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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday, as I was sitting by the hives watching for robbing behavior, one of my hives erupted and filled the air with a huge cloud of humming bees. I sat there with my eyes shut just enjoying the roar surrounding me. But then, instead of settling somewhere, the hoards seemed to be sucked back into the hive...almost like a rewind of the eruption. All of this happened within about 15 minutes.

This is the package hive that has swarmed four times this season. I caught and combined all of the previous swarms. Clearly I need some new genetics, but does anyone know why they had second thoughts? And why so late in the season?

Well, I hauled out my swarm lures from the freezer and checked the bait hives I hadn't yet put away and added a super to the hive. Any other suggestions? Will they try to swarm again today?

Beeing a beginner at this is so darned interesting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nope, it wasn't an orientation flight. If it was, it was practically my whole hive and bees exploded out of every opening. Orientation flights have been an everyday occurance and even though there are often a lot of bees, it was nothing like this. There were bees in a huge cloud all over the area, some clustering on bushes, some on trees all the way over to my pond.

About the time they started to group together the sky clouded over and there was some loud thunder. Wonder if that made them change their mind??? As usual, I'm clueless.
 

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One of the oldest bee tricks in the book is beat on a washtub or large cooking pot to make a swarm land so you can collect them. The old folks say the bees think it's thunder and the queen will land. I don't know what the bees think, but I've seen a number of swarms come out of the air and land when I beat on a piece of tin, metal pot, even on my extractor when it was setting in the yard being cleaned up after using it. Anything that makes a loud noise like that.
Does that explain the change of mind when it thundered?
 

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I never really, seriously believed the old "tin pan" trick...until one of my buddies shared a story of such a trick.

A swarm was on a metal fence post. My buddy set a hive body next to it, but they would not go in. Suddenly, the swarm started to take off, unwinding from the cluster on the fence post. With the bees in the air, his son, thinking quickly, picked up a piece of scrap metal, banged the metal fence post. The bees reversed, came back and entered the hive body.

Was this the reason for their return, or a mere coincidence?

If you read Frank Pellet's, "A Living From Bees," he says this trick started out, not as a method to ground a swarm, but to let other land owners know you are chasing a swarm and not intentionally trespassing. It was a method to alert the neighbors that you still had a claim on that swarm, lest the swarm on someone else's property and they felt it was now their property.

From the Revised edition, 1949, page 67-68

Whether or not the bees "hear" the banging, it seems to work. And at the risk of losing a swarm because I was standing there picking my nose wondering what they're going to do, I'll bang and clang anything if I thought it would help.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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I was in the chat room w/ fb the other day. He says he prefers the higher pitched tones for "calling down a swarm". He hits a rock against his hive tool.

Just another opinion.

Hawk
 

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just a thought, when I went to Purvis Brothers this year, they had a hive close to were we parked our motorcycle's, in about a minute the hive erupted with bee's and filled up the sky, I thought it was a swarm but soon found out it was cleansing flight, our bikes and us got covered with little yellow bee crap lol, we left and probably 100 bees on us and the bikes , went to the end of there dirts road and tried to clean up some, it was allot of bee's in the air in that few minute's. we never got stung but man they covered us up with crap. them little bee's been in that hive awhile. about 15 minutes they were back in the hive. just my 2 cents
 

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My grandmother went out banging trash can lids one day when one of my hives where swarming and I wasn't home. Seems like it was common knowlege at one time. I don't know if it worked though, I couldn't find the swarm or tell whether or not a hive had swarmed, so maybe?

Once, one of my hives where swarming, and begining to congregate on a branch. I got a little to excited, and went to try and catch the queen before they all settled. I was smoking it and moving the branch around trying to get to it when they dispearsed and best I could tell went back to the hive. One beekeeper suggested it was a mateing flight? I think it was just a swarm that went back home when it was overly disturbed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So much wonderful information in the minds of this group...you can read every book there is...and I almost have....but nothing beats hearing it directly from the beekeeper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Michael...You know, it could have been a mating or queen orientation flight because there was no swarming activity in the next two days as I was rather expecting there to be had it been a swarm. The only thing that doesn't fit is that I wasn't aware of a previous swarm recently enough to account for it. I could have missed it though. Bummer if I did.

Mabe
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well Michael, as usual, I think you have the answer.

They did it again today...in the space of 20 minutes they exploded out, filled the whole area with a ground to sky swirling mass of bees, and then the hoards quickly dissapated into the hive.

I think supercedure queen mating flights were exactly what I witnessed. But I had no idea the whole hive joined the party when the queen went out to find boys!

You experienced beeks are probably laughing at my naivette, but I am totally thrilled by all of this.

Mabe
 

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>I think supercedure queen mating flights were exactly what I witnessed. But I had no idea the whole hive joined the party when the queen went out to find boys!

It just seems like the whole hive.

>You experienced beeks are probably laughing at my naivette, but I am totally thrilled by all of this.

Not at all. Things like this are thrilling for all of us.
 

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This was just something I heard in passing, but if I was having trouble breathing in my house, I might step out for some fresh air...
 
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