Quick scout bee question

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gregior 

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Hi

I was just wondering if anyone knows if scout bees are present before a colony swarms or do they only start looking once the swarm has issued?

Thanks for any replies

greg

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biggles 

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2 per cent of bees are scout bee. These go out to find just the right pollen and then go back to tell the others, by a dance.
 

gregior 

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srry i wasn't very clear in my question,by scout bees i meant swarming bees that are looking for a new home.Does the presence of scout bees mean the parent hive has already swarmed and is in a bush somewhere?
 

melormynydd 

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scouts are usually sent out before the hive swarms, i have seen a swarm in the air and go staight down a chimney pot. (my bees, not my chimney pot, not good!) this shows they had found a new home before leaving hive.
but if the weather is bad during the preperation to swarm, the hive will swarm and then send out scouts after it has setled on a branch or wall.
 

drstitson 

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scout bees are just that. scouts. doesn't matter if its nectar, pollen, propolis or bait hives. it's scouts that find it and communicate it to others.
scouts are busy searching for a week or more before swarm emerges. i can post a nice reference to a paper showing trajectories of scouts which over days vary until fixing on a few sites then by consensus choosing one which the swarm heads off to.
 
T

Tom Bick 

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srry i wasn't very clear in my question,by scout bees i meant swarming bees that are looking for a new home.Does the presence of scout bees mean the parent hive has already swarmed and is in a bush somewhere?
No not necessarily as I understand it if a primary swarm the bees may plan ahead and the scout bees try to pre-select a new nest site, but it is obvious that it is not always the case as plenty of people collect primary swarms and they can hang around for a good few days.

I have a bait hive at the moment for three days now it has had a lot of interest from scout bees and on a similar thread someone reported interest with their bait hive with plenty of interest from scout bees for five days before a swarm arrived.

I had a similar experience last year three days of interest then it stopped either the bees decided not for them but I think it was a more experienced beekeeper who knew his bees were intent on swarming and also knew how many days he had before they would swarm and stepped in at the right moment or got lucky as we are from time to time.

Also as I understand but not 100% confident I have this right is that when the swarm is imminent that day plenty of the foraging bees stay at home so they don’t miss the swarm.
 

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