Swarms from unmanaged hive - worth it?

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Sutty

From Glossop, North Derbyshire, UK
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Glossop, North Derbyshire
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National
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4 to 12!
I was posting a queen today and the lady behind the counter said that there is a beehive in the garden next to her that has been unmanaged for about 4 years and swarms into her garden every year several times. The house is unoccupied.
Do you think one of these swarms would be worth collecting on the basis that the bees may have some varroa resistance?
I'm aware the colony may have died and been reoccupied, but several swarms a year makes this seems less likely. 🤔
I don't need extra bees currently but maybe worth a thought?
 
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I was posting a queen today and the lady behind the counter said that there is a beehive in the garden next to her that has been unmanaged for about 4 years and swarms into her garden every year several times. The house is unoccupied.
Do you think one of these swarms would be worth collecting on the basis that the bees may have some varroa resistance?
I'm aware the colony may have died and been reoccupied, but several swarms a year makes this seems less likely. 🤔
I don't need extra bees currently but maybe worth a thought?
Certainly. If they are unmanaged and doing well, they must have something going for them when you consider all the reports of winter loss.
 
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It's got to be worth looking inside the hive at least...
Wish it was closer to me :(
K ;)
Can't really do that unless she has a contact number for the owner. Apparently it's so overgrown that she reckons it would be hard to remove.
 
It doesn't necessarily mean it is the same family line of bees. It could swarm out one year or die off and then a new swarm moves into the abandoned hive next year.
Certainly a free living hive which has survived this long probably has some varroa resistant traits but that isn't necessarily what is happening. You expect swarms every year. The fact it is every few years does make me wonder if they are dying off. Especially if they throw of multiple casts as she describes, it is likely the swarm themselves out.
Essentially you don't know without checking the bees, could be diseased escapees or free living resistant bees ( I suspect the former is much much more likely)
 
It doesn't necessarily mean it is the same family line of bees. It could swarm out one year or die off and then a new swarm moves into the abandoned hive next year.
Certainly a free living hive which has survived this long probably has some varroa resistant traits but that isn't necessarily what is happening. You expect swarms every year. The fact it is every few years does make me wonder if they are dying off. Especially if they throw of multiple casts as she describes, it is likely the swarm themselves out.
Essentially you don't know without checking the bees, could be diseased escapees or free living resistant bees ( I suspect the former is much much more likely)
From her description every year and several swarms. Could still be dying off and reoccupied, swarming the same year is quite possible, but for 4yrs made me curious.
Curious but not optimistic!
I gave her my number so I may get a call this season.
Really antisocial of the beek who left them behind (apparently took a bunch of others).
 
Sorry I misread. Still I suspect jenkinsbrymair is correct.
I know some people don't like collecting swarms.
I think it is worth a go, might as well leave out a bait hive. You can always treat or requeen as needed
 
Sorry I misread. Still I suspect jenkinsbrymair is correct.
I know some people don't like collecting swarms.
I think it is worth a go, might as well leave out a bait hive. You can always treat or requeen as needed
So do I. I was just wondering if people thought it was worth a go, in view of my not needing more bees!
 
So do I. I was just wondering if people thought it was worth a go, in view of my not needing more bees!
Free bees ... hard to resist - even when you already have too many ! It's another disease - Ineedfreebeesitis - totally incurable ....
 
Free bees? Yes Stan likes his free bees. We always put a bait hive up on the potting shed roof. Some years they are allowed to live up there for the summer
 
I was posting a queen today and the lady behind the counter said that there is a beehive in the garden next to her that has been unmanaged for about 4 years and swarms into her garden every year several times. The house is unoccupied.
Do you think one of these swarms would be worth collecting on the basis that the bees may have some varroa resistance?
I'm aware the colony may have died and been reoccupied, but several swarms a year makes this seems less likely. 🤔
I don't need extra bees currently but maybe worth a thought?
If you've never looked in an unmanaged hive it's quite interesting to see first hand what the bees get up to, so it may be worth it from that perspective at least.
 
antisocial of the beek who left them behind (apparently took a bunch of others)
Probably took the rest and left one to collect the stray flyers, and forgot (or was unable) to return to collect it.

Can't really do that unless she has a contact number for the owner
Yes, no action without permisssion.
 
Certainly. If they are unmanaged and doing well, they must have something going for them when you consider all the reports of winter loss.
I personally would choose a swarm from an established unmanaged hive over anything else. They will have a level of adaptation to the surrounding environment, including varroa
 
I personally would choose a swarm from an established unmanaged hive over anything else. They will have a level of adaptation to the surrounding environment, including varroa
There is no provenance with a swarm or the hive that it came from in the scenario being described here as it currently stands. There maybe but there is no proof of continual in habitation and frankly unlikely with other beekeepers in the area.
 
Stan and I took down the box on one of our trees today as it was starting to fall apart. It was put up in 2017 and we have had four colonies in it. The last swarm arrived last summer which, of course, was an absolute disaster for the bees. We found a small dead cluster of around fifty bees.


View attachment TREE BEES.mov
 

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