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been keeping bees for a few yrs now. witnessed my first swarm, super cool. they came from my hive, festooned on a fir branch for about 20 min and then went home when a thunderstorm started to roll in, is this behavior common? also i scrapped together a deep box with honey and old brood frames to entice them. i was excited to climb a tree, but hoping this method might be easier. any experience withthis?
 

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Generally means the queen couldn't fly or go with them, they land somewhere but it takes them around that long to figure they are queenless and they return to the hive. If the queen is unable to leave or killed, they will swarm again with one or more of the virgins when they hatch.
 

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so would this be a good time to do a split with the old queen if I can find her? this hive was aggressive yesterday, i got stung twice....
i will suit up for this one. is it possible she just wasnt on board with the plan? she lays like crazy!
 

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so would this be a good time to do a split with the old queen if I can find her?
Yes, it’s alone a matter of time/weather permitting before they leave again. I would make multiple splits with the q cells in there & if you find her that’s a bonus;), Still May not prevent them from swarming again, depending on how you make the splits & if the first q cell out decides not to go sting her sisters..
 

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Agreed, when a hive is about to swarm is the very best of times to make a split / splits.

And if you don't, they may swarm and you might lose the bees anyway, so, splitting can be a good plan.

About the old queen. If she was not able to fly at that swarm attempt, the bees can chase and harass them to try to make them fly, and if they cannot fly, it can lead to the death of the queen. So, she might still be in the hive, but she might not.

If you just cannot find her and do not know if she is there, a very simple way to do a split is to move the entire hive to a new stand. Then set up the new hive at the original place and move a few very carefully looked at combs of brood with at least one queen cell to the new hive. Bear in mind there will also be bees added by drifting as flying bees return to the original site so don't overdo how many bees you add. In the one you moved away leave at least one queen cell incase they don't have the laying queen any more. But if they do have the laying queen they probably will not swarm now because they will lose a lot of bees to the new hive.

Don't put the hives right next to each other, they should preferably be at least 20 yards apart, at least until they both have laying queens.
 
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