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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Mitch, are you familiar with thousands of bees doing an orentation flight? It looks like what you are describing.
Hi, JW -- orientation flights I'm familiar with (including the characteristic "figure 8" form), but this ball of bees was really large and over an area in front of the hive stand maybe .... 20'X20'? And they weren't doing the figure 8 -- it was mostly just a loose ball of bees flying helter-skelter. Does that mean anything? Maybe the figure 8 is optional with 'em?Mitch, are you familiar with thousands of bees doing an orentation flight? It looks like what you are describing.
I think your right about the swarm aborting because of the queen not being able to fly because a few times I've managed to scoop the aborted swarm off the front of the hive and get the queen. It worked most of the times I tried it. Obviously she was outside but unable to leave. I had one a couple of weeks ago. By the time I got there there the swarm had aborted and there were three to four pounds of bees hanging off the front of the hive. I grabbed an empty box and bottom board with some comb and just started scooping bees off the front of the hive. I figured if I got the queen great, if not I'd give them some eggs in a few days. I had left the office and I didn't have time to get into the hive to hunt for the queen. As I dumped a handful of bees on top of the frames I saw a flash of bright green (she's marked) run down into the hive. I lifted that frame and there was the queen. She was still large so I'm almost positive she wasn't able to fly yet, hence the aborted swarm. I finished scooping bees in and moved it to a new location. I haven't been into the mother hive yet, but it should have a mated laying daughter queen by this weekend. The mother-queen has mean-ish girls, I had plans to replace her.Regarding "trial swarms," it is my opinion there is no such thing. Honey bees know how to swarm, it is a natural instinct, they need no practice. There are aborted swarms, and this is what mlanden saw.
Over the years I have seen many aborted swarms. The swarm begins to depart and for some reason the queen, either a mature or a virgin, is unable to depart with the swarm. The swarm circles, realizes the queen is not with it, and returns to cluster on the hive from which it departed.
Ugh...you did a split and they still swarmed?Well, it happened -- today the hive did a de facto swarm. I put a bait box into my front yard's swarm tree (the hives're in the back yard), but ... no takers as of nightfall. The swarm took place at 2 p.m. I don't see the bee clump anywhere now, either.
Opened the hive post-swarm. The top medium (on for a week) hadn't been touched at all, despite my feeding the hive. I got into the next lower 2 mediums, but didn't examine all frames; the girls were really and truly pissed, and I finally was too frazzled to go on.
A disappointment, but ... that's life the bee yard, huh?
Roger that; I thought I did everything by the book (w/in certain limitations) -- splitting, medium for space when needed (or even before the 70% of the top box's frames had been drawn). The Girls apparently were not .... impressed.Ugh...you did a split and they still swarmed?