Last Day of Autumn... a Swarm?

My mission today, the last day of autumn was primarily to reduce entrances, after a burst of cold weather hit last night, which is expected to hang around for a couple of days. While doing so, a small swarm issued, possibly out of one of my nucs that are in 10 frame boxes.

I was also in the process of fitting a slatted rack. While transferring brood frames, I grabbed one with a lot of open brood, which I placed on top of the swarm. The bees cooperated by climbing onto it. It went into an empty brood box that I created a little bit earlier. Now it’s at home here.

That’s interesting, Jeff - where did the swarm settle? Helpful of the bees to stay within reach!

Hi Eva, I couldn’t believe my ears & eyes. It landed on a low bush only a meter from it’s closest hive. I had one eye on the swarm & the other one on transferring bees. I couldn’t see which hive it came from. It might have issued from a Flow hive that I’m hive sitting for a bloke. I’ll know more tomorrow.

Hi Jeff

I had a late queen mating last Autumn and don’t think she mated well before winter, when I checked the colony in Feb there was no bees. I had not checked if she was laying when I saw the queen in Sept as was getting all the bees ready for winter. Good thing I have few Nuc’s :wink:

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That’s a piece of luck. Once I got lucky when a swarm from my apiary decided to move into an empty stack I had stored on my side porch. Another time two newer nuc colonies grew fast and swarmed, the first one settled on a low bush like you described, only a few feet away from the hive - I didn’t know your trick with the brood frame at the time, but it was easy to snip out a few of the vine sections woven in to gently shake them into a box. The interesting thing is, the next two swarms chose the same spot, and I realized that pheromones must still be present. I made sure not to do too much cutting so as to preserve the scent on as much of this section of the bush as possible.

I wonder how long those pheromones linger.

Hmm, interesting.

Actually, there are two methods described by Taranov for creating artificial swarms. One is more widely known (the board), and another is less. It is much less convenient too but allows to prompt swarm-like behaviour at any time. Smoke the bees, give them time to fill crops with honey, shake the box and open the cover. Bees that left the box will be behaving like a swarm - clustering somewhere on a branch, and if offered a queen will accept her and will be ready to move to a new place without returning to the original hive.

Hi Paras, I agree with having a few spare nucs. Great for easy access resources.

Hi @Eva , I have also noticed swarms going to the same bush. It’s amazing how the pheromones hang around. I did a trap-out once of a colony that had recently moved into a brick wall cavity. As soon as I had the trap-out in place, the returning bees immediately went to spots that had obviously been visited by the scouts, during their initial survey of the wall. Luckily spots that went nowhere.

The pheromones must wane because I’d never seen that behavior with trap-outs of established colonies before.

I found a logical answer to the “swarm” (riddle). Actually I solved 2 mysteries at the same time.

You may have read on @1983 thread on hive beetles that I was going to seek out an explanation to a bad odor that was wafting out of a hive. I’ve been adding slatted racks to my hives, however I’ve only done one hive per day in that area on account of hungry bees. I found no evidence of beetle activity in the first 2 hives, on top of that, the smell had basically gone.

Today!!!, upon lifting the third bottom box, which was situated above the Besser Block supports for the rails, with the holes facing up, I discovered empty comb, with 3 slabs protruding down into the hole in the besser blocks. It was comb that had recently been vacated with obvious signs of recent beetle activity.

My conclusion is that I found the source of the hive beetle odor, on top of that the small swarm must have been the colony that absconded from the slimed hive they started under the hive & into the besser blocks.

That colony should be more than content in their new home, out of the weather, with a second chance at defeating the beetles.

Some of the besser block supports have the flat sides up. On every one of them, there is lots of rat poo. So I’ll be taking my live trap down to catch them.

Just an update on this small colony that obviously absconded a slime-out.

Two days ago I did a quick inspection, but I couldn’t see the queen, with the limited time I had, in the weaker colony than I originally thought was a bit stronger. It only covered half the brood frame on both sides, however bees were emerging out of the other half, which I was happy to see.

I left the roof partly open before shaking 2 full frames of bees from a strong split onto it. A large amount of bees flew back to their split, leaving nurse bees to almost immediately march straight in.

An inspection yesterday revealed a nice looking queen plus a much healthier looking colony, ready to take on the world with all the challenges it will face. It will be helped further when I find a full frame of sealed & emerging bees to donate to it.