Bee Nest in a Branch That Broke & Crashed to the Ground

I got the call about two weeks ago about this colony of bees. The bloke was going to phone me the following day, which didn’t happen. This was after I went into great detail, more than once of my strategy to get the bees into a hive.

Yesterday he phoned me to tell me the bees were still on the ground building comb. I agreed to go late in the afternoon to pick them up. He wanted to know again about my strategy. I explained that I had already done that previously… I might have sounded slightly harsh & requested a photo.

I went with all my gear, a frame of brood in all stages, plus 7 more frames to fill my 8 frame Flow brood box. I can probably post a photo the bloke sent me later on. There was more bees than his photo seemed to indicate. I got them all into the box, which impressed the bloke. Especially when the bees started scrambling towards the entrance after I placed the frame of brood containing bees 4-5 deep into the brood box.

I checked on them this afternoon, to discover 5 frames completely covered in bees. I’ll try to post some photos tomorrow.

There was no sign of any active queen in the original comb, just a few drones yet to emerge. I’ll look for either new eggs, or emergency queen cells in the coming days.

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In reply, I have some photos!!!

The first one is the nest on the ground.

The next 2 photos shows a lot of empty emergency queen cells, on account that the queen must have died in the fall.

This photo shows the branch & comb, plus the bit that was on the ground

We got a beautiful shot of the young queen on the last frame I checked on the side closest to the wall.

The last photo shows how the bees are storing honey after just one day.


I couldn’t help but think of @Eva today while scraping the bottoms of blocks of wax. “A sound logical progression of facts towards a sensible conclusion”. In this case the conclusion would have been the colony absconding from their nest on the ground.

Going back to the first afternoon. After arriving home I noticed the empty queen cells. It wasn’t until after a night of sleep, that I woke up thinking that the queen must have died during the fall, so consequently the colony made a new queen. Another progression of facts is the presence of a lingering foul odor on the comb in the bin in the photo. The odor was particularly strong in the piece closest to the ground, where obviously a lot of bees & brood died.

I tried to scrape the wax into the bin, however the smell was too overwhelming to continue. I had to take it well away & use a different bin.

The conclusion being that based on past experiences with bees absconding from foul odors, it would only be a matter of time, with this new queen, before the colony absconded from the site, especially seeing as there was no brood to hold them there. The nest was in an industrial area near the airport. I dare say that the colony would have no trouble finding a new home, which makes one wonder why they chose to be out in the open in a branch in the first place :thinking:


Fourteen days later, I decided to see if the queen got successfully mated, on account that 7 days ago there was no eggs.

As it turned out, there was only newly laid eggs. Wilma got a photo of the queen.
Some nice bees are emerging out of the frame of brood I used to entice the bees into the hive.


I didn’t look for the queen this time, on account of cold weather. I got a nice photo of her new brood, plus the honey that’s coming in.