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Something I've always wondered; the smaller swarm season that occurs in August/ September, what purpose does that serve the bees? It seems suicidal to me for them to swarm that late in the season, especially here in upstate NY. Can anyone enlighten me?
 

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Hello AG,

From readings and pondering.

those hive that end up Queen less, with combs and stores, a queen rite swarm comes in that hive makes it.

too many bees to winter in the place they are at, the "swarm" may save the remaining bees, by leaving.

Sudden habitat change, tree falls over , beavers flood a place. May be leave or die.

What if they clung to a mast of a ship..... could be in a warmer place in a week and make it.

Many swarms do not make the first winter these are just a few more.

A big enough swarm can take over a weaker hive with good stores.

there are reasons, I would tend to agree they likely do not make it , or they save a dying hive.

GG
 

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Interesting. Late summer swarms used to be unknown in my country, but over the last several years, while still unusual, are becoming more and more common. Nobody seems to know why.

Not talking absconding, but genuine swarms.
 

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In my mind, it must be from superceder that they also send off a swarm "just in case" they can make it. With strong fall flows perhaps they might just send off a small swarm, but even then, I think it's more of them making sure they have a good fresh queen for over wintering in the main hive left behind.
 

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Something I've always wondered; the smaller swarm season that occurs in August/ September, what purpose does that serve the bees? It seems suicidal to me for them to swarm that late in the season, especially here in upstate NY. Can anyone enlighten me?
I would say that there's an error embedded within your question. When something 'happens' in the environment, it will always have a cause, certainly - but to then go one stage further and suggest that it has a purpose is, I suggest, somewhat teleological (def. relating to or involving the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise.)

So maybe there isn't a purpose - it just happens.
LJ

PS. bit like lemmings throwing themselves off a cliff, or whales stranding themselves on the beach. There will be a cause, certainly ... but "purpose" ?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would say that there's an error embedded within your question. When something 'happens' in the environment, it will always have a cause, certainly - but to then go one stage further and suggest that it has a purpose is, I suggest, somewhat teleological (def. relating to or involving the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise.)

So maybe there isn't a purpose - it just happens.
LJ

PS. bit like lemmings throwing themselves off a cliff, or whales stranding themselves on the beach. There will be a cause, certainly ... but "purpose" ?
Essentially an error within a population of bee's that has yet to be corrected by evolution? And resulting in their demise/ the demise of their mother hive everytime. I guess... I would be interested to know what proportion of colonies tend to swarm late in the season and whether its more common with a certain variety; like the Italians perhaps since they are a warmer climate bee compared to Russians. I hope more people chime in with their own experience!
 

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I have one that is about 2 frames strong that is queenless that has been flying around for a week or more. The bees just make dumb decisions. (kinda)
They are slaves to their programming and when they feel stimuli they go with it no matter if their chances of survive are incredibly poor. Things like this is why I firmly disagree with those who think the bees always know best and can do anything. Honeybees are nowhere close to perfect even if they are amazing. The skilled beekeeper needs to understand the honeybees shortcomings more than the bees strengths in order to become an effective partner with the bees. We split hives in summer to retard fall swarming but it still happens to a degree. A hive that issues a swarm in a time of the year that is odd is out of the breeding program in a instant here.
 

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Bees don't "always know best".

But the Nature ruthlessly weeds out the idiots and the unfit.
Unfortunately, the Humans propagate the idiots and the unfit - then we have what we have.
 

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I have seen it proposed that some randomness is essential to provide fodder for selective evolution, or, on a shorter time base, local adaptation to occur.

In natural surroundings the bees that swarm out late may build comb that could be used for a head start for another timely swarm the following season. As mentioned previously, their leaving might also increase the survival odds of their originating colony.

Survival in nature is assessed at the species level, not the individual colony.
 

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What's the purpose of me hitting my thumb with a hammer?
 

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What's the purpose of me hitting my thumb with a hammer?
No purpose.

Important question is - do you do this over and over and over and never stop OR you do it once and stop (because it hurts).
Do refine your question.

This is just a genetic programming error IF you do this repeatedly.
If you are programmed to repeatedly be hitting your thumb with a hammer - you will loose your thumb eventually or you die yourself of gangrene.
Since we don't see many thumb-less people around - it seems to me, these people have been selected out.
:)
 

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some randomness is essential to provide fodder for selective evolution,
that's bees to a T, massive amount of genetic recombination providing random combinations to be tested out

Late summer swarms used to be unknown in my country, but over the last several years, while still unusual, are becoming more and more common. Nobody seems to know why.
If I had to guess.....
swarming may provide survival fitness to the main hive in the face of varroa,as may a fresh young queen going in to winter
drones that have been parisitized have an almost zero chance of mating, so mating later in the season when mite levels are higher would likely have a much higher percentage of resticant genetics flying about the DCA compared to spring

arguably this used to be much more common as in skept beekeeping a swarm throwing a swarm was more or less standard... may have been cavity size, but I am sure some genetics played a role.. sure the swarm won't make winter, but it would provide some honey and wax on the late flow when harvested
 

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With a strong fall flow, a lot of these swarms might make it. Think how fast a new hive from a swarm builds comb and fills it.

A lot of the genetics comes from the south anyway, where the seasons are long and not much cold. Farther north it wouldn't work, but it might in Florida or south Texas so our northern bees are out of sync with the environment.
 

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With a strong fall flow, a lot of these swarms might make it. Think how fast a new hive from a swarm builds comb and fills it.

A lot of the genetics comes from the south anyway, where the seasons are long and not much cold. Farther north it wouldn't work, but it might in Florida or south Texas so our northern bees are out of sync with the environment.
That thought makes me think (from what I've seen) could that be the results of packages and nuc's coming from southern breeders that are not acclimated to norther climates. This is my first year and I bought 5 frames nuc's from a local breeder, (Italian mutts) from local hives. Now I haven't face my first winter yet but so far, so good-impressive growth and honey production so far with few pest issues. I had looked a sources from the Carolina's and Florida had learned in a beekeeping class to stay local.
 

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If I was a group of bees in a hive that had picked up pesticides all summer long, nad hence had contaminated comb It might just be a smart thing for half of us to go start over and make fresh comb.

Crazy Roland
 

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Bees don't "always know best".

But the Nature ruthlessly weeds out the idiots and the unfit.
Unfortunately, the Humans propagate the idiots and the unfit - then we have what we have.
there is some truth to that but what you said is not the full truth as we first derived our bees from nature. If it had an ideal bee for us we wouldn't have messed with it so much. most are only good at reproducing faster than they perished. Many wild honeybees are just good for a little local pollination here and there which is better than nothing but as beekeepers we want colonies that excel in certain categories. Whether wild or no a hive will perish at some point. Due to a bad year, a predator at the wrong moment etc. After catching and cutting out bees for many years I would much rather have the stock I select. They survive better and make fewer dumb decisions.
 
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