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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We bought our house in fall '08 with a strong colony of honeybees in the garden shed. They came back last summer and swarmed (it was this AMAZING sight that got me interested in bees). I saw evidence of them in early spring - a few dead bees in the snow during a thaw, and what I thought was bee poop- but since it's gotten truly warm, nothing. Thought they left. Until today, when there were hundreds buzzing around and in and out of the old wooden shed. What is the deal?!?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow! You think? I bet there's a wall full of honey in there. Why would the former tenants have left? I'm looking for the emoticon that means wide-eyed with wonder.
 

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maybe the old tennants went to bee heaven over the winter or early spring. Not really sure of the timeline but yes its possible a new swarm found the old home.
 

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true, good call mark. Gonna have to watch the entrance intently and determine if it is robbing or a viable colony.
 

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Bees bringing in pollen would be a pretty sure sign that there is a colony in there. Skinny bees flying in and fat bees leaving would be a sign of robbing.
 

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Are bees with pollen coming in?? does it appear to be an orderly in and out routine or mass confusion?? Are there bees hanging out around the entrance like they are comfy and own the place?? Any fighting going on a the entrance?
 

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If you see them bringing in pollen you can assume they are living there. An abandoned house nearby had bees in there last year. I checked late winter and didn't see/hear anything. A couple weeks ago there was renewed activity so I'm guessing a new swarm moved in. This year I'm ready with a newly built bee vac!
 

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IMO, if bees were robbing honey left over from a colony that died over winter, you would have seen them long before today. It must be a swarm from another hive in the neighborhood that moved in today. Comb would have been left behind by the old colony and that is what attracted them. Standard practice is for beekeepers to put out empty hives to attract swarms and bait them with old pieces of comb. The old colony probably died-there are a lot of diseases and pests that afflict honeybees now. Are there any beekeepers in your neighborhood? A swarm this time of year should be able to build up stores of pollen and honey to make it through the winter. That's if they are not too suseptable to mites, etc. It's going to be interesting for you & your family to watch them. You might think about making a good water source nearby that will not be allowed go dry. That way they will be much less likely to get water from your dog's water bowl, swimming pool, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So here's what I saw today: It's 11:40 am, sunny, humid, and windy, about 78* out here in the hills. I think there are 2 entrances into the wall of the shed that the bees are using. I see some bees clustered around those holes, no fighting, but lots of bees going in and out (none of the ones going in seemed to have pollen) and lots more flying around near the shed wall. Pretty chaotic scene, but the past two years there has been similar frenzied activity back there. Could this type of activity occur if a new colony was trying to set up house?
Also, I wonder if "my" bees (my first, hived from a package 3 weeks ago and located across the road at least 500 feet away) would forsake their nice lavender hive to move in to the shed. They seemed quite at home when I checked them last week.
 
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