I am in need of some opinion.
Twice now in the last month my beekeeping partner has called to tell me that "a small swarm" has formed and that I am welcome to it if I want.
Both these swarms have been about two cups of bees. I put the first in a nuc thinking it probably was the remnant of a swarm that had departed and that it would be gone the next day. Surprise; eggs and brood a week later.
Today I had cut some old comb and fitted it in tiny frames for a "baby nuc", the first I had completed for next year's effort. When my buddy called I just took this nuc over and shook the bees into it. I put it on a box under the branch where the bees had clustered and in l5 minutes this 8-inch cube was a going beehive.
Now, what I want to know is this: What in the devil are these bees doing, throwing tiny casts in mid-September? Am I picking up mating swarms? Are these bees accompanying a supersedure queen on a mating flight and then not going home? Are these the "surplus" queens from a group reared for supersedure? Is this a normal event? My friend's hives are healthy and working, but not particularly crowded. No indication that they are so crowded that they need space.
I have never seen this before---not that I have seen everything, but I certainly did not expect these tiny swarms. Please let me know what you think.