Friday 31 May 2013

What was that all about?

An odd thing happened this afternoon with the hive that I didn't understand, perhaps someone can shed light upon the incident.

About 4.15, sun shining brightly, warm and still, thousands of bees boiled out of the hive filling the garden to over 30ft in the air. I wondered if I was witnessing a swarm starting to form. This went for about 20 mins and the the bees started to settle back on and below the hive in a swarm like form. Oh no, I thought, I'll never get underneath to capture them later in the evening.

I hastily donned the bee suit and wandered up to the hive. To my astonishment they were reentering the hive. Lots of the bees had their bums in the air, I assume spraying pheromones about. By 5 o'clock the colony seemed to be settling down into a fairly normal mode.

Did I witness the supercession of the old queen - a kind of apian coup d'etat?

I'd be grateful for your thoughts,



  1. Welcome to your first swarm preparations.

    You will in all probability lose them within the next couple of days(probably tomorrow), keep a look out in your nearby trees.

    If you want to try and forestall it you could try a split and put some frames with queen cells along with frames of pollen and honey into your very handy mini hive. You will need to take or destroy all the queen cells or they will swarm anyway. Make sure you have at least two frames of pollen/honey per frame of brood.

    Otherwise you can hope they swarm nearby and then try and catch them, get a box with a lid get them in the box, if the queen is there they will start to fan(bums in air), let them all settle then that evening knock them into the small hive.

    Last option let them swarm wave goodbye and wish them well.

    Have fun


  2. Thanks Dave.
    I've just had a short spell in hospital and am only semi-mobile at the moment so unless they kindly swarm into the empty hive next door, or come to rest on a handy low level branch it'll have to bye bye, sadly


  3. Hi Pete
    Glad to hear that the bees are 'performing' for you. Not so glad to hear about you being in hospital; hope all is now well?

    Agree with Dave, probably a practice prior to swarming. I suspect by now they have already gone; did you notice them leaving or have you tried feeling the weight of the hive? If you are not feeling able to chase the swarm, as Dave said, let them find their own way knowing that for the short time thry were with you you did your best for them.


  4. Hi Boyd.
    Hope the sun is still shining where you are, I guess it is ;-). Have you got any bees yet?
    Still recovering from my stay in hospital, walking is an effort, can't go more than 50 yds or so and can be quite uncomfortable. But getting a bit better most days.
    Don't know if they've gone or not, I didn't witness it and there's no sign of a swarm in the garden. The lady who gave me the hive commented that in her experience it swarmed at least once every year. Maybe if we think it'll swarm later DaDBeeP can reap the benefit of the knowledge and experience of Tim and Dave and try a split later in the season by convening here in Belper?