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I know there are lots of variables, but for a typical swarm under typical conditions, how far will it travel before setting down either at its new home or at a temporary spot while the scouts look for a new home?

TIA

--shinbone
 

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Here in north central Arkansas the average distance from the hive the swarm would travel before choosing a cluster location would be less than 100 yards. Before last year I can remember only 3times when a swarm failed to cluster before flying away to their final colony location. Those three times the swarm flew directly into stacked and empty deep hive bodies with attached bottom boards that were in the same bee yard. Last year I had 2 small swarms that left their parent colony and went directly into already occupied 5 frame nuc boxes.

This area is mostly woodlands with areas cleared and in pastures. The swarm has many choice spots on which to cluster. The fence rows around my bee yard is mostly grown up in cedar trees. They are magnets for swarms.
 

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How long will a swarm stay in a cluster before leaving for a new home?
Do you have to drop everything and run to get them before they take off or do you have a while to get things together?
 

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WDVC, there is no time limit.
Some swarms seem to have been scouting for places to go BEFORE swarming, as within 1/2 hour or so of swarming, they fly off to their new home. Others may be there for days, and there are the odd swarms that for whatever reason, never do go anywhere and just start building comb where they are.
If I get a swarm call, I try to get there ASAP, because you just never know how long they will be there.
 

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The old timers would say the "normal" swarm will bivouac in sight of the parent hive.

Where they ultimately settle, is of course constrained by suitable nesting sight locations, but common sense would dictate that they would move (if possible) far enough away not to put grazing pressure on the parent hive. The density of forage will determine how far they must travel to not compete with the parent hive.

Crazy Roland
 

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I am no expert, I just started bee keeping last year. I did set up a swarm trap this year in my residential back yard. I used a 5 frame NUC with two frames of drawn comb and a Q-tip of Lemon Grass Oil. The very first day/hours I had bees guarding it, it took the swarm 3 days to show up. They guarded that hive until the rest showed up. It was very cool to watch, I missed the swarm taking over by probably no more that 2-3 hours. I guess there is no way of knowing if this swarm flew straight from the old hive or if they clustered first, but my thought is they flew straight from the old hive due to the bees guarding it for three days with rain in-between. I would like to know how far they flew but who knows.
 
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