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Have we lost our colony?

  • 29 Nov 2016 3:15 PM
    Message # 4415915

    Last week my son and I captured a swarm and put it in our hive. We inspected it a few days later and the bees were in there but still grouped together at the end of 2 of the frames. As the weather improved we started to see activity with bees leaving and returning to the hive. It looked good but then on Saturday afternoon a number of bees came out of the hive and circled around then flew off to the East. I thought we had lost them all but there is still activity at the hive with bees coming and going. Not as many as before but they are still there. Have we lost our queen and our colony and are these just the ones that were out and about when the colony decided to leave and "missed the bus"?

    Is there any reason for them to leave? There were lost of flowers in bloom around and the hive had 8 frames of foundation.

  • 30 Nov 2016 6:21 PM
    Reply # 4431511 on 4415915
    Andrew Wootton (Administrator)

    Not really sure from the description.  One possibility that occurs to me is that you captured a caste or after swarm and that it had a virgin queen.  What you could have seen is the queen leaving on a mating flight, sometimes she is accompanied by a retinue.  In which case they should have returned.  Time will tell as you will either see eggs 2 weeks from this date or the numbers will be dwindling.

    With swarms I like to provide clustering space for a few days, rather than just filling the hive with foundation.  My theory (which is pretty half baked as I have no evidence) is that bees in swarming mode want to cluster and find the foundation interferes with this - hence sometimes they abscond for greener pastures.

    Last modified: 30 Nov 2016 6:24 PM | Andrew Wootton (Administrator)

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