queen cells, larvae, etc. Makes me wonder if the queen is in that cluster and those bees are staying with her.
 

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H11:
One of our hives did that this year, and the next day at the same time, they did the real thing (got to catch them though). You should split the hive (artificial swarm) ASAP.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
PLC I am short boxes right at the moment, since I just made two new hives from swarm cells. The real odd thing here is I did a swarm split on this hive last week. I removed the marked queen aleady. I put some swarm cells in there from another hive. The queens could have hatched already and they are leaving with a virgin or hewly mated queen. I did swing by the hive today and it does not look like they are swarming today. Really odd.
 

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Sometimes they have a dry run and return to the hive, but they most likely will swarm for real the next day or two.
Yup. This happens all the time but we are not always there to see every swarm. Hence the reason some say they "never" have lost a swarm from their hives.
Better check them ASAP because they will leave.
I've also come to learn that more often than not a swarm that picks a high location to first cluster to is one that has a virgin queen. This may or may be the case for you because I'd suggest the queen was not convinced to leave the first time you saw them swarm out.
I hate seeing a swarm leave the hive. I wish they would just wait until I was not there to witness it. Sometimes these things have no manners.
Hate it or not seeing a swarm in progress, clustered (my favorite) or flying is a sight and sound to behold. There is nothing like the aroma of a swarm and there is no way to describe the sound that a large swarm makes as it is flying away (tears)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OK, this is really weird, but Igot to see the wonderfull site all over again last evening! Instant replay and they came back to the hive. I did not see them cluster anywhere today, but they definatley came back. Sooooo, I scrounged a really ratty old 10 frame deep, cut a 2" wide opening on the bottom, and screwed a piece of plywood to it. I had an old inner cover, and cut another piece of plywood for the top. I gathered 10 deep frames, put on my ultra breeze jacket and did a walk away split. I tried to get them 50/50. The base hive has more honey, but I concentrated on brood and queen cells in each hive. I have my fingers crossed, but I bet the original hive does not swarm again. The new hive looks a little ratty, but there are a good 5-6 deep frames of brood. If I can get them to re-queen, I think I will be OK. Wish me luck!
 

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Good work. Sometimes I get so frustrating trying to figure out what move to make when a new situation arises. Seems like you did the right thing. As you know the bees don't care if the hive is ratty. I actually believe they prefer damaged old equipment. Many a swarm has moved into old discarded equipment that's been laying around the bee yard.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This hive is the most contrary bunch of bees I have ever met. Above I noted 2 failed swarms out of this hive. I did a 50/50 split on all the brood to a new box last week. Today, home at lunch, another swarm and they setteled 20' in a small red bud tree. Yea, I can recover them.


I am out of boxes, I will have to build something tonight. Wow. I may throw them in a cardboard box for a while and try to hive them later. This is the strangest thing I have ever seen. Any comments???

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter #12
One other question of the more experienced. I have three new splits in a couple of 10 frame deeps and a 5 frame deep. Should I try to combine this group with the weakest split out of the three? Newspaper combine? Obviously this swarm has a queen and my 10 frame spits probably only have queen cells. Thoughts?

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I did get the swarm out of the red bud tree! I tried the bucket on a pole method and failed miserably. Ended up on a ladder, chain saw, tied the branch up and slowly lowered it to the ground. I picked my weakest split and put the swarm in that 10 frame deep. It only had three frames worth of bees. We will see how they do. We still have a decent flow, as far as I can tell. Basswood trees just started to bloom this week and there is lots of clover. Chestnut trees are just opening now, but that is mostly pollen versus nectar.
 
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