Split swarm?

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Do224 

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I’ve got a bit of a strange situation developing at my bait hives....

Around 1pm a swarm flew over my garden and disappeared. I thought I’d missed them. But over the next hour or so the scouts reappeared at the traps and eventually the swarm appeared again. It lingered over the garden and then most of the bees seemed to choose one trap and disappeared inside.

But there’s still loads of activity with a reasonable number of flying bees around all three traps and lots of coming and going from all of them. I guess they’re a bit spoiled for choice....presume it will sort itself out?
 

Erichalfbee 

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Wait and see
 

Swarm 

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I think we will remember 2021.
 

RichardK 

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I think we will remember 2021.
I think many people would like to move on from 2021 ... certainly here in France everyone is bemoaning the awful start to the season - decent weather then a few weeks of freezing weather. The upside of this though is that people aren't as yet seeing Asian hornets around.

For me though, it's been a great year! 2 swarms...they're still alive....I'm still alive...all great so far!
 

Do224 

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Not entirely sure what the end result is as I had to head out for a couple of hours. All quiet now apart from the odd bee at the main trap I suspect (hope) they’re all inside.

Is it possible there was more than one swarm...or multiple queens? They were all travelling as one unit as far as I could see...there did look to be a lot of them compared to my previous swarms
 

Do224 

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The traps were all empty when I checked them today, so the swarm must have disappeared while I was out for a couple of hours yesterday evening.

I wonder how often swarms arrive at bait hives only to disappear shortly after....if you weren’t there to witness it you’d never know it had happened!

I’ve been trying to work out what’s putting them off. I suppose it could be too much choice in a small area as I’ve got quite a few bait hives around the garden. That said, they are at least attracting the swarms to the vicinity....three swarms in as many weeks. I’m loathed to take any of the traps down as it feels like I would be reducing my chances. But maybe I should, who knows
 

RichardK 

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The traps were all empty when I checked them today, so the swarm must have disappeared while I was out for a couple of hours yesterday evening.

I wonder how often swarms arrive at bait hives only to disappear shortly after....if you weren’t there to witness it you’d never know it had happened!

I’ve been trying to work out what’s putting them off. I suppose it could be too much choice in a small area as I’ve got quite a few bait hives around the garden. That said, they are at least attracting the swarms to the vicinity....three swarms in as many weeks. I’m loathed to take any of the traps down as it feels like I would be reducing my chances. But maybe I should, who knows
I certainly have no idea.... still, rest happy with the one you've got, and maybe clip the queen so they can't abscond!
 

rook66 

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Not entirely sure what the end result is as I had to head out for a couple of hours. All quiet now apart from the odd bee at the main trap I suspect (hope) they’re all inside.

Is it possible there was more than one swarm...or multiple queens? They were all travelling as one unit as far as I could see...there did look to be a lot of them compared to my previous swarms
There can be several vqs in a cast, when they settle the selection process starts, if you watch the cluster closely, you can see the agression towards the unwanted princesses.
 

Erichalfbee 

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There can be several vqs in a cast, when they settle the selection process starts, if you watch the cluster closely, you can see the agression towards the unwanted princesses.
I’ve never seen that. It must be quite something to see
 

oliver90owner 

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There can be several vqs in a cast, when they settle the selection process starts, if you watch the cluster closely, you can see the agression towards the unwanted princesses.
I wouldn’t say that is normal but I would say that there could be more than one...
 

rook66 

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I wouldn’t say that is normal but I would say that there could be more than one...
I conducted a little experiment a few years ago, caught a large cast and threw it out onto a sheet on the ground, I caught four queens in clamp cages(there could have been more ) the clamps were set out ad hoc with the bees and after about 15 mins they had made their choice. two were completely ignored the other two had about 80/20 divide, so still a lot to be learned about swarming and natural selection/survival
 

Little_bees 

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I’ve been trying to work out what’s putting them off. I suppose it could be too much choice in a small area as I’ve got quite a few bait hives around the garden. That said, they are at least attracting the swarms to the vicinity....three swarms in as many weeks. I’m loathed to take any of the traps down as it feels like I would be reducing my chances. But maybe I should, who knows
As the scout bees choose their final home by consensus of opinion, the location with the most favour wins.

If you have 3 locations with equal favour, say of 20%, there won't be enough agreement for any one of the bait hives to be chosen.

If you reduce to one bait hive, you could quickly get 60% agreement and they'll move in.
 

Do224 

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As the scout bees choose their final home by consensus of opinion, the location with the most favour wins.

If you have 3 locations with equal favour, say of 20%, there won't be enough agreement for any one of the bait hives to be chosen.

If you reduce to one bait hive, you could quickly get 60% agreement and they'll move in.
Yeah I get what you’re saying....this is the bit I don’t get though.

The bees are obviously reaching a consensus which results in the swarm arriving in my garden....I think that all the scouts (from each of the bait hives) are pulling them to the garden together ....and I have a theory that’s why I’m seeing so many swarms. I expect the waggle dance of a bee who’s been scouting my Cedar tree bait hive looks identical to the dance performed by a bee who’s been scouting my stable roof bait hive 15 metres away...so they’re effectively teaming up to draw the swarm to my garden.

If I took all but one bait hive down I think I would be reducing the overall number of scouts in the garden....I don’t think I would have just as many scouts but all at the one bait hive. I think the multiple bait hives are pulling more scouts in total than one bait hive would

All just theories anyway...but interesting! Would make a good phd subject 😂
 

Little_bees 

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I expect the waggle dance of a bee who’s been scouting my Cedar tree bait hive looks identical to the dance performed by a bee who’s been scouting my stable roof bait hive 15 metres away...so they’re effectively teaming up to draw the swarm to my garden.
Maybe, I have no idea how accurate to the metre the dance is. Obviously they don't have the advantage of scent to fine-tune the position.
If I took all but one bait hive down I think I would be reducing the overall number of scouts in the garden....
I don't think you would. You've probably got the exact same scouts at each location except they now have the dilemma of equally attractive homes.

I'd suggest to take two down and see what happens. If a swarm arrives and settles, you can still hive them and put the box back for potential future swarms.
 

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