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What do I do if a swarm of bees turns up?

If you have a swarm of bees - DON'T PANIC. The first thing to check is if they are honey bees. If they really are honey bees then ring your local beekeepers association. For more details on how to check what you have got and get help see our swarms page.

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Mating Swarm


Well at first we thought how lucky we were, it was happening again.  A second swarm (within a week) in our neighbour's garden.  David spotted lots of bees flying around next door's Acer tree.  And right at the top seemed to be the swarm.  We set about putting lures around the tree to tempt the swarm out and then I noticed lots of activity around hive 2 in our apiary - loads of bees on the flight board.

Now that was the hive we had worried didn't have a queen and for a while we thought the new swarm had found it and decided to make it home.  Quite possible I suppose if they had found a queenless colony but on further inspection, we think something entirely different had happened ...

It wasn't until there were no longer bees around the Acer and we were smugly thinking that must be the easiest swarm to deal with plus solving our queenless colony situation at the same time when we decided to take a peek in the hive to see what was happening - yes that one has a glass quilt.  But surprisingly there didn't seem a mass of bees equivalent to a large swarm.  We had looked in last night and there certainly wasn't double or treble the number in there.

So, had they gone elsewhere?

No, we think it was a mating flight.

There had been activity around the hive yesterday and we wondered whether we had even seen the queen at one point although thought that what we were seeing were large drones coming in and out of the hive.

Now today, we suspect the queen had left on a mating flight and that the bees had swarmed with her.  That's quite likely in a weak or nucleus colony when the bees get a bit confused and leave with the queen but then return to the hive when they realise they are not "moving" just yet.

If that was the case, then the swam we saw was most likely a mating swam and of course when we saw all the bees on the flight board nasanoving away to attract their sister home, that was their return.

Well, we didn't double our number of bees but we did see an amazing and exciting sight.

The weather is so much better now after a few days' relentless rainfall so let's hope they get a good spurt on and do well.
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Posted by sally on Friday 30 May 2008 - 12:56:54 |printer friendly