Scout bees? Or am i getting excited over nothing?

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BeeGiner 

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Like the look of that! Had a quick look for sonotube online but doesn’t seem widely available....where did you pick yours up? Does the cardboard not get squishy when it rains?
I
 

BeeGiner 

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I have 2 empty hives in my garden, collecting a nuc for one in June. I used some swarm wipes on the hives a few weeks ago just in case a passing scout bee checked them out (wishful thinking but you never know!)
Anyway, this week the weather has warmed up in the afternoons and I came home to find 20-30 bees checking out one of the empty hives, going in & out through the entrance etc. I'm just wondering if they're checking the hives out for a swarm? Is this a likely possibility at all? They've been here for 3 days now, just don't want to get my hopes up!
Thanks guys!
Jules
 

BeeGiner 

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I would be interested to know whether anyone catches any swarms this way. When our bees swarm they fly all of 5 to 10 metres and then sit in a hedge waiting to be collected by a beekeeper.
I guess there’s a fairly strong evolutionary pressure for bees to behave this way. i.e. find a new home for yourselves in the wild -chance of survival, without treatment for varroa, very slim.
Swarm in a hedge and wait to be collected - chance of survival, with feeding and varroa treatment, very high.
Or have I missed something?
 

Erichalfbee 

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I would be interested to know whether anyone catches any swarms this way. When our bees swarm they fly all of 5 to 10 metres and then sit in a hedge waiting to be collected by a beekeeper.
I guess there’s a fairly strong evolutionary pressure for bees to behave this way. i.e. find a new home for yourselves in the wild -chance of survival, without treatment for varroa, very slim.
Swarm in a hedge and wait to be collected - chance of survival, with feeding and varroa treatment, very high.
Or have I missed something?

Yes you have. There is a very important purpose to clustering in a hedge (Americans call it bivouacking , which is very descriptive) and it's not to wait for a beekeeper to collect them.
This cluster may be some distance too. I once found an enormous prime swarm in a hedge ten feet away from my hives and it wasn't one of mine.
 

Newbeeneil 

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Yes you have. There is a very important purpose to clustering in a hedge (Americans call it bivouacking , which is very descriptive) and it's not to wait for a beekeeper to collect them.
This cluster may be some distance too. I once found an enormous prime swarm in a hedge ten feet away from my hives and it wasn't one of mine.
That's interesting Dani. Are swarms attracted by other bees in the area as twice I've had similar experiences?
I've collected swarms from close to one of my apiaries assuming they were mine only to find a marked queen that is not clipped like mine.
 

Erichalfbee 

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That's interesting Dani. Are swarms attracted by other bees in the area as twice I've had similar experiences?
I've collected swarms from close to one of my apiaries assuming they were mine only to find a marked queen that is not clipped like mine.
Maybe. It would have been interesting to see what they would have done had I not collected them. Would they have usurped a smaller colony or flown off again. Had they already reached consensus?
 

Drewdrew 

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I once found an enormous prime swarm in a hedge ten feet away from my hives and it wasn't one of mine.
I've had 2 calls in the last week from one of my apiaries. "Your bees are swarming!!!! Quick!!!" On the other end of the phone, I'm scratching my head, wonder WTF their on about.
The apiary has some queenless nucs in there, awaiting hatching. They hadn't swarmed. Apparently, 2 big swarms (or the same one twice) had been around the site. Bugger!

I do have some bait hives here, and have used the site for years. I moved a bait hive from under a tree on Wednesday last week, into full sun. Yesterday, it had a swarm in it. Blue marked queen in it (I don't mark my queens). Don't think its the big swarming one, but another 2 bait hive up there now 👍
 

The Poot 

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I was told (by a very well seasoned beekeeper) that “apiaries attract swarms”.
I have concluded that‘s just a way beekeepers pretend the swarm “is not one of mine”.🤗
 

BugsInABox 

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Like the look of that! Had a quick look for sonotube online but doesn’t seem widely available....where did you pick yours up? Does the cardboard not get squishy when it rains?
Sonotube is an american brand, I used these:


They are pretty sturdy but I've painted with an exterior paint and they've not gone soggy (yet).
 

BeeGiner 

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Yes you have. There is a very important purpose to clustering in a hedge (Americans call it bivouacking , which is very descriptive) and it's not to wait for a beekeeper to collect them.
This cluster may be some distance too. I once found an enormous prime swarm in a hedge ten feet away from my hives and it wasn't one of mine.
I can see that probably makes sense in the wilderness. But the benefit in beekeeping hotspots is that you are likely to be taken to a cosy hive.
So paying attention to your scout bee’s may not be a good idea.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I can see that probably makes sense in the wilderness. But the benefit in beekeeping hotspots is that you are likely to be taken to a cosy hive.
So paying attention to your scout bee’s may not be a good idea.
I'm sorry but that made me chuckle. The idea that bees know they will be collected by a friendly beekeeper to be taken to a cosy hive so abandon the cluster process and all the dancing they do to reach consensus is quite funny.
Maybe you don't know that's what they do in which case my mirth is misplaced.
 

Beebe 

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. The idea that bees know they will be collected by a friendly beekeeper to be taken to a cosy hive so abandon the cluster process and all the dancing they do to reach consensus is quite funny.
I agree. But since bees which cluster within easy reach of a beekeeper are more likely to be collected, hived and survive; maybe there is an evolutionary advantage which has resulted in some bees having that helpful (to we beekeepers) trait.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I agree. But since bees which cluster within easy reach of a beekeeper are more likely to be collected, hived and survive; maybe there is an evolutionary advantage which has resulted in some bees having that helpful (to we beekeepers) trait.
A local adaptation?
 

Erichalfbee 

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I’ve heard it all now
Local bees are adapted to swarm into a friendly beekeepers apiary so that he/she bumbles along and puts them into a cosy hive.
 

Beebe 

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I’ve heard it all now
Local bees are adapted to swarm into a friendly beekeepers apiary so that he/she bumbles along and puts them into a cosy hive.
If you say soo_O..... these are your words, "adapted", "local", "friendly beekeeper", "bumbles", "cosy hive", all applied pejoratively because maybe you're so amused by @BeeGiner 's way of describing matters.

But I'm sure that you know that bees don't really actively adapt to situations, rather, they survive or even thrive to create another generation when the environment in which they live is suited to their needs. Conveniently clustered bees may have an evolutionary advantage in a world filled with beekeepers. ;)
 

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