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Queen Bee
Nov 8, 2008
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Why when a swarm leaves a hive and is caught and rehived in the same apairy,do most of the bee's not return to to parent hive they have swarmed from.Yet if you relocate a hive say twenty ft,the majority will fly back to the original position. Also bee's that have swarmed and realize they have lost there queen,due to her being clipped,will return to the parent hive.
I think it goes something like this.

Before they swarm the bees engorge with honey to help sustain them during the transitional period. Just prior to leaving the hive some bees will start to dance in a frenzied state, and soon there are hundreds doing the self same dance, the 'whir' dance. With all this activity going on and then swarming with full stomachs, they leave the hive.
Once settled in a cluster somewhere not too far from the original hive, scouts go out to find a new 'home'.
When a consensus of opinion to where to live is reached amongst the bees there is more dancing, and its believed that with all the excitement of dancing, swarming, and finding a new 'home' they forget about where their old home was.
This behaviour is also thought to be hereditary and in the bees physiological make-up.

Regards; Bcrazy:seeya:
Forgot to add about the queen.
If a queen flies off with the swarm she produces a pheromone that informes the swarm she is present and keeps cohesion within the swarm.
If there is NO queen with the swarm there is no pheromone of queen substance to hold the swarm together. Therefore the bees realising that there is no queen return to the parent hive to locate her.
All to do with pheromones.

Regards; Bcrazy:seeya:
Thank you Bcrazy, i know about the gorging with honey,and dancing bit,but still find it amazing how they can just forget where they came from when you may re-hive them right next to the hive they have come from,and yet they do not return.Not even the foragers,that have spent some time going to and fro from the original hive.It is amazing how they can just forget this,yet remember some flowers over a mile away,and keep going back.I wonder during this period of swarming if they also forget where they were last foraging.Also sometimes,a swarm that leaves a hive that has a clipped queen will cluster from anything like 20 mins to several hours,before they seem to realize the queen is not there,they have gone through all the above suggestions,yet they remember and return to the hive they have come from,minus the queen,which is usually lost in the grass.And they do not seem to find her,via pheremones,and the parent hive may only have Q cells, so no queen pheromone there.
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when bees swarm,it`s like their memory has been wiped clean,like a tape.
i suppose this is because once a swarm has issued it would not be very good
for the new colony if things got tough,and some bees just went back to the old hive.once they swarm they burn their bridges. and are on their own.
this does not explain why if they lose their queen they return to the old location.they must still have some memory of where they come
answers please
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Hivemaker. said:
the parent hive may only have Q cells, so no queen pheromone there.

Are you sure that queen cells don't give off pheromone?

I thouhgt when one queen emerges and there is another just about to emerge, the first will start piping. I thought that piping was a, " I'm coming after you, be afraid" message??? If this is true, then it suggests that a QC starts to give off pheromone before teh queen emerges?
Yes queen cells with emerging queens will give off pheromones,but if you are carrying out swarm control they should not be at this point,but the point is the bee's will return to the hive,even if there are no q cells,in fact on many occasions i have removed the hive and replaced with another box,with foundation and couple of combs while the bee's are out clustering, they still return to this box as a swarm,i then give them back there queen,or another.Piping is used to locate one another,even the queens in the cells pipe.
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Last summer I got 2 swarm at same time. I put lure spray in the bush and I wondered how two colonies were able to be unmixed to each other.

I tried to put them together the swarms but they went again separate.

A big part on them got head mixed and returned to old home.
If a swarm has settled on a branch etc and is awaiting the time to move off to a new home and you capture them they wil stay with you, but if enough scout bees have returned and given out instructions of a new home and you then collect them they are now programed to continue swarming until the new home is reached unless you use a QE or other meens of containing them.

Your thoughts ?
If they are still clustering when you catch them then the chances are you will keep them,but sometimes next day they are off again,casts are worse for this as the queen goes out to mate and they all go.

poly hives signature is about right here.

"Bees do nothing invariably."

B. Mobus

So you reckon that your spray works to attract swarms. What is it?
A queen excluder under the brood box for 3-4 days, and a donated frame of brood to the collected swarm apparently makes sure the swarm stays with you.:toetap05:

Polyanwood - you can buy swarm lure from Thornes etc. Comes in a vial, not cheap, and I didnt find it worked.

I have prepared a tennis ball tied to string which is tied to thicker string, very long. If I have a swarm too high for me to get, I lob the ball (with a ball thrower like dog owners have) up over a near branch and then haul up a frame of comb, honey and if pos a smidgen of brood. The swarm (hopefully) go to this and can be gently lowered to the ground.:cheers2:
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I got swarm lure grease from Russia and it worked fine. Last summer I use citron smell spray and it worked 75% good.

When the swarm is intended to land, put stuff in proper place that it gets a proper place to catch.

The swarm has some visual atraction in the scenery because years after yeas they land in same places. That lure should sustain they intentions.

I am satisfied with stuff but it does not work like automat.
I tried the French made swarm lure that is a cream called Charme. Smelled of oranges and lemons. Didn't work for me.

What is the Russian stuff that you think works Finman?
Use the brown gunge on the bottom of your wax processing.

Drop it in the hive as the lure.

It is irresistible to bees.


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