Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
568 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I got a call from a friend that bees were "all over the side of his house". So I grabbed a deep and some frames of comb and headed over. Walking to the back of his house I see a few dozen bees flying around. There is goldenrod plant flowering there so I watched for a while. Very few bees paying attention to the goldenrod..?? So I look around the yard and see lots of honeybees flying around other buildings.?? They didn't seem to be exactly orienting, just flying in a general area. I watched for a while and see that some leave and fly East, some South.So I went back to the truck and the box in the bed is getting swarmed. So I set this up on the East side of the house pouring some honey on 2 of the empty frames and left.

I don't get 100 yards down the road and see an elderly gentleman getting his mail. I stopped and inquired if he knew anyone with bee hives in the area. Nope. But he says, storm took down a hollow oak tree this past summer and it had a big hive in it, just up the fence row, and I received permission to investigate. Walking up his driveway I hear bees, quite loud buzzing.
There is a standing hollow oak tree with a lot of activity up about 20 ft. There are bees flying up and down the tree for about 15 ft. and hundreds flying around the entrance. I shot a video but am not sure how to post that.

So the question is; Is this hive preparing to swarm? Who knows. But at least I may have some prime hive trap locations for next year. My hives show minimal activity today. With temps in the low 70's which is very unusual for November I wonder if they simply aren't finding much forage.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,808 Posts
Crazy as it sounds, you are describing classic swarm prep IMO. Do you have resources to give them to help them make it through winter?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
568 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Crazy as it sounds, you are describing classic swarm prep IMO. Do you have resources to give them to help them make it through winter?
I can try to fake it. I have some pollen sub and honey. I can check the other hives and maybe re-balance resources. I have hive top feeders as well and could feed a lot of sugar syrup to boost carbs. I was planning on putting some sugar/honey blocks in this winter anyway. Time to dust off my wood shop and build some more boxes. Maybe an insulated box to maximize efficiency? I have about 5 days of warm 70's weather according to the forecast. So I can scramble and try to get the girls comfortable should the trap get filled up. The oak tree that originally had bees in it is only 40 yards further up the fence row. Totally wrecked by the storm. My guess is that the bees moved the least possible distance to the other hollow tree. I obviously have no idea how big that hollow is. I have thought about going beehive hunting from my friends house because we see bees there on his flowers in good numbers and don't know of any hives kept within 2 miles. Lots of woods.

It seems really strange that the bees would swarm now when their population should be shrinking going into winter. I wonder if the unusual warm weather has caused them to think it is spring. I have extra swarm traps so I might set more out should there be a caught swarm tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
Bee Wrangler
Joined
·
735 Posts
I have picked up a couple of fallen bee trees and the stress and death of many bees lets the hive beetle get a good foot hold. When this happens the beetles will eventually chase the bees out of the hive.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,808 Posts
Remember that the bees could be swarming from mite pressure in the parent hive. Assuming they move in, I would hit them with OAV as soon as you get them home. No need to take chances, they will either survive or they won't. But there is no need to bring additional mites into your apiary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,335 Posts
I can try to fake it. I have some pollen sub and honey. I can check the other hives and maybe re-balance resources. I have hive top feeders as well and could feed a lot of sugar syrup to boost carbs. I was planning on putting some sugar/honey blocks in this winter anyway. Time to dust off my wood shop and build some more boxes. Maybe an insulated box to maximize efficiency? I have about 5 days of warm 70's weather according to the forecast. So I can scramble and try to get the girls comfortable should the trap get filled up. The oak tree that originally had bees in it is only 40 yards further up the fence row. Totally wrecked by the storm. My guess is that the bees moved the least possible distance to the other hollow tree. I obviously have no idea how big that hollow is. I have thought about going beehive hunting from my friends house because we see bees there on his flowers in good numbers and don't know of any hives kept within 2 miles. Lots of woods.

It seems really strange that the bees would swarm now when their population should be shrinking going into winter. I wonder if the unusual warm weather has caused them to think it is spring. I have extra swarm traps so I might set more out should there be a caught swarm tomorrow.
Lucky you Trin, I would try and save those bees. If you have any dry pollen you could try that, you have s few days for them to forage on it and store it up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,141 Posts
It seems really strange that the bees would swarm now when their population should be shrinking going into winter.
Indeed

I wonder if the unusual warm weather has caused them to think it is spring.
I believe they are smarter than that. They are very tuned in to the seasons and the length of the days.

Fall absconding swarms are tiny and come from near dead hives, what you describe sounds like too many bees for that.

What it sounds like to me is a hive dying and being robbed. In such cases the robbing bees will often be canvasing surrounding buildings etc, and anything that smells good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,141 Posts
3 weeks since the event, what happened? Is the hive in the tree still alive?
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,808 Posts
Trin?
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top