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Swarm Return


Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share this with you, and see if anyone has experienced this before.

Last summer, despite squashing queen cells, our bees swarmed. We never were able to find the swarm, and the remaining bees didn’t make it through the winter. We had a busy spring, and didn’t have the time to start with new bees.

Just a few days ago we noticed a lot of bee activity in front of one of the empty hives, and then there was a huge mass of bees on the front of it. Then we noticed a large bee cluster in the trees above it.

My husband looked in the hive with the bees on the front of the hive, opened it, and noticed that it had a large bee cluster in the frames.

We retrieved the other large cluster in the trees, and placed that in an empty box with frames in the event that both clusters have their own queens.

So far the original cluster is the most active, with a small amount of activity in the second hive.

We suspect that the origin of this swarm was our original bees, as I don’t think that many people around us in our suburb are beekeepers.

I’m curious to hear what you all think…as a new beekeeper I thought it was a bit miraculous!

Thanks!! Colleen



There are few things more exciting than bees moving into your hives on their own! I set out lures each year in hope of attracting swarms – which have worked successfully. They very well could be your original bees who overwintered and threw a swarm your way. However, there’s a very good chance that there are other feral colonies that you are unaware of. Judging by the number of calls I get each year from people in the suburbs with swarms in their yards – most of whom are totally shocked that there would be bees nearby them – I think honey bees are more prevalent in the city than one would think! The diverse gardens and homes within walls make the city a great place to live!

Did the hive still have old combs in it?

Congratulations! It looks like the bees still want you to be part of their lives. :)




Yes, it did. I know that it isn’t ideal to have wax from other bees in your hive. They took up residence before we were able to switch it out. We will be adding new frames with new wax, so I hope that it won’t hurt them. The previous inhabitants didn’t over winter, there wasn’t any obvious disease, though I know Colony Collapse isn’t obvious.

I guess we will keep our fingers crossed, Thanks, Colleen



I wouldn’t worry so much about the wax from the other bees as long as they didn’t have foulbrood. It’s likely they died of other issues over the winter anyway. And this will give the new colony a headstart!