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While working outside today I heard the sound no beek wants to hear. Bees swarming on a tree 20 feet above me. 20 mins later they are moving back to the parent hive a 4 x 4 overwintered Nuc. I’d already done 2 splits in the last 2 weeks.

I am guessing either the queen didn’t leave with the initial swarm or she returned back to the hive.

Later in the day I found the queen and pulled her out on a frame and put her in a 2 frame Nuc for now. Hope I finally have suppressed the urge to swarm.
 

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When a swarm aborts then most likely the queen wasn't quite ready to fly and wasn't able to take off. They'll run her around and try again in a couple of days. I had an aborted swarm earlier this year and all the bees were staying outside. I started scooping them into another box, unsure of if I'd get a queen or not but hoping to at least keep some of the bees and maybe find her after they settled down a bit. I shook in a handful that I scooped off the side of the hive and saw a flash of green run down into the box. I picked up the frame and sure enough, there was the queen, she was outside the hive but unable to take off. It turned out to be a good thing, because the mother colony failed to requeen and I will be recombining.
 

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This also happens on queen mating flights in late spring. Occasionally in the summer too.

Clue is that there will be a lot of bees on the front of the hive fanning Nasanov pheremone calling the queen back. Lots of bees follow her, but she flys off and leaves them behind. They cluster up a while, usually rather slowly, and then filter back to the hive over 10 or 15 minutes.

Usually a trail of drones follwos the queen back to the hive if the drone congregation area is close, and you will find a couple dozen dead and dying drones on the ground in front after the queen comes back. Usually gone a couple hours.
 

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Good move creating an artificial swarm. I had a similar experience last week with a production hive that I was pushing with a great queen. I found her in a pan outside the entrance and caged her. I made splits into mating nuca with the swarm cells and put her cage back in the hive. All seems normal again and I have some nice little nucs for the future. If I missed any cells they might try again but the have two supers to expand and some new blank drawn comb.
 
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