Oh, HaBee day!…..NOT!

We were truly thrilled to install our newly purchased nuc’s in our bee hives in April, it was a truly HaBee day, but along with issues in our other projects, and being behind on getting our garden beds done, we lost over half our colony to 2 swarms.

About two weeks ago, laying in our bed, looking out the window at the bee hives, my wife and I noticed a flurry of activity around our most active hive. It looked as though 10,000 bees were playing gleefully in the air above the hive.

We went outside to see why there was so much activity and saw that the bees were flying to a neighbors property and congregating on one of their bushes. The picture below is not very good, but the bee swarm is circled:

Bee swarm in neighbors tree
Bee swarm in neighbors tree

Bees will swarm for various reasons, but it boils down to the hive not being able to sustain the colony. In our case when opening up the hive, it looks as though the bees were very productive and bore far too many bees for a 2-box hive. The hive still looked very full and productive, even though we had just lost, I am sure, over 10,000 bees.

Our original queen was evidently a very fertile and active queen. Queens can lay up to 1500 eggs a day, so my guess is that she was doing just that and had plenty of worker bees to maintain the growth. I guess I have a better understanding of over-population now when it comes to hives.

I did not have a third box readily available to add to the hive, but the bees were already lost, so I did not worry too much about it. Yes, I could have captured the bees and put them in a new hive, but remember this is only my second year. I am really not that confident yet.

Well, the bees stayed in the neighbor’s tree for about 2 days before moving to a permanent location that they had chosen. I again checked my hive and all was going well. They were filling the 2 boxes with their winter stores and all seemed habee again.

Yet………two weeks later, to the day, a second swarm occurred from the same hive. Wow was it overpopulated-2 swarms in 2 weeks. Again, had no extra equipment, so again lost the swarm. Another 10,000+ bees gone.

Heading up to the local supplier to buy more equipment, don’t want to take a chance on a third swarm, since the hive still seems very full!

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