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Hello all. I have 2 hives that I started this year. All was well until yesterday, and I'm not sure what the problem is (though I suspect both hives are about to swarm). In front of hive #1, maybe 5 feet away on the ground, was a mass of perhaps 1,000 bees just sitting there. So, I added an empty third hive body to the nearby hive (I don't have any more frames -- need to order some), scooped up the cluster as best I could (I did not see a queen, but she might have been there) and dumped them back into the hive they were in front of. Hive #1 seemed ok this morning, with a few stragglers buzzing around where the mass of bees had been. However, also this morning, I observed on the hive #2 bees crawling up the sides in clusters, while soldier bees were clearly attacking bees at the entrance and dragging them off. I have 2 hive bodies on each hive. I added the second bodies (with brand new foundations) maybe 3 weeks ago. When I checked them this weekend, they were pretty much built completely out and choked with honey and brood. I did not see any queen cells, but I only checked the top boxes, not the bottoms. Questions: Is my suspicion correct that this is swarm behavior? Regardless, what should I do? Do I (1) add supers ASAP so they can expand, (2) split the hives, which a friend suggested but I don't really know how to do, (3) let bees be bees and leave them alone, or (4) do something else? Please advise, and thank you for reading this far!!!
 

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When you first got your bees, did you get queens with clipped wings?
If so, that could explain why a swarm attempting leave with the old queen was on the ground, since she could not fly. If not, then I don't really know why they'd be on the ground.
 

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1."...I only checked the top ..."
thats not an inspection, and tells you...nothing.
2."... this is swarm behavior?..."
yes
3."... I (1) add supers ASAP ..."
maybe too late, and there is no way to tell unless you do a proper inspection to gather the facts.
4."...(2) split the hives,... I don't really know how to do..."
go to the library and get a good beginers book, join your local club and take some classes, do a search at the top of the page for "splitting hives"
5."...let bees be bees ..."
they'll swarm, and swarm, and swarm- till something stops'em- like disease or pests- then they'll die.
good luck,mike
 
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