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Beekeeping, Brood, Drones, Honey Bees, Queens, Swarms

Of Swarms and Inspections 2014: It Persists (Part 4)

But it did have a happy ending…

May 12  There was a second cast, across the yard this time and down by the greenhouse.

I can see the attraction to this location. A large pine and a large evergreen (the PollenTerminators), a fig and an unkempt greenhouse

I can see the attraction to this location. A large pine and a large evergreen (the PollenTerminators), a fig and an unkempt greenhouse

At frst we thought it was the first set moving on from their nuc home.  But, no, the Garage Bees were looking distinctly guilty.

First, the staging platform of a fig leaf....

First, the staging platform of a fig leaf….

 

 

And then more on the fig leaf....

And then more on the fig leaf….

As with the first swarm, this one settled rather low down, and as it was on the side of the property with a relatively close neighbor (their driveway), we figured we should collect the beasts before they got home from work (the neighbors, not the bees).

And then up into the evergreen, never giving a thought to our neighbors or our dilemma...

And then up into the evergreen, never giving a thought to our neighbors or our dilemma…

BUT, we had nowhere to house them.  We have a selection f cardboard boxes around to collect them with, but nothing to transfer them into as the nuc is now occupied.

Ingenious solution, all the while the bees were digging the lure of borage, rosemary,  chives, sage in the herb garden below

Ingenious solution, all the while the bees were digging the lure of borage, rosemary, chives, sage in the herb garden below

We did collect them into the card board box, just a few lops with the clippers.

Ah, closer to those hers, in fact right on top of them....

Ah, closer to those hers, in fact right on top of them….

But then it was onto local beekeepers to see if they could come and take them to a good home. Our local beekeepers were of great assistance, providing me with the opportunity to give the swarm over to a new beekeeper, looking for his first colony (An aside: one potential taker asked me if the swarm was smaller than a football-Americans, soccer ball-a primary swarm apparently being larger than one?).  But not before a storm brewed up….

Bivouac!

Bivouac!

Despite the weather, the bees are now safely ensconced in their new hive home, and not embarassing us at all.

13 May, 16 May

Usual amount of activity in front of the garage hive, except: an unusual amount of drones flying around the hive and at the entrance, especially at early evening, making so much racket I thought it was another swarm..  Are these newly hatched? Or here for the new queen? Although, I thought it was the ‘virgin’ queen who flies out to the drone meeting place. Hadn’t thought the boys made a house call….

Saw the following exchange on a bee forum regarding this issue:

Does the coming and goings of drones correspond to a particular time of the day? If early evening??? this might suggest that you have mating take place somewhere close by.

The first questions to ask are: why has this hive produced all those drones? are you into prime swarm season?

So, the drones can be a sign of an impending swarm (but it seems that horse/bee is already out of the barn), or that the mating season is hotting up, and this is the chance for the boys to do something useful.

As we are now at 23 May, and the swarming seems to have stopped, it’s probably mating….

Links

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?228836-Lots-of-drones-coming-and-going-Is-this-normal

http://www.honeybeesuite.com/drones-signal-the-onset-of-swarm-season/

 

Discussion

17 thoughts on “Of Swarms and Inspections 2014: It Persists (Part 4)

  1. Interesting pictures of plants decorated with bees!

    Posted by philipstrange | May 23, 2014, 3:56 pm
  2. We’ve collected six swarms. The cardboard box is a great idea.

    Posted by lizard100 | May 23, 2014, 8:44 pm
  3. Last year April, my log hive swarmed SIX TIMES, that we knew of. Then we saw loads of drones.
    http://solarbeez.com/2013/08/11/bee-beard-log-hive-alive-and-well/
    I was worried about a laying worker…like the virgin queen never got mated or never made it back and a laying worker stepped up, laid drones…but it (log hive) came through just fine. This year it swarmed twice (at least) I think the presence of drones is typical this time of year. (That’s coming from a beekeeper of vast knowledge of two years, so take it or leave it. ) 🙂

    Posted by solarbeez | May 24, 2014, 6:16 am
  4. It is worth taking into account that when the Queen leaves with a prime swarm the last brood to hatch is the drone brood. Of the brood left behind:
    Queen cell (assuming capped at swarmed) 8 days later
    Worker from egg 20 day emergence
    Drone from egg 24 day emergence
    The drones are then not active and flying until about day 38.
    So this might just be the tail end of the original queens laying.

    Posted by deweysanchez | June 4, 2014, 9:33 am
    • Thanks for this. The numbers always slip my mind. I wasn’t too worried, except the drones make a racket outside the hive. I kept expecting another swarm!

      Posted by mylatinnotebook | June 4, 2014, 9:36 am
      • I only have it on my mind because of my split.
        There was a LOT of capped drone brood when I inspected on Saturday (14 days after split). My queen should have been born on Monday and won’t be fertile for another 7 days after that so hopefully by the time she is ready/willing/able this rubbish weather will have broken and the sky will be clear.
        Just try to remember swarms are a good thing🙂

        Posted by deweysanchez | June 4, 2014, 9:40 am
      • My mantra, that and “I don’t want a 3rd + hive.”

        Posted by mylatinnotebook | June 4, 2014, 10:01 am
  5. Frames in a cardboard box is a genius idea. I ran out of equipment too; didn’t expect them to swarm this many times from one hive.

    Posted by P&B | June 12, 2014, 12:07 pm

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