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Odd behaviour which mimicked a swarm, but then they returned…what happened?

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Odd behaviour which mimicked a swarm, but then they returned…what happened?

Hi All,

I’m new to beekeeping this summer, and have 3 hives presently. A friend who has been beekeeping for about 10 years called me today and said he had a swarm and needed help, so I went over to his house. It’s late in the year but he had two swarms in August (he has about 10 hives spread across different locations).

A little history on the hive: it was one of the ones that swarmed last month. Since it’s getting late here (Canada), he thought it better to cut out the Queen cells he found and purchased a queen, saving a week or more until eggs would be laid. He put the new Queen in 8 days ago.

So back to today, by the time I had made it to his house (45 mins) the whole swarm came back down from the tree they were in and were on the bottom deep and the grass in front of the hive. In about another 20 mins they were all back in the hive. We’re talking 1000s of bees.

So, what they heck were they doing? The only thing I can think of is that the Queen he bought was a virgin and that was her mating flight? But that doesn’t really make sense either seeing how there were so many bees and the timeline doesn’t really match. Also I’m not sure If all queens come mated or not. Any ideas what they were doing? The weather was nice and sunny today if that matters. Thanks in advance.

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