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Swarm leaves a hive...and then returns

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m100 

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Did an artificial swarm last week. Absolutely sure I left no queen cells with the queen.

The hive on the original site with the original queen and all the fliers decided to 'swarm' this morning.

Loads left the hive, circling round in a cloud, landing on the fence with a few of them on the usual tree in the neighbours garden where previous swarms have congregated.

Then, maybe 20 mins later they seemed to settle down and return back to the hive, clustering on the outside and eventually more or less all going back inside. Now you'd not know anything had happened. The weather was slightly overcast when they left the hive and its now a bit sunnier and definitely warmer.

The queen is from a colony that moved into a bait hive last year, provenance completely unknown and she is not clipped. She was laying out quite well last week.

So what has happened and why ?????


Did the queen just decide to go for a bit of exercise?
 

karl moss 

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Snap

Exactly the same thing happened to me today at approx 1230hrs, muggy and overcast, then sunny, less than an hour later,they were all back, i'm off today, if i hadn't have seen and heard them i would never have known
 

Haughton Honey 

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Don't shoot me.....but are you sure that what you are describing aren't orientation flights?
 

m100 

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Orientation for who or what?

This queen has effectively been in the same hive for the past year, the fliers have been foraging for months, the unsealed queen cells I left in the artificial swarm won't be emerging for a few days and there are next to no fliers in that hive anyway.

This was nearly every flying bee in the hive turning the sky black making a complete racket, they had gorged on honey and I stood in the middle of them without being stung just savouring the moment and cursing loosing a swarm. Then they returned to the hive in a carpet 3 inches thick across a brood box and two supers and halfway down the stand, then over 20 mins or so they all moved back inside.
 

Polyanwood 

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Maybe the gods are with you and someone has clipped your queen without you knowing Martin?
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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Strange. Almost exactly the same has happened to me today. Hive swarms, sits on nearby tree for a couple of hours, then decides to go back where it came from. Queen not clipped.

Four hours later, same hive swarms again, and sits in another nearby tree. As I write, I am waiting for them to climb up into the skep I have placed just above them. If they oblige, then I have a nice new home waiting for them.

But I'd still like to know what made them come back.

(Incidentally, I have been through the hive and removed all but two Queen cells - hope this was about right? Bees left in the hive were not at all amused at all the comings and goings).
 

plumberman 

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One of my hives that I did an AS on 3 weeks ago, and ( to the best of my knowledge) has a queen on the point of lay did this on Tuesday - large numbers of bees out and for all intents and purpose a swarm. Flew around for a bit, so I was waiting for them to settle, then flew back into the hive. Half an hour later - business as usual.

Mating flight, bees thought to go with Queen? Rather dramatic for escorting her, if that's what it was.
 

SixFooter 

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This happened to one of my hives with a new Q on 2 consequetive days. Lots came out of the hive, they swirled around and above the hive - 10ft up , 10ft across, then went back in again. I was rather hoping the bees were getting excited because the new Q was on a mating flight.

Also, prior to this, there was no pollen going in, but afterwards I saw a little going in.
COuld have been 2 casts I suppose, but I am fairly sure they went back in.
 

Stephen H. 

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Same thing has happened to one I did an A/s on,happened today,I arrived to see them all going back into the hive,this has happened three times I am told.I found it strange and wondered if the new queen had gone on a mating flight,but surely not three times.Gave the girl on the horse on the other side of the hedge a certain amount of excitement I believe.
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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And there they were, gone!

Strange. Almost exactly the same has happened to me today. Hive swarms, sits on nearby tree for a couple of hours, then decides to go back where it came from. Queen not clipped.

Four hours later, same hive swarms again, and sits in another nearby tree. As I write, I am waiting for them to climb up into the skep I have placed just above them. If they oblige, then I have a nice new home waiting for them.

But I'd still like to know what made them come back.

(Incidentally, I have been through the hive and removed all but two Queen cells - hope this was about right? Bees left in the hive were not at all amused at all the comings and goings).

Well, they obviously weren't interested in the new home on offer. Checked the swarm at 5:00 this morning, and they were all quietly working their way into the skep (probably trying to warm themselves up!). But by 8:30 when I looked again, there they weren't!

Perhaps it was my aftershave
 

darrenperrett 

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Whereabouts in Cornwall are you thedeaddiplomat ?

Hopefully it`ll cross the border and find my bait hives, lol.

Darren
 

milkermel 

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DD i blame the supplier!!!! only joking! mine have swarmed this morning and now gone back into brood box! So do i remove queen cells???? There are quite a few in there!
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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Whereabouts in Cornwall are you thedeaddiplomat ?

Hopefully it`ll cross the border and find my bait hives, lol.

Darren
Sorry Darren, wrong direction I think. I expect to hear they have arrived in Dordogne very soon!:coolgleamA:
 

MJBee 

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Thanks for the heads up DD I'll keep an eye out for them:)
 

admin 

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Just dont send Hornets in return !!
 

Incatatus 

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the same thing has just happened to me. they came out of thr hive flew around, landed on a gorse bush, 20 mins later all up in the air again and back to the hive. fantastic hot day, queen not clipped, anyone got any ideas about what happened here?
 

Simon 

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Something similar to me - mine swarmed into a partly made bonfire about 5m away from their hive.

I tried to knock them into a skep, but it didn't work and 30mins later they weren't there. However, in the mean time I had checked the hive, found two emerged Queen Cells and 1 sealed, left the sealed one and gave them some more space with an empty super above the Queen Excluder.
But when I had done all that, there were thousands of bees around the entrance, making me think they had come back home. This evening, there were still loads clustered on the front of the hive with lots of fanning going on. I left the skep as a bait hive, but no interest so far.

Simon
 

Bee Sting 

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the same thing has just happened to me. they came out of thr hive flew around, landed on a gorse bush, 20 mins later all up in the air again and back to the hive. fantastic hot day, queen not clipped, anyone got any ideas about what happened here?

Exactly the same thing happened to me last week
I was gardening, heard the roar and watched a colony leave their hive and settle on the hawthorn hedge across the lane

by the time I had got my suit on and a box to collect them in they had returned to the hive

I left them alone for a couple of hours and then went through the hive and couldn't find any queen cups sealed or otherwise and the queen was still in attendance so I did an AS and they have been busy drawing comb ever since, including the super that they had previously been ignoring
 
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