Is this hive giving me a clue

Spring time now and with the hot weather upon us so like last year lots of bees hanging out the front of the hive. I gather (or thought) that the reason they gathered out there was it was pretty hot inside the hive so less bees inside the less heat inside. But now I’m having second thoughts. I’ll do a check this weekend for queen cells in the brood box. I robbed about 4-5 weeks ago and they’ve filled the flow frames pretty quickly. Although that’s only through the inspection panels. (Side inspection panel appears fully capped)20170925_151553

Having the same happening here on the Gold Coast. Thoughts turn naturally enough to possible swarm but the bees are placid and just bearding from about 2.30pm to dusk. Back to normal in the morning. Keen to hear if you find any queen cells at the weekend. Where are you?

He is on the Sunshine Coast Ken, I only just a few minutes ago put the phone down after talking to Alan. They swarmed this morning. I hope he doesn’t mind me telling you. So, that’s the story. Time to do some checking. I’ll be doing a bit of that myself later on when it cools down a bit. anyway cheers for now

So even though they are placid Jeff, the bearding could be a prelude to swarming and not just a reaction to our 30 plus temps this week.? And obviously if inspection reveals queen cells the that’s what they have on their sweet little minds, Yes?

Yes for sure Ken. That’s what happened to Alan in that photo. Do you know that saying “If the market is bullish, be bullish”? & vice versa. You can apply that to bees during swarm season. If the bees look like they could be getting ready to swarm during swarm season, chances are that they are. I’ll get going, cheers

1 Like

Ha ha. Yep well this is the end result. About 30 mtrs up in reasonably dense scrub. I had just finished making a new brood box last night with the intention of doing a split this weekend. Tried to get them down with a rope thrown over the branch all to no avail. Dislodged them a few times but obviously couldn’t get the queen with them. Lesson learnt. I was “gunna” do an inspection for the last few weekends but put it off. I’ll still do the inspection, with a glum face. Thanks for the chat today Jeff.


Hi there. Are they still in the tree?
We caught our swarm from 20 metres up 2 weeks ago by hoisting a temporary plastic swarm box up 10 metres. Smeared blended lemongrass leaves in and on it and two days later they went in.
See our posts in recent swarms discussions for pics.
God luck

Yes Gaz still up there. I assume(?) they’ll be there in the morn. I only have lemon myrtle trees at my place. I’ll have to try that. My boss doesn’t understand. Still wants me to start at 7.30!!!

1 Like

Try some honey and sugar mixed in, anything to try and get their attention.
We have all sorts of leave at work, sick leave , annual leave etc. We need swarm leave as well this time of year or a boss that loves honey!


They just don’t understand. Yes. I have a concoction made up. Will try and get the box up in the morning


Were you running a single 8 frame brood box? I am and mine just swarmed too. I think it’s probably going to be a good idea to take an early spring split from such hives most years. Remove 3 frames and replace with foundation. That’s my plan going forward. If I don’t need the split I will sell it 6 weeks later

1 Like

Hi Alan, you’re welcome. Wow, that IS a huge swarm. When I arrived home that day, I got the news of a swarm at the croquet club. I went & grabbed it, it was 3 feet off the ground & a similar size. I finished up splitting it 3 ways.

Losing swarms like that is all part of the learning process of beekeeping.

If you want to get someones attention on the forum, just click on @, then a drop down/up will appear with the recent posters on that thread, then click on that poster for example @akthommo. Otherwise the person you want to talk to might not find it. If that person doesn’t appear in the drop down/up, simply put the first letter of that person, then the user names starting with that letter will appear & so on. Took me ages to figure all that out.

I’m up before daybreak to close up some hives to move away from my house. It’s getting a bit crowded. I’ll ttyl, bye

@Semaphore Yes I was running an 8 frame box. And I had built a 10 frame brood box in anticipation. The swarm is still up the tree although it looks a little smaller. Might be because it’s up so high. It did move after I dislodged it a couple of times. @JeffH Oh to have a swarm 3 feet off the ground! Anyway as you said Jeff it’s a learning curve. So far they’ve had no interest in the swarm box. (The ants are happy with it though) Probably need to put a brood frame in there to entice. Maybe?

Hi Alan, I guess you have thought about hoisting a box up with a rope? Obviously ignore the following suggestion if you have. If you tie strong (say 20lb plus) fishing line to a weight and throw it over a strong nearby branch, you can then tie a rope to the line and pull it over the branch. Tie a box up with the rope (frame of brood etc. in the box) and hoist it skywards close to the swarm. p.s I have never done this on a bee swarm, but use a variation of the method here when wanting to carefully lower cut branches.

Hi Al, not really. You could waste a brood frame. You need to make your swarm lure attractive to the fussy scouts of the swarm. It would need to be similar in volume to the hive they left (both supers combined). It also has to compete with all of the possible sites within your area, or the range of the scouts. It also needs to be well off the ground, say 3 meters to provide protection against predators, such as bears & honey badgers. Not that we have them here, however it’s in their DNA to consider all of those possibilities when choosing a suitable nesting site.

1 Like

So the swarm has left for better pastures. Jeff may get the call to pick them up somewhere. :grinning: So it’s a good learning curve for me and hopefully others who may have read this topic. Had a good long chat with Jeff this afternoon. I’m very lucky to have access to a knowledgeable and enthusiastic mentor. Now hopefully we’ll get some rain to give the flowers a drink. Very dry on the Sunny Coast.

1 Like

Now here we are and I have taken a photo which could almost be a carbon copy of the first one on this topic. Amazing. The numbers as I have seen on my inspection two days ago have built up dramatically. I am dropping two frames at this moment and have found the frames to have candied honey in them (as I suspected) and I’m flat out getting 1.5kg’s out of the two frames.
When I did the inspection I didn’t inspect the brood frames, only the Flow Frames as to the extent of capping.
My question to the Forum is, “Are my bees going to swarm again?” It is reasonably hot right now and we have great conditions on the Sunshine Coast. Lots of flowers out and frequent showers. (I have actually made a new swarm box and put it out the back in the trees just in case) I do remember them doing this in the heat last year but they didn’t swarm.

1 Like

Hi Al, a bloke who has his bees not far from you just brought his honey frames to show me. He had trouble extracting the honey. I gave him the good news that his honey was jellybush honey. He’s not impressed. I told him how good jellybush honey was. He’s STILL not impressed. As he was driving away, I thought of this post of yours. Maybe that’s what you have in yours, that could be the reason why it didn’t flow.

Jeff, right this very moment as I saw your post I have two frames out and have scraped the wax off and I’m thinking I could either wash the whole lot out (eek!) or just stick it back into the hive so the bees can clean it up. What do you think?

With both my hives on suburban blocks I’m very conscious about swarm control because I don’t want my neighbours getting edgy about my bees. I’m only new to this too. I did my first split 6 weeks ago after finding queen cells the day before I was going away for 2 weeks holiday. After getting some great advice from @JeffH I popped half the hive into a cardboard box and took them to my other site. And re-queened my primary hive. Only 6 weeks later the split (now in a proper hive) is already making more queen cells. To add to which, my friendly neighbours rang the other day to tell me my bees had swarmed. My heart sank. When I got home I checked my hive and was still brimming with bees so I think they belong(ed) to someone else.
I managed to catch the swarm (first time for everything) and popped them in a nuc box I’d fortuitously made the day prior.
So many bees! But still haven’t managed to get a full flow frame to rob. So if anyone is looking for a nuc, please get in touch.