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Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:31 pm
by Jacobs
David called me around 5:30 pm yesterday to tell me that one of my hives was swarming. Given the small number of bees in the air near that hive and the known strength of the hive, I thought this was an abscond on a suicidal attempt to join my hive. Some of the bees started toward the back of my yard, so I sprayed Swarm Commander on a dogwood and the swarm landed there.
Swarm-Abscond_82319_IMG_3388.JPG (64.52 KiB) Viewed 2671 times
I got the bees in a nuc, but they were not organized and I did not see a queen. As I turned around to go into the house, a second wave of bees showed up at the edge of the house. I sprayed Swarm Commander there to bring them down. They gathered on the back wall of my house and I could see a queen. I caught her, put her in a queen catcher clip, brought the nuc to the wall, and put her in it. The bees were erratic, but I dumped a fair number of the 2nd group into the nuc and went to my cousins' for dinner. This morning, I saw this.
Swarm_abscond2_82319_IMG_3389.JPG (53.92 KiB) Viewed 2671 times
Most of the bees came out of the nuc and spent the night in the rain. There were a few bees on and inside the clip with the queen, and she was still alive. I used a scoop to get the bees from the wall and dump them in the nuc this morning. Most, but not all, have stayed in, but I never have seen the kind of fanning and march of bees I would expect to if all of these bees had been attached to this queen.

Does anyone have thoughts about what is going on here? I'd like to hear.

Re: Swarm/Abscond-8/23/19

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:07 pm
by Jacobs
My best guess is that there were 2 queens based on behavior in the nuc. For several days it looked like bees were doing protective balling of 2 queens on 2 different frames. Yesterday, for the first time, I saw 1 queen walking freely on a frame and bees were coming and going from the nuc in a normal pattern. When I saw pollen coming into the nuc today, I took a look and saw a small queen with damaged wings, and there were eggs in a number of the cells. In 10 days or so I should know if she is a mated queen or a drone layer. I'll continue feeding this 2 medium frame group of bees.

Re: Swarm/Abscond-8/23/19

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:03 am
by Jacobs
I caught and marked the damaged winged queen awhile back. Around 9/20/19, I saw a capped supercedure cell. On 9/26/19, I saw a queen that looked like she just emerged based on the pale color of her exoskeleton. Today, she looks darker, but her abdomen does not look fully enlarged. I also saw the marked queen. If the new queen is/gets mated, I will mark her, and this may become the second nuc I have with a mother/daughter queen team.

Re: Swarm/Abscond-8/23/19

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:57 am
by Jacobs
The second queen is mated. I caught her and marked her. I used this 2 queen nuc for my observation hive at Art in the Arboretum. It was fun pointing out that the bees did not do what we are taught and have 1 queen per hive and that the worker bees were either the daughters or granddaughters of one queen (the mother queen) or daughters or sisters of the other queen (daughter queen). Although both queens are marked green, it is easy to tell mother and daughter apart based on coloration and wing condition.