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Swarm Absconding - Sort of!

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House Bee

Joined: 19 Apr 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Swarm Absconding - Sort of! Reply with quote

I have 2 top bars situated fairly near to each other. I hived a large swarm in my empty one yesterday. The bees subsequently exited and gathered slowly on the front of the next door hive, re-forming their cluster and blocking all the entrances to the active hive. Foragers seemed to be squeezing through a small slit the arriving bees had made. I chose to leave them overnight to see if the swarm decided to go back as oppose to disturbing them. In the morning they were still in situ so I gently swept them back into the swarm box and re-hived them, in a slightly bigger space than before (as they were a large swarm I thought perhaps one or two more bars could help). They appear to be thinking of returning to the front of next door again as we speak as some are gathering there. Has anyone experienced this before? I have hived bees one colony first and another later in the year another in next door hives and had no problem. Are they rejecting my empty hive (it has been previously inhabited, but blow torched thoroughly)? Have I lost the queen in the gathering process and the colony are confused? Or neither of these?!
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


It's really difficult to say but it could be that the queen was not strong enough to fly far and landed on the ground or got dropped on the ground during the hiving process and climbed up the hive leg onto the front of the original hive and it may be that you didn't manage to get her the second time either or it could be that she got damaged/killed and they are now queenless and confused.

I've certainly had this happen with cast swarms, where they have clustered somewhere and then gone back and clustered on the front of the hive.

You could try putting a comb of brood with a queen cell attached, into the new hive and dropping them back in and see if that helps them stay put.

Good luck

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House Bee

Joined: 28 Jun 2015
Posts: 19
Location: East Harling, Norwich, Norfolk, U.K.

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am having the same thing happen with bees apparently swarming below and in front of the Tbh. I put them in a hive close by and they all left and returned to the original hive. The first thing they did on putting them in the new hive was to eject what I assume was a queen. They still absconded though. This morning they are hanging below the original hive again. It looks like a swarm but not seeming to want to go anywhere, though it is raining.
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

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