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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Swarm!

I was out on my tractor preparing my pollinator plot (sunflowers and buckwheat) when my wife drives up and tells me my neighbor is trying to get in touch with me because my bees are swarming! I keep a few hives in his apple orchard. I go to his place and the bees are swarmed in a newly planted tree not far from the hives. After taking a few photos I successfully hived them, making them and me happy campers!


Keep 'em in the ten ring
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 03:37 PM
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Re: Swarm!

What makes them swarm like that??
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Swarm!

Swarming is the natural instinctive way of preserving the species. As beekeepers, we try to minimize their swarming tendencies by managing the hive and simulating swarms by splitting the hive before they swarm.

Keep 'em in the ten ring
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Swarm!

The queen takes off with about half the bees in the hive in search of a new home, leaving the nurse bees and a developing queen to continue the existing hive.

Keep 'em in the ten ring
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 04:35 PM
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Re: Swarm!

Very cool and informative... but please keep them in Hawley Pa!
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 06:14 PM
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Re: Swarm!

This is amazing. Are they aggressive when they are swarming?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 06:16 PM
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Re: Swarm!

If the queen can leave the hive to swarm what stops her from leaving any other time? I thought that the hives were constructed so the queen could not escape.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 08:12 PM
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Re: Swarm!

Great info! Thanks.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Swarm!

The swarm is usually not aggressive, especially in the beginning stages. They gorge themselves with honey to sustain them on their hunt for a new home, which makes it difficult for them to bend into the stinging position. That is what the smoke makes them do as well. They retreat into the hive and start consuming honey because they think there is a forest fire and that they will need to flee.

Keep 'em in the ten ring
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Swarm!

During most of the year the hive is in balance with all the bees having their own work to do. The queen is not locked into the hive in any way and is free to leave if mother nature tells her to. Spring and early summer is swarm time and if they find a home on their own or are caught by a beekeeper, their chances of survival are as good as they could be. They also could swarm toward the end of summer, although less likely, and their chances for survival in PA is minimal.

Keep 'em in the ten ring
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