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Are my bees swarming

 
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NetComrade
Nurse Bee


Joined: 21 Apr 2014
Posts: 36
Location: Paw Paw, WV, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:54 am    Post subject: Are my bees swarming Reply with quote

Yesterday I thought it was too hot (and there were fewer), but now it's in the 60's and there are more, and it's before 7am and cloudy.

The hive on the left (with most bees out) was also abandoned by the bees alltogether last year.

These are new colonies from packaged bees installed in early May.

Maybe they're just doing their morning exercise Smile?

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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

It's called bearding and it can be to do with heat and overcrowding.
Have you inspected them since you installed them? If so when?
If they have been in just 2 boxes since early May, they may well be getting tight for space. Unfortunately that may already have caused them to make plans to swarm. Bearding does not always lead to swarming but they are often associated, so I would prepare for that. If you tip the boxes, you may well see queen cells on the bottom of the bombs and that will tell you for sure.

Swarming is a normal part of a colony's life cycle and I think many people don't really seem to grasp that and are taken by surprise, rather than expecting it.
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NetComrade
Nurse Bee


Joined: 21 Apr 2014
Posts: 36
Location: Paw Paw, WV, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. I added a box to each at the bottom.

I didn't look into them, as they're frameless, and it would be difficult to look at the bottom of the comb. They looked happy and busy the last few times I looked at them.

I seem to do more damage than good whenever I touch them, so I try to not disturb them other than feeding them sugar (which I do through the top feeder).

They were pretty heavy though, so you are probably right about being crowded in the hive.

I wouldn't be able to identify queen cells anyway.

How do I get ready for a swarm?

I don't have a spare hive anyway, I can call some local beekeepers to come get the free bees.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adding another box now is most likely too late. Swarming plans are made weeks in advance of the event. They have probably filled the hive with syrup and had no more room to rear brood and that is what triggers swarm prep.
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bingevader
New Bee


Joined: 20 Jul 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Wales

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What did your packaged bees come in?
Can you modify the box to re-house a swarm if needs be?
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NetComrade
Nurse Bee


Joined: 21 Apr 2014
Posts: 36
Location: Paw Paw, WV, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are much fewer bees hanging out this late afternoon outside.. maybe a few dozen.

If they swarm.. how do I monitor/identify?

Any useful links on how to modify package boxes to catch the swarm? I still have 4 of them lying around.

Thanks.
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NetComrade
Nurse Bee


Joined: 21 Apr 2014
Posts: 36
Location: Paw Paw, WV, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Should I remove wood shavings from the quilt for the summer to improve ventilation? They now seem to be hanging outside at night.
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NetComrade
Nurse Bee


Joined: 21 Apr 2014
Posts: 36
Location: Paw Paw, WV, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The crowding (bearding) seems to be happening mostly in the evening now.
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