BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • relocation

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #10466  by Alfred
 04 Apr 2021, 18:36
I put a thread called "ethics" a while back -enquiry over culling a reasonably fiesty colony before the drones perpetuated the strain.
As it turned out ,despite being on the increase back in early January, thay had dwindled to a cupful of bees.
I was looking forward to gaining a bit of experience and boosting another colony with the remnants,but no need now and at least I can get the woodware in for a good clean.
But as I am dismantling the setup, that cupful of bees were actually tending brood.
Closer inspection and theres a small amount of bias equating tp just under a seam.
If they're making an effort ,I cant not assist them and so I put them into a kingspanned-down poly nuc with some candipoline
If they survive I will put them in a quiet corner and just keep destroying drone brood.
I can then tap them for stock if necessary.
So I took them home for a few days ,let them orientate then took them to the new spot.
By mid afternoon there were a couple of dozen bees at the old station,now just a concrete slab.
But by this evening it was down to about five.

What happened there?
Assuming it was them,if they had been oriented to another spot 7 miles away then to a new spot 200 yards from the original then they must have picked up an old flight route to get 'home'.
But then if they disappeared back to their new spot then they know two locations? Surely not?
From a practical perspective they're not worth the effort but for experience Id be glad of opinions.

 #10469  by mikemadf
 05 Apr 2021, 09:54
They were probably out foraging when you transferred them into the new hive.
 #10471  by Patrick
 05 Apr 2021, 11:21
If I have understood the moves and timings right, you moved them 7 miles fir a few days then back to 200 metres from their original spot?

The few days was probably not long enough to forget the old location, the flyers finding no hive nor any large number of other bees present at that place presumably just dispersed and found another colony to beg entry to or just got lost.
 #10475  by Steve 1972
 06 Apr 2021, 12:51
Last year I made some nucs up with bought in Queens at my Alnwick aviary.. I do this every year and move them 75 miles away to my Hartlepool spot to stop the big colonies robbing the nucs and also of the nucs did not accept the Queen and turfed her out dead so I ordered another Queen and took the Queenless nuc back to weak later the new Queen arrived so I knocked all the Queen cells down and put the caged Queen into the nuc as well as shaking more bees in from another colony and took it back to Hartlepool...
The nuc was placed on a different stand around 10ft away from where it originally was and even after seven days at a different apiary a lot of the bees remembered the old location..
 #10482  by AdamD
 08 Apr 2021, 09:55
I don't think that a few days is long enough; I have my main apiary about 500 metres from my home one. If I want to move bees from one to the other I either accept that bees will fly back and find somewhere to live or leave them at a temporary site (my office which is 3 miles away) for a few weeks before a second move.

I had a flighty colony this spring which I have split into two to support two others and squashed the queen. However a small once can be used as an instant nuc when the time comes; the queen can be squashed and a decent queencell put in.

I also have a very small colony this year which I have put into a 5 frame nuc; there are signs of dysentry so I'll let it grow and then move it onto clean comb later. All my spare brood comb is currently in a stack with acetic acid for sterilisation, as a precaution.

 #10483  by Alfred
 08 Apr 2021, 13:40
Thanks guys
I had thought that a re-orientation would 'erase' the previous "GPS fix " :roll:
It must be the flight previous flight path thing.
Because of the monumental brood break I imagine,, there's a big surplus of flying bees for the nest size so I'm not sure the returnees will be missed much .
 #10486  by Patrick
 08 Apr 2021, 16:49
Alfred wrote:Thanks guys
I had thought that a re-orientation would 'erase' the previous "GPS fix " :roll:
I am sure there is an element of truth in that but it may depend on the age of the foragers. If they have become hardwired to return to the original site through constant repetition, then it might need enough time for that generation to physically die off before you can return them without at least some confusion.

As many swarms end up taking up residences well within the 3 miles, what happens then? Whilst most swarm bees are young, some older ones do normally return to the original site. Somebody must have studied if and how many swarmed bees subsequently drift back to the parent colony afterwards in the following days?
 #10487  by Alfred
 08 Apr 2021, 18:48
So does that suggest an AS would need to be moved 3miles to keep a balanced demographic?
 #10488  by Alfred
 08 Apr 2021, 19:05
Just thinking - they came home with me for the weekend,but it was NOT warm and fairly breezy so perhaps not all the flying bees ventured out to do the swirl :?:
 #10495  by NigelP
 09 Apr 2021, 08:29
Alfred wrote:
08 Apr 2021, 18:48
So does that suggest an AS would need to be moved 3miles to keep a balanced demographic?
If you wish to keep the demography then yes. But it depends on how you do the artificial swarm!
As I've written before nearly all the AS methods are wrong in temros of placing the queen with the older flying bees that also contain the scout bees that instigate the swarm. The queen really needs to be with the younger bees which comprise the majority of the swarm.
But if your current AS method works sufficiently well then stay with it.