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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a complete novice and have been given two hives last night and transported them 4 miles to my house. They were packed up and loaded after dark and this morning placed in their position in our garden. I had sealed up the entrance for the drive and when I got home, placed screening in front of the small reducer entry for both hives. It was a rather cool night with temps in the low 40s. This morning I moved the hives and was advised to remove the screening and slide the top cover to the open position. With in 45 minutes, one hive's front was covered in bees, the other not many came out (see picture). The bees were not aggressive and exhibited circling flight above the hive. When I returned an hour later, there were no bees on the front of the populated hive. Have they gone somewhere else? I was advised to wait a couple of days then open up the hive and see what's there. Some have said to keep the bees sequestered for a few days before release and others say that's not what bees like, particularly at this time of year. There's plenty of flowering and blossoming going on now.

Thoughts?

bees1.jpg
 

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I would inspect to see if it was a swarm or simply bees bearding. Look for capped swarm cells at the bottom of the frames. If you see some, they swarmed.
 

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I'm no expert, but what you did sounds fine to me. I think either all the bees are still there, or half left with a swarm. Either way, I'd be surprised if there aren't still bees in there. It's rare for bees to abscond (meaning all the bees leave) when there's brood present.

The circling bees were doing what's called "orientation flights". They're in a new area so they fly around their hive sort of memorizing where it is and what it looks like. (Or maybe they were swarming, but that tends not to look like "circling".)

In the unlikely case that they did abscond, PM me and I'll trade you a little nuc colony for a 6-pack of beer or something. :) I'm also in New Paltz, and have more bees than I can handle right now -- they all overwintered and I had to make splits earlier this spring to prevent swarming.

Anyway, I recommend Randy Oliver's guide for first year beekeepers. It's short and informative. Also, probably better to post your questions in the "Beekeeping 101" thread. I'm still asking questions there myself...
 

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I'd give them a day or so and then inspect. Report back!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks very much for your reply. We had rain last night and it's a pretty gloomy morning and all things very quiet in the hives. Good to know you're in town. I'm doing this with a neighbor who has some experience with bees and I took a weekend course with Chris Harp a couple of years ago. If they've moved on, I'll let you know and perhaps we can work something out. I have chickens, so I'll throw in some fresh eggs!
 

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They were probably agitated more then the others, maybe overheated a bit. I’ve have colonies do that after I’ve unstoppered them after moving them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It appears the one hive bearded then left because there was no sign of a queen other than two queen cells. And, there were far less inside than gathered on the front of the hive. So it appears a portion flew the coop leaving about 1/3 with a lot of drones behind.

We checked around the neighborhood but there’s no sign of them.

The other hive looked very good. We found the queen and there were far less drones.

As far as our friend could tell there were signs of swarming inside.

No outward signs of mites but a couple of beetles. We broke off some comb so had our first taste of honey from our backyard.

Our friend recommended adding a box with trays on the hive with the apparent missing queen. She thought that if one of the cells produced a queen, we should be ready. There were several unoccupied queen cells so maybe we missed her. Hard to tell.
 

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They were probably agitated more then the others, maybe overheated a bit. I’ve have colonies do that after I’ve unstoppered them after moving them.
:thumbsup:
 
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