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I have a beehive in our back yard that is totally thriving. At 8:30 in the morning yesterday bees were flying EVERYWHERE!!! Way up in the sky. It was amazing. I told my husband the bees were getting ready to swarm. (Been a beekeeper all of 2 months) Within an hour they where down on the outside of the hive. I was waiting for the rest of the bees to swarm out and fly as one. Didn't happen. Within a half hour they all went back in the hive. 1 1/2 hours total this went on. Next day, Sunday at 9:30 a.m. I was checking the hives through the back window and they seem to have less bees (Possibly swarmed without my notice) and they were moving inside the hive rapidly. It was uncommon for them and my husband who was watching the hive says "they're doing it again!" They poured out of the hive and flew way up in the air, flew back down on the hive and went back inside. This time the whole thing lasted 10 minutes! What's this all about??? Beekeepers I've asked have never heard of this. I really and truly was amazing to be among these fantastic bees at that time!
 

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Sounds like a trial run have you opened it up to see if a bunch were missing ? If not you might be able to split off the queen into a new box and shake a bunch of frames of bees in and make em think they swarmed so you can keep your queen, if it did swarm and they are doing it again it may be a secondary swarm
 

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I haven't opened up the hive since this started yesterday to check but looking through the windows in the back of the hive, in box 3 I can see all 8 frames of comb something I haven't seen in weeks because there were so many bees. So I'm guessing they must have swarmed later the first day. I did not realize the same hive could swarm twice in such a short time. Would they be flying off without a queen then?
 

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I haven't opened up the hive since this started yesterday to check but looking through the windows in the back of the hive, in box 3 I can see all 8 frames of comb something I haven't seen in weeks because there were so many bees. So I'm guessing they must have swarmed later the first day. I did not realize the same hive could swarm twice in such a short time. Would they be flying off without a queen then?
I ran across this video by rjones and he had something like that happen because of a virgin queen. Could your queen have been superceded and the hive followed the queen on mating flights? Just a thought.

http://youtu.be/ARvzOJuFt5c
 

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Sounds like normal swarm behavior to me followed by after swarms. The question is why are they swarming? What is the configuration of the hive and what if anything have you been doing?
 

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>At 8:30 in the morning yesterday bees were flying EVERYWHERE!!! Way up in the sky. It was amazing. I told my husband the bees were getting ready to swarm.

That sounds like a swarm, not a "getting ready to swarm".

>Within a half hour they all went back in the hive.

Are you sure they didn't just leave?
 

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Thanks Acebird for the video. Really interesting to watch how creative he was getting the bees back in the hive. From what I've learned about queen bees mating they fly out by themselves and the drones find her and mate with her in the air. Acebird I've had this hive just over 2 months. I'm using a Warre Hive with windows in the back. Once I knew the queen was laying I have not been in the hive but studying them from the windows and the entrance. I want to be as hands off as possible but still be able to watch them. I am in this for the bees so their swarming (though I worry that they found a safe place to live) is what I was hoping for. They were packed in this hive like sardines! There were so many in there I couldn't see the comb they were building in the 3rd box. (I have 4 boxes on it) The combs are very noticeable now so I'm sure they swarmed either before or after those flights in the air. Today everything looks back to normal and I am keeping a close eye on them.
 

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Hi Michael. My husband and I each watched both days when they flew way up into the trees and when they came back down landed on the hive and eventually went back inside. Saturday's flight was quick and they were back in the hive at around 10 minutes. I have a video I took during this that shows them swarming out of the hive and also returning into the hive. Would love to send you the video and get your input. My husband said he saw some of them that were way up in the hive take off but the majority of them came back. I don't know how to post it from my phone to here but I can send it to your email if you'd like.
 

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You might have been a bit late putting the fourth box on.

Anyway you had an opportunity to catch the swarm the old fashion way once they went back in. A net over the entrance would have caught the bees as they exited again, most likely with the queen.
 

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Wish I had your knowledge when this was all going on. I have an empty hive just waiting for a swarm. Now I know about this forum I will get more info next time something out of the ordinary happens. Thanks for jumping in with the advice. :) Thanks All!
 

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My new package hive just did the exact same this a few weeks ago. I split them and they still swarmed anyway. I caught the swarm and I now have 3 hives from my April 5 package that used a lot of already drawn comb. They left the hive twice and returned before the real swarm. It is really amazing to watch.
 

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It is so nice to hear from someone else who went through the same thing I did. It was so amazing watching them pour out of the hive and fly just absolutely everywhere and have a lot of them come back down into the hive two days in a row. I took tons of pictures and video of both days and I'm keeping a bee journal. So much has happened in just over 2 months. Lost my other hive to a drone laying queen. Waited to long to get a new queen and they are almost all gone. Could have used that hive had I found the swarm. Feel like I've been a beekeeper for months. :)
 

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After the bees left the hive twice did you get to see the actual swarm? Was it similar to the pre swarm flights? Where did they land and how far did they fly that you got to catch them?
 

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After the bees left the hive twice did you get to see the actual swarm? Was it similar to the pre swarm flights? Where did they land and how far did they fly that you got to catch them?
I did get to see the swarm. On the first day they swarmed and landed 80' up in a tulip poplar. My hear really sank, but then they returned. The second day, they just flew around and came back. The last swarm setteled in a small red bud tree 50' away from the hive. I cut a branch off and shook them in to a 5 frame nuc box. That was 2 weeks ago, but the queen is already laying a nice pattern. There is a picture of the swarm in my previous post

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?299155-Failed-Swarm&highlight=hautions11
 

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Saw your swarm photo. Pretty awesome. You're story was just like mine but you were fortunate enough to get them back. I never did see the swarm. Really wish I had. Had everything ready to get them, box and all! :) Thanks you for input and your past post as well. Good to hear other people had the same experiencse and helped explain it to me better. This forum is going to be a lifesaver!
 

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As a side note, the main hive did send a second swarm that I missed. I saw it landing high in a walnut tree 50' from the hive. It had to be 70' up though. Someone made the comment that virgin queens, usually secondary swarms, tend to land way up in a tree. The original primary swarm was only 20' off the ground. I got two splits off this hive, so if you have an extra box, you might think about doing that. Our nectar flow is so good here, my splits are doing really well.
 

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I didn't see the actual 1st swarm but I do believe my husband saw the second one on the second day. He mentioned there were a lot of bees up in our tree that took off while he was watching. Looking in the hive windows the following morning I could see it looked considerably less bees than the day before but still a good number. Not enough in there to make a split. So hopefully next spring if all goes well or I will order more bees for my second hive and have a third hive purchased and saved for future swarms! How do you survive the winters without seeing your bees? I check on my everyday (I have a chair right by them) and today it was 60 degrees and rainy and very few ventured out. I felt like I was going through withdrawals!
 
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