Swarming in September is it possible

Hello I was observing my hives today when I noticed a lot of bees flying around the box like swarming by I thought swarming season was over this is a little late for swarming isn’t it can anyone offer some advice do I need to do a hive inspection again I done one 2 days ago on this same box everything looked fine any advice would be great :smiley:

I am not an expert but I have noticed my bees doing the same thing every day at the same time (2hrs before sun set). The hive increases in noise from inside, the number of bees at the entrance increases and then a few thousand of them gradually fly out and about for half an hour or so before returning. It’s as if the ones that have been cooped up inside the get let out for a bit of exercise or something like that. It happens every day at the same time and I have never read about this kind of thing happening in any of the bee literature I have seen. It isn’t swarming and it isn’t practice swarming. The bees seem content, the hive is only 75% full. The weather has been warm all month long and there is plenty of pollen coming in. The ‘golden hour’ is when they all go for a flight and it has been happening every day for the last month or so. Perhaps its a Portuguese thing, I don’t know

Yeah I think I might do another inspection tomorrow just to see if I missed anything just in case I didn’t miss a swarm cell or a queen cup. I have 3 deeps and 3 mediums and it’s about full of bees completely so that has me a little worried. But yeah that is a little strange for your bees to be flying like that but it could be orientation flights as well. Bees are amazing creatures and I always seem to learn something more every day thank you

You could be witnessing orientation flights. Someone like @Eva or @Dawn_SD would be better qualified to tell whether your colony is likely to swarm this late in the season, for your location.

Also remember that if you’ve had rainy days where bees can’t do orientation flights, you could get several days (depending on how long it rained) worth of bees doing orientation flights on the first available day. That could look quite dramatic, as if a colony is about to swarm.

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Thank you for tagging me @JeffH :wink:

I don’t know about North Carolina, but in SoCal, swarming is certainly possible in September, although unusual. If you didn’t find queen cells on your inspection a few days ago, then i would think of orientation flights, as Jeff said, or perhaps preparations to abscond if the hive has undergone some stress.

Have you treated for mites recently? Is the hive overpopulated? How are the food stores looking? Is every super full and do you have a flow in your area at this time of year? Is the roof leaking if you have recent rain?

So many variables to consider, it is hard to know, but it sounds like you have a strong colony, it is just hard to make a judgment from a distance.


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