Last week my kids called me – and actually used a phone to make a voice phone call to their dad. I am sure its only the second time this ever happened. So I took the call. Your bees are swarming, or not swarming, or doing something else.
They tell me my bees are flying in a swirling tornado shape and there are lots of them. My first thought is, ‘It’s a swarm’. By the time I got home they had all crawled back into the hive, with a number ‘bearding’ the outside of the hive.
I crack open the top, take a look and all the frames are full. I had been putting off adding a second box until the DECCA inspection was done but they weren’t turning up when expected and I had no time. On went the second box with six frames to give them more space.
I had held off doing a full inspection, expecting the DECCA inspector within a day or so, and not wanting to ransack the hive twice in the same week. One of the things I now want to look for is swarm cone – new queens being bred to split a hive that is full and has more resources than it can handle.Putting on a second box gives more space for brrod and honey – but if their was already swarm cone – new queens, then I was going to have a split when they hatched.
Today, four days later, the inspector still hasn’t turned up and we got home from church to find the air thick with bees and the hive pouring out bees left right and centre. They are flying in a swirling shape, settling on nearby bushes nad there is a lot of scouting type behaviour with a few dozen bees heading into the neighbours, flying around and seemingly returning.
I put a nuc near the box, with frames in it – hoping that if it is a swarm it might prove interesting. We also have an empty hive at the front of the house, waiting for me to buy a NUC – and it also has frames with foundation in it.
Thirty minutes later the air is less thick and the bees are making a huge beard and crawling back into the hive. There doesn’t appear to have been a swarm left and they are all crawling back inside.
The front of the hive area has a few dead bees (more drones than expected) but we are talking ten to twenty – not dozens.
I am none the wiser – so if anybody has any ideas please chime in.
I’ve added three videos – one of the swarming / exiting behaviour and two of the return. The Go-Pro is still recording outside so these videos are hand held phone videos – you can tell I have the coffee shakes 🙂
The Return 1:
The Return 2: