The bees swarmed…. and then they came back!
|My husband took a photo of me whilst I was doing the inspection today. I was smiling - obviously taken before I spotted the queen cells!|
Seriously, can my bees just stay put and produce some honey!
Today I carried out an inspection at about midday. But before I tell you what I found, I’ll just recap:
About a month ago I carried out swarm control in the Beehaus - which is modelled on the Dartington hive with an entrance on both the right and left sides and a divider in the middle. A month ago the bees were all on the left hand side but having seen queen cells I moved the queen and brood to the right side leaving the flying bees with the queen cells on the left. A controversial method according to my beekeeper followers on twitter and they were right because, as you may recall from an earlier post, the bees in the left swarmed with a virgin queen. Now I have a very depleted amount of bees on the left with a queen I can’t spot and no eggs being laid.
In the meantime, and as I saw during the inspection this morning, the right side is thriving. Expanding well with lots of bees. I was feeling very chuffed UNTIL I spotted at least 5 queen cells and yes, some had larvae in. Why do my bees want to keep leaving me? I decided to break down the queen cells to give me time to think about what method of swarm control to carry out next.
But I didn’t have much time to think because at 3:30pm the right-hand-side bees started pouring out of the entrance - my stomach dropped as I realised they were swarming and the only thing I was thinking was ‘I thought I’d broken down all the queen cells’. I quickly put on my bee suit and went to watch them. It is an incredible sight seeing a swarm in action. It’s very exciting. Although, I watched with some trepidation wondering where they’d land and how I was going to collect them.
They were collecting over the wall in the hedgerows next to the railway track. As I was thinking about who I could ask for a ladder the strangest thing started to happen - the bees were coming back to the hive. This makes sense as the queen has her wings clipped so she can’t actually fly. Bees won’t leave a hive without a queen.
|The bees coming back into the Beehaus.|
|A view from the top of them fanning their wings and releasing the nasonov pheromone to indicate to the rest of bees to come inside as that's where the queen is|
Although I should feel pleased that all my bees are back in the hive, I’m really not because once they have ideas on swarming, you can’t stop them.
So, I need advice on what to do now. I need another method of swarm control. Currently I’m thinking of moving the brood and queen cell (there must be one even though I thought I broke them all down) to the left side with the depleted colony, leaving the queen and flying bees on the right. Will that work?