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Just wanted to ask for some comments about swarms this time of year in California because I definately lost the better part of my largest of 2 hives today. I thought it was a little premature even for our warmer climate but sure enough I witnessed a cloud of bees flying around the hive and then my neighbor called and asked me to come get them because they were on her patio. By the time I suited up and walked next door they had boogied~ More than 1/2 of what I felt was a pretty hot hive has left town. This hive was a honey super factory in 2009, my first year as a beekeeper and they had become more protective and dominant each month until last a week or so ago when I was doing a routine inspection and found them very calm like my other hive. Interesting thing is that their honey production slowed as they calmed down too. In any case i saw no queen cells during inspections and really thought this honey machine would stick around at least until I made a decision to re-queen them in the Spring. Interesting observation is the hive that they were consistantly robbing has gotten a stronger in the last few weeks and now mounts an impressive guard force where there once was none. If swarms are anything like earthquakes then I guess all I can do is some dilligent work ahead of time and hope for minimal losses after it happens ?
 
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