Swarm return to hive (twice!)

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Minch 

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My hive has swarmed twice (today and yesterday) but on each occasion returned to hive. I did add a super last night and thought i had removed all extra queen cells as I have a new queen.

Any advice ASAP!!!!

- i have spare nuc hive as a resource

Minch
 
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Ivor Kemp 

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When you say a new Queen - a Virgin? Is it possible that your 'swarm' was the mating flight of your new Queen?
 

beeno 

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Hi Minch,
If you can hear piping from the hive you have more than one queen in there.
 

enrico 

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I think I must be going mad! I have been keeping bees for thirty years. Always in my garden, I have seen hundreds of swarms but never seen a mating flight. I can't believe a mating flight looks like a swarm! Shoot me down in flames but it seems to me that a bit of hectic activity gets called a mating flight.
E
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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My hive has swarmed twice (today and yesterday) but on each occasion returned to hive. I did add a super last night and thought i had removed all extra queen cells as I have a new queen.

Any advice ASAP!!!!

- i have spare nuc hive as a resource

Minch
So what exactly has been going on with the hive - why were there QC's in the first place, and what's this new queen ? Timeline/events and a bit more info may help us to help you :)
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I think I must be going mad! I have been keeping bees for thirty years. Always in my garden, I have seen hundreds of swarms but never seen a mating flight. I can't believe a mating flight looks like a swarm! Shoot me down in flames but it seems to me that a bit of hectic activity gets called a mating flight.
E
I witnesses a few last year (if you remember - off work, nice weather all day, most days at the apiary.)
Bees channel out of a mating nuc with newly emerged virgin (not quite as populous as a swarm) fill the air (very much like a swarm arriving) over a large area then settle down at the original hive - bearding outside first of all then gradually troop back in (very much like a swarm) happened three days on the trot. Next week BIAS still laying like a train now
 

Fraise 

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I had a swarm returning to the hive & on inspection I found the queen had somehow got above the queen excluder. She was obviously not leaving with the swarm so they were returning when they could not find her.
Might be worth looking?
 

Mellifera397 

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Not sure. About to look and then i guess i need to split the hive. Old queen to nuc?
Old queen to nuc, yes.

You could put the old queen in a new brood box on the original site just as in an artificial swarm.

Its up to you :)

M
 

ROACHMAN 

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I had the same a few weeks ago.

I was doing my weekly inspections when I noticed a swarm emerging from a hive about 10 hives away.

The swarm clustered up into a nearby tree, 10 minutes later the swarm took to the air and went back in to its original hive.

When I eventually got to the hive to see what was going on I witnessed some bees balling the marked queen. I broke up the ball and the queen fell back into the hive.

I then performed an artificial swarm but on checking a couple of days later the queen was nowhere to be seen.

According to Manley this can happen, the swarm leaves without the queen, the bees get frustrated and turn on their queen and kill her.
 

Minch 

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Hi Roachman,

I suspect that has happened - anyway i have split the hive; moving 2 frames of brood and another of food to a nuc hive. I couldnt spot the queen this time so hopefully the hives will raise a replacement. This is only my second year so a steep learning curve :)
 

beeno 

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QUOTE=enrico;419271]I think I must be going mad! I have been keeping bees for thirty years. Always in my garden, I have seen hundreds of swarms but never seen a mating flight. I can't believe a mating flight looks like a swarm! Shoot me down in flames but it seems to me that a bit of hectic activity gets called a mating flight.
E[/QUOTE]

:iagree:
 

itma 

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My hive has swarmed twice (today and yesterday) but on each occasion returned to hive. ... thought i had removed all extra queen cells as I have a new queen.
If your "new queen" has only recently emerged from her cell (within the last month), I'd be pretty sure that you have been lucky enough to see not one but two mating flights. (Two more than Enrico has seen in 30 years!)


I'd add to JBM's description that sometimes they may, for a few minutes only, form a cluster on a branch or whatever (like a real swarm) - but it breaks up as the bees realise they don't have a Q with them (just like an aborted swarm with a clipped Q).
And, on returning to the hive there is a LOT of Nasonov fanning, while the majority of the bees slink back inside.

It seems to be a more commonly visible phenomenon with a VQ in a full hive or big nuc. It doesn't seem to happen in micro mating nucs (Apideas).



My own personal opinion is that the bees in the hive don't know whether the VQ is going out on a mating flight or a cast swarm. In a colony that is big enough to cast, how is the individual bee to know what the fuss is about? She just joins in the fun, and piles out of the hive with her sisters. (And because an Apidea simply ain't big enough to cast, the 'swarm' never happens.) In the case of a swarm, the (V)Q settles only a few yards from the original hive to regroup and gather her new colony as a cluster - however, if its a mating flight, she keeps on going (for a few miles), leaving a cloud of bees milling around the apiary looking for a cluster to join … and, not finding a Q&cluster, the bees return to their hive, Nasonov fanning to guide Q back home after her big adventure.
 

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