Hi, first year beekeeping. Installed Nuc end of May. Hive looked very good, added second medium brood box, which the bees filled quickly by the end of June. I added my honey super about a week ago. 2 days ago, I happened to be outside and witnessed my hive swarm. Thinking I should just wait and inspect in about a week to see if hive has requeened or is in process? Should I buy a new queen? Looking for advice. The swarming happened so quickly! I guess I was lucky in a way to watch it and possibly learn from it? I have read that healthy hives commonly swarm. I hope this was the case🙂
It would be very unusual for a colony only 6 weeks old to have swarmed as you have also given them a second brood box to expand into as well as adding the super. That is all they should need to regard the hive as ‘home’ especially if there is brood in the frames.
Maybe what you saw was a few thousand new bees doing an orientation flight where they all exit the hive at the same time and fly about the hive for up to 30 minutes then return into the hive. During an orientation flight the bees tend to fly about facing the hive and each bee tends to remain about the same distance from the hive but the distance does increase as their confidence builds.
Did you actually see a swarm fly away? Was the queen marked? You could do an inspection of the brood box looking for capped queen cells and for the queen, if she is still there then what you saw was an orientation flight.
I wouldn’t rush out and buy a new queen when your own colony can produce a new queen themselves from the eggs or larvae up to 3 days old. Normally a colony will have from 3 up to 10 queen cells in use when making a new queen.
Yes, I did watch them swarm and land in tree behind the hive. I have actually been fortunate enough to witness the orientation flight behaviour as well and the cloud of bees stayed fairly close to entrance. I have attached a pic of the swarm in the tree
I was quite surprised as well…no at all expecting this. Only thing I can think of is that we have been experiencing a fairly intense heat wave with temps in high 30’s all week?
I’m not sure with temps in the high 30’s causes swarming, even in well established and strong hives with enough room for the bees in the hive which you have provided. What you had is an unusual event and I can’t think of the reason it has happened.