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Saved a bee colony out of a solenoid box BUT they absconded the next day! :(

Hello All!

I have just experienced the joy of catching a colony of bees out of a precarious space! They had been living in a solenoid box for a few months, but the owners had been leaving the lid off in the hope theyd just move out. But they never did.

Sooo, being a huge fan of “JP The Bee Man” and watching many of his videos I decided to have a go at rescuing them myself. :slight_smile:

I came prepared with all the gear, (except a bee suit haha!)

I had been to the site a few times and the bees were VERY docile & calm and non aggressive. So sure enough they were no trouble at all as I worked around them. Just a few stings from me grabbing the bees accidentally when handling comb & frames…

Here are some links to videos I took:

Looking for the queen in the solenoid box:

Put brood in a frame, also looking for the queen still

The joy of finding the queen! A beautiful site indeed.

Where the queen goes, the rest shall follow :slight_smile:

More marching

Bees fanning entrance of NUC

As JP The Bee Man would say:
“Hope ya’ll are having a great day! Coz I know I am” :slight_smile:

Well so much for saving the colony… Just this morning they absconded… and I have a few theorys as to why… 1. I put the new hive too close to my main strong colony & the strong colonies bees got into the other hive? 2. The new colony was too weak, and due to me not having a proper lid to put on top of the box there was a big gap at the top as well as at the bottom. They probably didnt like that.

But anyway here is the moment it happened:

Here is a bee left over from the absconding, she is a very diffrerent colouring to the bees of my main hive. You can see the guard bee isnt happy to have her nearby…

Can anyone tell me what happens to the queen in this instance? I thought if she was in ‘egg laying mode’ she could not fly off?

:frowning:

6 Likes

G’day Ryan, congratulations on saving the bee colony. Commiserations on the colony absconding. I’ve had a few colonies abscond over the years. They are normally colonies with very little brood to look after. I came to the conclusion that the colonies had nothing to hold them to the hives I had them in. Virtually “empty nests”. Therefore my strategy now is to make sure the colonies don’t fall into an “empty nest” syndrome. As long as a colony has plenty of brood to look after, that should normally hold them to the hive we put them in.

In relation to the queen being able to fly: The colony must have rejected the hive you put them in, so therefore they didn’t feed the queen in order for her to lay eggs. This made the queen light enough to be able to fly to whatever location the scout bees decide on. Maybe another solenoid box, just kidding.

In conclusion, whenever I catch a swarm, or trap bees out, I always give them a nice frame of mostly open brood. They are less likely to abscond, leaving that brood to perish.

1 Like

Sorry to hear it, after it seemed to go so nicely! I imagine the bees might have simply had other ideas in mind for the features of their home. Maybe after setting up in a ground level cavity, being placed up in the breeze and sun just didn’t suit their taste. Makes me wonder about temperature control aspects too :thinking: