Behaviour after Shook Swarm

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New Bee
Jan 8, 2009
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surrey/kent border
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Hi There
I performed a shook swarm for the first time on one of my hives at the weekend. The colony was doing well with the queen laying and the bees have been bringing in plenty of pollen and nectar. The main reasons for shooking were to change from standard to 12x14 frames and to help in varroa control. The process seemed to go smoothly however today I have noticed that there is a lot of fighting going on as the bees fly on to the landing board.I am pretty sure that its not robbing (even though I am feeding syrup solution) Nearly every bee that lands gets greeted by a possey of guard bees and there seems to be continous fights. Is there an explanation for this behaviour, could it be that the shooking interferes with the transfer of queen substance within the hive? Also there is no pollen coming in, is this to be expected as there is no brood at present.

Thanks Russ
Can you give a bit more detail on what you did with regard to the process ? did you spill any syrup ? the fighting would suggest robbing behaviour, are bees shooting out from your other hives and going into this one ?

Did you see and isolate the queen when performing the SW ?
It has got to be too early in the season for a shook swarm onto foundation. So I am presuming you had drawn comb available. Or maybe not.

If you see fighting, then it is fighting. Something gone wrong there, as in 'robbing problem' kind of wrong.

You say 'No pollen coming in'. Well, if you have shook onto foundation very recently, as in a few days ago, then the expectation is that the bees will not be bringing in much in the way of pollen because there just isn't the brood to feed it to ... or even the comb yet for the queen to lay in.
It sounds like robbing, if you have a old pane of glass stick that in front of your hive- the bees from your hive will know its there but the robbers will not also only fill your feeders up in the evenings this should reduce robbing
good luck
Hi There
I performed a shook swarm for the first time on one of my hives at the weekend. Thanks Russ

I agree that it sounds very early for a shook swarm. It also sounds like robbing. You could try reducing the enterance. You cannot realistically cease feeding as the colony would be dependent on it. I guess you could remove the feeder and move it to an alternative apiary.

I found a good size colony pulled an entire box of 14 x 12 in a week (when the weather is warm) and on the one occasion I did a smaller colony, it ended up with nosema (and subsequently Black Queen Cell virus) and I guess that was my fault for being over optimistic about just what a small colony could achieve.

The difficulty with doing it so early in addition to it being relatively cold still is that old bees don't have activated wax glands, and you really need the new spring bees who can produce a lot of wax.


Thanks for the replies. I was intending to wait till the end of the month to perform the operation but the bees were on brood and a half and the queen was already running out of space, in the last inspection I also found several queen cells, so decieded to go ahead, with warm weather set here for the next week.

During the operation I isolated the queen only returning her when all the bees had been shaken in. No syrup was spilt and the entrance block was left on. As far as I can see there was no unusual activity to and from my other hives.

The whole thing becomes more of a mystery as today activity is back to normal and there is lots of pollen going in again. I have seen robbing activity before but the bees yesterday seemed to be arranged in linch mobs attacking almost every bee returning to the hive!!

Obviously too early for hornets or wasps but that is the behavior I get when they are about. The bees become ultra defensive and mug everyone. "Friends" are usually released providing they don't fight backbee-smillie