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Holy Swarm, Batman!!

1666 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  CentralPAguy
I had a very exciting morning today.

I went out to one of my beeyards in order to create nucs when I noticed that there seemed to be alot of bees that weren't going anywhere and I noticed the cloud of bees get darker and when I got over to my one hive, the bees were pouring out like someone turned on a faucet of dark water.....

Since I had an entrance reducer. I jammed a piece of cloth into the entrance and the pressure of the bees trying to get to the outside, pushed my entrance reducer up and the bees came pouring out underneath the entrance reducer -- So I jammed the entrance reducer back into the hive and probably crushed quite a few bees. But I think I saved thousands in the process.

Believe it, then I saw a cloud of bees coalescing on a small tree and I took a nuc over there and smacked them down into the nuc box. I know that this sounds crazy, but I did smell a different smell around the swarm bees. You know that when you go into the hives, the bees will sometimes put their butts into the air and release a strong banana smell that they are under attack. This smell was different.

Then the bees flying above my hive started descending and coming back to the entrance way and within 10 minutes, the whole event had completed.

I then started pulling full supers off expecting to see the bees come pouring out and they didn't, but they were in a roar. So, I pulled out the cloth out of the entrance reducer and some bees went back in, but most seemed to rest on the outside not quite sure what to do.

My thoughts are that when the bees are pouring out, the queen has already left and you can stop the bees from exiting in the midst of the swarm activity.
Once they have stopped the exiting, then you can take action to save major quantities of your worker bees.

Using the swarm cells, I then created two strong nucs.

Overall, it was exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. One for the beek.
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Glad I could help. You could have just let them swarm. The swarm when it comes out doesn't really go far and it's kind of a rush to be in the middle of it and following them. When I watched one of my hives swarm, and was right in the middle of it, the excitement of it all I think it was better than jumping out of a plane. Plus my neighbors now thinks I'm nuts. Maybe that will keep them from coming over!

Not sure I'd stop the hive up like that, just let them do their thing. Don't forget to leave one swarm cell in the parent hive, otherwise they aren't going to have a queen.
I did leave a couple of swarm cells in the box -- I figure whichever queen hatches first will take care of the remaining swarm cells.

In another beeyard, two of my hives swarmed as well, one this morning as well. I had just gotten there and the swarm was disappearing in front of my eyes -- I guessed that the queen left, so I batted the remainder of the swarm down into a spare nuc. Well, they were not to be denied their queen and they left as soon as they could.

If there is a good thing, I had just split those hives that swarmed -- So, I figure that I only lost 1/4 of the bees of each hive.
I got to thinking that perhaps I had two swarms occurring simultaneously.

The reason for me thinking that if the bees that were in the air, why didn't they fly over to the bees that were coalescing around the queen. They just returned back to the hive entrance, once I stopped the mass exodus.

Any thoughts??
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