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What constitutes a swarm?

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Erichalfbee 

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What sort of bees are in a swarm?
Does the queen leave with just flyers or a mix of "hive bees" and foragers?
 

Somerford 

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A prime swarm tends to consist of around half the bees in a hive ie those that are at 'foraging' stage - older and more able to fly, along with a queen (mated or otherwise) and possibly a few drones.

Caste swarms are those that leave after the prime swarm has emerged, usually when the first vrigin emerges if the conditions are right and there are enough bees to do so (again about half the bees, or a quarter of the original stock), subsequent caste swarms can also issue.

S
 

Erichalfbee 

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Thanks Somerford, that's what I thought.
So,these older foragers can "regress" into nurse bees then?
 

MJBee 

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Yes they do and given a ready supply of syrup they will very quickly produce drawn comb from foundation.
 

Rosti 

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Also recognise that a prime swarm is lead by the old queen and who should start laying as soon as there is comb to lay in where as a cast is quite possibly led by an un-mated queen and so will lag whilst she mates - perhaps 3 weeks behind a prime swarm.
 

Poly Hive 

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Further to the above it is also thought that a proportion of young bees also "find their wings" in the excitement and that they of course are of great assistance in supporting the creation of the new colony.

PH
 

oliver90owner 

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And in the last few days before swarming, some bees (which might otherwise have progressed to foraging duties) have been inactive and just 'hanging around' awaiting the swarming instruction.

Rosti says a cast will quite possibly be headed by a virgin queen. There is little doubt about that, as the old, mated queen went with the prime swarm and all hatching queens will be virgins.

Regards, RAB
 
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Tom Bick 

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And in the last few days before swarming, some bees (which might otherwise have progressed to foraging duties) have been inactive and just 'hanging around' awaiting the swarming instruction.

Regards, RAB
Hi Rab

Is that just hanging around the entrance of the hive so as not to miss the swarm when it happens.
 
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