Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Colony swarmed, settled, unsettled, flew back to original hive

Wondering what happened here, i know why they swarmed just not sure why they changed their mind. I have a video just can’t post it

Post your video to YouTube for public viewing then post a link for it on the forum.
Very likely what you saw was a rehearsal for the real deal that will probably happen tomorrow. too bad there is nothing you can do to prevent it happening but if you have a spare hive you might be able to catch the swarm if you work quickly.
Cheers

Cheers for the reply Peter. Just uploading now. I went and got another ten frame box today. Got some advice to open the hive tomorrow and inspect. Take outside brood frames and put them in the new super box and put two empty in the middle of the old brood box

1 Like

What about Taranov splitting ASAP?

1 Like

With a Taranov you’re relying on the queen’s typical inability to fly, so it’s a pre-emptive method of splitting. If this colony is already out practicing then the queen and swarm attendants might not cluster on the ramp. But who knows, maybe they would?

2 Likes

True, she might be in flying shape.

But I guess if they try to swarm when you shake them out at least you’ll be there to gather them back up!

1 Like

I doubt a Taranov split could be successfully be done when a colony is in swarming mode, further, my thinking is there isn’t any type of split will work on the same day as they are going to swarm. In that situation although it has been decades ago I sat back and watched and when they settled on a shrub I cut the branch off and shook the branch over an open empty hive to give them a home.
Cheers

2 Likes

Think it would be a mistake to try?

1 Like

In my opinion trying would be a waste of time, for me I would sit back and wait till the swarm leaves the hive and hope it settles where it easily collected. But I’m far from experienced in swarm management.
I much prefer to be in charge of my bees and do splits prior to the hive even thinking about the idea of swarming,
When a hive is showing enough signs it is to my thinking the right time then take control and do a split and either increase my hives in my apiary or build up the split and sell it. Others might think differently and some simply don’t care that their hives swarm, but that is another issue.
Cheers

3 Likes

Once I was lucky to see a colony do a practice swarm and I was able to get out and take a peek minutes after they returned to the hive. My son came along and we saw that two to three frames were really covered, with layers of bees, and reasoned that these must be the swarm bees reclustering around the queen. So we took those three frames out and made a split. This worked! But I chalk it up to luck, rather than a method :sweat_smile:

This season, I was also lucky to have three swarms land on the same low shrub on my property, so I caught them easily. One beek I know had several swarms land in a tree on his property - but his solution was to keep cutting the branch off, which not only made the whole cluster crash to the ground but also forced the next swarm to go even higher! The lesson I learned was to avoid cutting branches swarms seem attracted to, and either shake them off or use the brood frame lure a la Jeff :wink:

2 Likes

Ok im a little split at which way to proceed :rofl: i have a new 10 frame box ready to go. Are they gonna be pissed if i smoke them and open the hive this morning. Or wait for them to swarm and hope to catch them. Ive seen some videos of people coaxing them onto a full frame

Hi Dan, I don’t envy your position and having to make a choice but it is for you to make.
Have you got the time to watch for the swarm and hopefully be able to catch it…
Have you got the experience to find the queen to transfer her into the new hive and be certain that you don’t transfer frames with even a single queen cell on them. And if that is the way you decide to go them even taking a 50/50 split might fail as the colony will be very single minded about swarming.
For next Spring consider trying preemptive swarm management so that you are in control of the hives, it has worked for me and is a real time saver. Swarming is a natural instinct for bees and the trick is to convince them that they have swarmed so get over it and get back to foraging.
Cheers Dan

1 Like

So i inspected this morning and the super was packed. Ive added a new super above the brood, placing 2 empty frames in the centre of the brood and the outside frames of the brood have gone above them in the new super. See how she goes, i didn’t think the hive would be so strong by now. Im pretty inexperienced, I’ll watch them and if they swarm hopefully can catch them. I’ll be extracting some of that honey tomorrow

Please post an update on what happens.A tip, never let the hive become honey bound, always give them space to store incoming nectar.
Cheers

Will do. I was around most of the day and didn’t see them swarm. I did go out for a couple of hours and when i came back there were quite a lot of bees doing orientation flights. Heaps of activity in and out all day

Swarming and then returning to the hive can happen where the queen is unable, for whatever reason, to keep up with the swarm.

In these situations the queen may have fallen to the ground and been lost.

3 Likes

That’s a very interesting point, Jim - I never considered that before.

1 Like

I read an article that says the queen will resist leaving so the bees vibrate and buzz trying to force her out of the hive. She doesn’t always make it out so the swarm comes back.

Wow, another new concept! Never knew :exploding_head: