Beemaster's International Beekeeping Forum

BEEKEEPING LEARNING CENTER => DOWN UNDER BEEKEEPING => Topic started by: Beelab on September 26, 2021, 03:55:28 am

Title: Movements of a primary swarm
Post by: Beelab on September 26, 2021, 03:55:28 am
Thomas Seeley wrote about a swarm moving from a bivouac location to their new location.
I always took the bivouac location to be the place where a swarm settles first after leaving the hive, just metres away. And then, after communication, flies on to their final destination.

Thing is, this morning we found a big swarm. We heard swarming noises the same time yesterday morning, but never saw it.

The location of the swarm is in the vicinity of 14 of my hives, but all colonies are managed, split and observed. On checking, none of these colonies have swarmed.

So where is this swarm coming from? Do swarms go from bivouac to bivouac location if they can?t find anything in a hurry?

 That swarm seems happily settled in one of my boxes now.
Yet, I wonder where it comes from if not from my own hives. Could it be from a neighbour less than 1km away?
Title: Re: Movements of a primary swarm
Post by: Beelab on September 26, 2021, 09:17:21 am
Bit disappointing to get no replies. Maybe should have posted my pondering under general beekeeping and not just down under.
Title: Re: Movements of a primary swarm
Post by: BeeMaster2 on September 26, 2021, 11:50:36 am
I have had several swarms move into swarm traps around my apiaries year after year. I have seen and vidio taped them.
Usually a swarm lands on the first tree the queen finds and then the bees cluster while the scouts search every available void they can find. On primary swarms, the queen has not flown since her maiden flights. When the swarm finds a new home, all of the scouts have to agree to the new location, even if they have to head butt the few hold outs to stop them from dancing a different location.
When they decide, they give a signal for the bees to warm their muscles and in minutes they take off. They will fly to the new location but they can only fly until the old queen tires. They will swarm back on her and keep her warm and rested and then fly towards the new home, stopping as needed.
Jim Altmiller
Title: Re: Movements of a primary swarm
Post by: Skeggley on September 26, 2021, 10:06:10 pm
Hiya Beelab, I have a colony in a tree here which swarms every 3-4 years and the swarm is always close to the tree and low to the ground. What Jim says about the queen not being a good flier makes logical sense to me so depending on the scouted new digs distance from the parent colony would dictate the number of stops. But, I?m not a bee and sometimes bees don?t follow our logic so?.