are my bees trying to swarm this late?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Mel-, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    I posted this spring that I had a swarm move into a tree by my house. my dad used to keep bees and we tried to get them to move into a hive when they first settled on my deck but they went into the tree (that they had moved into a few days before and then for some reason decided to leave. I guess they didn't find anything better and went back?).

    well this morning, though it is still very cool here, the air by the tree is just full of them and there are dozens or hundreds flying everywhere whereas normally you see no more than a dozen or so flying around the entrance (this is a small hive, it was football size when it swarmed and settled).

    are they getting ready to swarm? is there anyway I can get them into a hive THIS time? dad says this late there is probably no way of them starting over and making it through the winter. if we can get them in a hive, will they go back to the tree to steal the honey out of to move into the new hive? we had another really huge swarm at the same time in the spring but dad was able to get them in a hive and they are really doing well, he has had to double the size of the original hive he's put in but he doesn't think he could steal any combs from it to start them with without indangering THAT hive.

    are they going to swarm? any suggestions or recommendations to help / save them? dad doesn't really think they can make enough to get through our indiana winters this late.

    if they aren't swarming, what is going on? they are REALLY noisy.

    Thank you so much.
     
  2. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    also:

    this tree is about 12 feet from my house. I mow and weedeat the base around it all the time and have never had any go after me (dad said to mow in the heat of the day or late in the day and that has seemed to work).

    this morning, the bees are in areas of the yard I've never seen them, in the front yard where there are no flowers etc and they keep bumping into the house, especially the window that is closest to the hive. is this normal or are they angry or disoriented about something? or just preswarming behaviour?
     

  3. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Mel,
    It sure sounds like it, from your description. Your Dad is right--I doubt the new swarm would make it through the winter, even if you fed them sugar water until cold weather.

    If you really want to try, you could do like the Russians do...if you had a basement, you could put them in an observation type hive. (or a regular hive) You would run a pipe from the hive to the outside. Then, you could feed them all winter.

    It just depends on how much you're willing to do to help this swarm survive. I like swarms. The ones you get now are probably mite-resistant on their own.

    Good luck, whatever you do...
     
  4. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    I caught 2 swarms last year on July 25th that made it thru our michigan winter. they started on plain foundation and I fed them 1:1 syrup till mid Sept and switch to 2:1 till mid november when I took the feeders out totally. It is worth a try to save them, if you loose them they probably couldn't have made it on their own either.

    :D Al
     
  5. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    well, they apparently did swarm. I watched them and was really expecting them to sort of all get together and make off in a big ball (that other huge swarm back in the spring went right over me as I was outside and that's basically what it was like). but they didn't, they just slowly seemed to dissapate to where there weren't as many and by the time my dad got here about an hour and a half later they had left and we couldn't find anywhere they had landed by walking over the farm (they did all appear to be leaving heading north).

    there are still one or two going in and out, did they get left out somehow? but that is all.

    I'd rather not have bees in that tree but was hoping they would swarm next spring and I'd be ready with a hive. If they have very definitely all left, I'll seal the holes. how long should I wait in terms of giving them (or another hive) a chance to rob the honey from the tree? dad set up the other hive about a quarter mile from my house back by the barn so I suppose if they find it unguarded they'll rob it? but I want to be sure and seal it before another swarm sets up in it!

    Thanks alot, it was very interesting to watch if nothing else but really did seem awfully unorganized for a colony packing up and moving ! but I think they must have had a very picky queen ;) they moved into that tree, then moved out and swarmed onto my deck a few days later, stayed out there a couple of days. we even put them a nice hive right in front of them but darned if they didn't just move right back into the tree. and now they've gone again (my dads only comment was basically women!).
     
  6. Orville

    Orville Well-Known Member

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    Old saying: A swarm in May is worth a tonne of hay, a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon, a swarm in July isn't worth a fly.
     
  7. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    If they all left it wasn't a swarm, they just didn't like you and your tree. They probably won't make it thru the winter which is what happens to most wild swarms. Bees actually aren't very smart.
     
  8. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    If they absconded, the tree should be more or less empty. Absconding happens when the bees decide that the old hive is just plain unlivable.

    If they swarmed, then the colony has split itself in half, and there are still loads of bees in that tree. Swarming is a bees way of reproducing. Where there was one hive, there are now 2 or more.