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Circling bees and loud buzz

Hey there - big newbie here located in Bathurst NSW. We are in Spring and everything is coming alive.

I was out in the garden today and heard this almighty BUZZ coming from over near the hive. I went over to have a look and about 5 metres from the hive there is a massive circling over bees and what seems to be 1000’s of bees. Just circling and buzzing very loudly.
This has not happened before - any ideas what is going on?

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You have just witnessed swarming. Did you see where the bees settled?

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It looked like it was about 5 metres from the hive itself, I thought they would set up a bit further than that from the original hive

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I agree with @fffffred, most likely you saw swarming behaviour. Either a “practice swarm” or the full blown thing. Bees often practice once or twice, before they actually decide to leave the hive. When they swarm, they rarely go far at first. They find a safe spot outside the hive, usually (but not always) 10-20ft above ground level, and collect there for an hour or two. Once they are sure that the queen is with them, they launch themselves further away, eventually pausing until they find a new home.

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Thank you. I’ve gone out to check and have found a whole bunch of bees on the tree, about 5 metres from the hive. So this hasn’t happened to me before -
a) do i try and harvest the honey that is the hive now? It looks pretty stocked.
b) will the bees left behind in the hive raise up another queen?
c) anything i need to do?

Firstly if the swarm is still there in the morning try and get another beekeeper to try and catch them. If they have moved have a good look around locally in trees especially where there are possum boxes bird boxes etc as these are places they may have found and try to recover them.
The bees in the hive will have a new queen in process and the swarm will have taken a fair amount of the honey so at this point the hive is weaker so best leave it for a few weeks and then start inspections to see that your hive is recovering. Early inspections can help with the prevention of swarming but believe me it has happened to us all regardless of what we have done sometimes.
Good luck.

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Hi Paul, I think witnessing a swarm in progress is an awe-inspiring experience. I try hard to prevent them, however, because as Gaz pointed out, the bees can decide to settle somewhere they shouldn’t stay - and not everyone in my neighborhood appreciates the close encounter with nature’s majesty :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I suggest you do take a look inside the hive to see if there are more queen cells, as this could mean more swarms are imminent. Do you have a local mentor who can help you through the next steps if so?

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Update: Swarm has gone from its location and now im not sure where its gone. Still some bees over my hive, i will give it an inspection in a few days

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