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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've caught several swarms this year, but mostly in two locations repeatedly. I was checking one of them this morning and there were about 8-10 scouts, I believe, checking out the trap before moving in. They apparently not moved in because the bees were not actually coming and going or bringing in pollen etc, just buzzing around the entrance, crawling in a circular movement around by round entrance hole, wiggling their body and flicking their wings while advancing with jerky movements. Then they would go in the box and come right back out as though they were measuring the entrance and interior for size. It even appeared that they were doing a little dance on the front of the box and then communicating with each other like they were "discussing" the potential. I am expecting them to move in very soon now if it goes like my observations of the other scouts in the past I've watched. Very interesting to see them acting totally different than a colony of bees that live in an established hive. Any of you ever see them doing something similar to this?
 

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One way I know it is scouts vs scavenger bees there to clean out the comb frame I've put in, is that once I put a bait box out and it goes plenty of days without seeing any bees at the hive, and then suddenly there are bees going in and out, I know it's likely a swarm will be moving in within a few days. Usually by the next day if I see a lot of scouts. I too have seen them communicating with one another at the entrance. I have also had them scout for a few days and then disappear but most of the time a swarm moves in. It is so much fun to watch the process. Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've kept bees for about ten years now, but this is the first year trapping swarms. It's a blast! I've caught four swarms in a trap hanging on the same tree this spring already and I just moved a swarm to my home apiary tonight. I have several other traps I haven't checked in over a week around a couple of my out yards, so I may have another swarm or two when I go look tomorrow. None of my swarms have been really big, but they are gentle and working like the devil and they are building up pretty fast. Coming out of the winter, I had eleven hives to start the spring with and I'm trying to catch enough swarms and do a few splits so I can go into winter with about twenty two good hives which will give me a chance to go into next spring with at least twenty. Trying to build up to enough colonies to give me a bigger harvest than just the dozen hives I've had for several years. But I have a pretty good time catching these swarms of survivors.
 

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Surprisingly, a good sign of a potential swarm arriving is when they fight and kill each other.
 

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Surprisingly, a good sign of a potential swarm arriving is when they fight and kill each other.
Could you expound on this please? This is what is going on at a trap box I have set up. I thought perhaps it was two different swarm vying for the same trap. Why would scout bees from the same swarm fight?
Thanks
 

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I've kept bees for about ten years now, but this is the first year trapping swarms. It's a blast! I've caught four swarms in a trap hanging on the same tree this spring already and I just moved a swarm to my home apiary tonight. I have several other traps I haven't checked in over a week around a couple of my out yards, so I may have another swarm or two when I go look tomorrow. None of my swarms have been really big, but they are gentle and working like the devil and they are building up pretty fast. Coming out of the winter, I had eleven hives to start the spring with and I'm trying to catch enough swarms and do a few splits so I can go into winter with about twenty two good hives which will give me a chance to go into next spring with at least twenty. Trying to build up to enough colonies to give me a bigger harvest than just the dozen hives I've had for several years. But I have a pretty good time catching these swarms of survivors.
I know people say to set a trap back at the same location if you catch swarm. As I newbie I never really understood, do swarms from different locations find the same spot? or is the original hive swarming multiple times. If that latter, is there an easy way to tell I the swarm you caught is a secondary swarm? as I assume there would be no queen after the initial swarm. Does a secondary swarm still bring I pollen, etc like you are supposed to look for?
 

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I believe if the conditions are right that there is a waiting line forming. Case in point.... Set a trap at place of work 5-17. Pulled a swarm out 5-20. Reset it 5-23, pulled swarm out 5-26, reset and swarm arrived that afternoon. Transferred them and reset today at 9am. Rain stopped at 2pm and .... You guessed it. They must have showed up at 3 because about 4 I went out and there they were. I will be putting up a box when I pull that one Monday.
 

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There should always be a queen in a swarm. There are often many. What happens on the prime is the old queen leaves, then when the swarms cells emerge you often have the first queen kill the others and they don't cast swarms, but if two or more queens are in the hive you will normally have a secondary swarms.
 

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I have scouts teasing one of my boxes. It's literally been going on since April 1st (go figure). First sight there was about 50 bees. They been at it for a week measuring the box. Then suddenly disappeared for about a day last week. Just yesterday I seen 100's if not thousands doing the same routine on the box... It's a bit of a drive to check the trap every day but will be checking it in a few days. I'm guessing this is normal scout behavior with the wait?
 
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