The next morning everything was the same, that is, one swarm in the alder, one in the cypress, and one in each of the two swarm traps. I had other things to do, so I didn’t look again until noon when—you guessed it—more surprises.
The cypress swarm was still in place, but very active. The huge swarm in the alder was gone. Vanished. The uppermost swarm trap seemed to be empty as well—I saw only scouts. But the second swarm trap was overflowing with bees at the opening plus there was a humongous swarm hanging from the bottom.
Was this outer swarm the one from the alder? Or was it an entirely different swarm? I have no clue. I put a hive together and, standing beneath the swarm trap, dropped the bees into a cardboard box with a rake. I had to do this several times but, ultimately, the swarm covered all ten frames of the new box. Do I have a queen? I’ll have to wait to know for sure.
Everything they do is unusual
By the time I went down to the house for a break, the cypress swarm was gone. I felt bad for it because it was kind of small and wouldn’t last long. I think it was a secondary or tertiary swarm, just based on its size.
With my husband’s help, I prepared another hive and he took down the occupied swarm trap. I couldn’t believe it: the trap was level full of bees. I don’t see how they got in or out. Three small combs had been started, but I didn’t see any eggs.
Here’s my question: did one swarm decide on that bait hive after the other swarm already moved in? Or had they decided earlier, waited too long, and then arrived only to find it full? How did this all happen? The unusual stuff is never in the books . . . and almost everything bees do is unusual.
Although I have one virgin queen and two old queens in reserve, I’m going to rear some more since I just don’t know how many I’m going to need. Anyway, that’s the end of the swarm story for now. I hope it slows down because I’m flat out of bee boxes.
Honey Bee Suite