Busy, robbing or getting ready to swarm?

As I come to the end of my first month of beekeeping, with a prime swarm in a Warré, things have changed in the last week; something that gets the natural beekeeper flapping a bit. Well this one at least, especially as I have no desire to break open the hive to try and determine what’s going on.

Of course, lots of things have coincided so that there’s no easy way to work out what, if anything is wrong. Three weeks after hiving, the weather has become superb, Lime has exploded and my two box hive is getting rather busy. Activity at the entrance has probably trebled with the bees definitely appearing… edgey and quite buzzy, almost agitated.

Initial thoughts were that it was robbing, but with the weather so hot, closing the entrance down would not be a good thing, so I left it open, looking into the bottom of the second box twice a week to see if they were building there, which they weren’t. Maybe there’s a problem with building there and they’re getting ready to swarm. What if everything is just fine and this is normal activity!

As part of my theorising I went for a visit to a local Warréor and activity in his apiary was five times worse than mine, so I relaxed over the robbing. His advice was to nadir another box, which I did that evening. I’ve yet to see if there’s been an effect at the entrance.

There are a great many things to worry about as a new natural beekeeper, primarily that a lack of knowledge will lead to your failing at providing for your bees.

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1 Response to Busy, robbing or getting ready to swarm?

  1. salp111 says:

    Buzzy bees. Sounds great. I also have some buzzy bees, particularly whenever the new babes hatch; they seem to come out in force during good weather & do a bit of orienteering….or whatever…& some go off foraging with the rest going back in. Also one hive did a bit of clustering underneath the entrance ledge which threw me until I realised some had come out to play in the relative cool as it must have been so hot in their box. It was a single box hive which they had almost filled, in full blast of noonday sun which right now is ferocious so I nadired & added a parasol for good measure & they seem much happier now with less frantic fanning & more general behaviour. They still get some morning & evening sun but have a fabricated dapple effect for the fiercest heat.

    I wonder if the new activity you have spotted may be some fresh brood hatching & doing their “lets see what kinda place we’re in” flight ? It could be the right time I think. having said that, I wait to be corrected by better bee buffs than m’self.

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