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Discussion Starter #1
I was shocked today when the neighbors came over and said they had a swarm on their tree. Small cluster about a fist and a half in size. Queen marked blue and looks like they came from my apiary ( no other beekeepers for miles) I got the queen and about half the bees. I guess the rest will go home tomorrow. Zero chance of survival.

I am in North Central Ohio. The drones are gone so I don’t see how it’s possible to get a mated Queen this late. The only thing I can think of is to go through the hive and see if I can find a queen cell, take it out and re-introduce the original queen (she was a really good one this year).

Any other suggestions?
 

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It sounds like a typical absconsion swarm.

Bees sometimes abscond when conditions in the hive are so bad that they up and leave. They do not build queen cells or make any effort to save the parent hive.

In fall, if mite levels are very high, the bees know something is very wrong, but our bees have not lived with varroa long enough for them to understand just what. So very occasionally, they will abscond. The resultant swarm is very small, a cup or two, and is almost certainly doomed. The parent hive is left with almost no bees, and no queen cells.

While I cannot be dead certain this is the case with your swarm without taking an actual look, it is the most likely scenario. So if when you check the parent hive that is what you find, most people would say it's too late now, write them off. But if you want to make an effort to keep them alive you would put the swarm back in, put an excluder so the queen cannot leave again, give them some more bees, and do some serious mite treatment asap.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The hive still has a ton of bees. Been treating for mites all summer + Apivar since mid September
 

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Did you look inside the hive, or just at entrance activity?

What is happening inside the hive you believe is the parent hive? IE does it have queen cells, does it have eggs in the brood comb or signs of a queen, are there signs of mites, etc?

Could the swarm have come from somewhere else? How many hives do you have?

Was the mite treatment you have been doing all summer effective? Why the Apivar?

Sorry about all the questions. It's one of the frustrations trying to solve a problem without being able to see the actual hive. There's a lot of possibilities, and trying to narrow things down.
 

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Or maybe you have a swarmy queen. I trapped and brought home a swarm in the beginning of July and they swarmed again in the second week of September. No, mites were not an issue as my 24 hour ddc were under 10.
They had moved into spare equipment. The beginning of October I had a nuc go queenless, so I combined them and have a nice little hive.
Come spring, I will pinch that queen and use that hive to make a bunch of nucs.
 

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DDC ='s Daily Drop Count?

If so, and the count for a new swarm was up to 10, you may not have any bees to pinch the queen next spring, unless you do something now to kill the mites.
 

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You gotta remember, I'm not down under. I'll be starting my next series of oav next week as our brood rearing will be shutting down soon. The day time highs will be in the 50s and lows right above freezing.
That unit had built up to a double 8 frame deed with 10 frames of bees when I was treating. I'm guessing 30-40,00 bees, so I wasn't concerned with only seeing ten mites after the last oav.
More concerning was that they ignored the super I gave them for the fall flow.
 

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OK well you gonna kill the mites, all good :).
 

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I have been lurking on Beesource for years, I generally don't post though. I had this happen to me in the fall several years ago. I tried this and it worked:
I caught the swarm and caged the queen.
I went through the colony and cut ALL queen cells, repeat in a five days.
Recombine all of the bees.
In two weeks release the queen from the cage and do a oav treatment

With no brood where can a swarm go? They will realize their mistake by the time you release the queen.
Keep an eye on them in the spring, they might be the first to hit the trees!
 

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Sorry to hear that, strange as that may sound :scratch:.

Will you try to save the whole thing? If so, say what you are doing, and we can talk you through it. If you have some spare bees in another hive, it can be done.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sorry to hear that, strange as that may sound :scratch:.

Will you try to save the whole thing? If so, say what you are doing, and we can talk you through it. If you have some spare bees in another hive, it can be done.

I think I will chalk it up as a learning experience. It’s late in the year here. I’ll focus on making sure stores are where they should be and another round of OAV treatments on the remaining colonies.

In the end, it appears robbing was the main culprit in the demise of the colony.
 

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At this time of year the colony is usally lost before robbing sets in. That is, the strong colonies defend themselves just fine, the ones with a problem already get robbed blind. I would try to figure out what really did them in before onset of robbing. How many colonies do you have left? Good luck!
 

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There might be beekeepers closer than you know. Seems like everyone has neighbor who keeps bees in ohio. Might be out of someone else's hive. There isn't too many places in the state that don't have bees close by.
 

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If set up right you will be Surprised what will survive. I have done 1/2 frame 5 over five make it. If you have a dark could space that stays around 30-40 degrees. And If your hives are queen right I would try something on this line.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I still have 14 hives remaining. I don’t think this late it’s worth trying to save. We had a heavy frost already. I always talk with the state bee inspector when he is here and there are no hives around me within flying distance. There was a marked queen in the small group of bees. 100% was mine.

2020 was a year of firsts for me in beekeeping. 1st time robbing killed colonies, 1st absconded hive, 1st time raising queens, 1 st time marking queens, 1st time losing splits due to a week of frigid temps in May...

Learned quite a bit this year.
 
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