Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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kerrie@fosterbees.com.au

World’s smallest…swarm?

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World’s smallest…swarm?

https://preview.redd.it/xp4ypg0h3ce91.jpg?width=692&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=776f1d7fb7b419f968d28b420b8683ba8af0ab51

First year beekeeper here, in 7A, with something odd occurring.

7/6 Got a call about a wild swarm. It seemed really late to me, but I went out and caught them. I never identified a queen, but they went into my box pretty readily so I'm sure I got her. It was a smaller swarm and I newspaper combined them with my weakest hive assuming one of the queens would be deposed. Checking a week later, my original queen was still in the hive and laying.

7/17 I noticed a small ball of bees on the rear of my hive stand. I assumed they were killing a wasp, but when I poked into the mass and dispersed them I found a queen who flew off and I lost her.

7/19 I find 50ish bees on my picnic table with a queen. Caught her in a cage, stole some resources from other hives, and set her up in a 5 frame nuc.

I have no idea if the 7/6 swarm is in any way connected to the queen on the table, seems unlikely. After setting up the nuc on 7/19, I did in depth inspections on all my hives on 7/20. 4/5 hives I observed my marked queens in, the 5th one I found eggs but no queen. This hive can be a bit hard to inspect because I rescued it earlier in the year and it had not been kept properly at all. Still working through some wonky comb they have built. I believe the queen in the 5th hive is marked (bad note taking, not 100% sure), but the presence of eggs lead me to believe that hive is queenright as well. No hives had signs of supersedure or swarming that I observed.

Any ideas? The swarm season here is usually April, and all my other hives populations seem to be steady so I don't believe its an abscondence either, and my mentor was rather befuddled by the timing of the whole thing as well.
* Edited to include pic

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