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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I had a swarm from a well established strong hive. The bees are Italian, housed in two deeps, a queen excluder, and a medium full of wax foundation. Everythong is 10 frame. About mid afternoon the bees swarmed and formed a cluster around the trunk of a furr tree about 15 feet up from the ground. The cluster was about 3 1/2 feet long vertically and I would estimate that it had a volume of at least three basketballs.

I got a ladder up to the bottom of the swarm but hyad limited access due to all of the side branches so I had no easy way to retrieve the swarm cluster. There were still lots of bees bearding on the front of the swarm source hive and hanging from the landing board.

All of a sudden the air became alive with bees and I decdided I had lost them, but I attempted to track their flight direction. To my surprise they were headed back to their former hive and were marching in by the hundreds. By evening the bearding was gone and there were very few bees outside. I did add an additional medium super with 10 frames of foundation. This morning the situation appeared back to normal.

Question: Why did the bees swarm and later return? Were they just teasing me or telling me that they needed another super?
 

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If that is the case, they will swarm as soon as they get a virgin queen. You're better off finding those queen cells and splitting that hive down a bit to reduce the bees' urgency to swarm.

justgojumpit
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Swarm Returned

Chuck and justgojumpit ,

The queen's wings were not clipped although the behavour indicated that the queen was not with the swarm. Several days ago I had destroyed two queen cells in an attempt to prevent swarming. I may have to do a split but I hate to do so in advance of my honey flow.

The hive behaved normally today with lots of pollen coming in. However I did not open up and inspect today, but I will on the next sunny day.

Regards,
Steve
 

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You can do a cut-down split right before your honey flow, and the hive will even bring in more honey because they do not have open brood to take care of. Remove the queen and all open brood except for a frame of eggs. Let the bees raise their own queen replacement.

justgojumpit
 
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