I already wrote about how we had a native swarm of bees move into one of our old empty hives this spring. I was super excited to get a native swarm and these girls are really kicking butt. They already have capped honey and are out working well before the other bees every morning. I’m glad to have all my bees but the native swarm is extra special because I’ve never successfully kept a native swarm before.
The way this whole thing happened was a result of me being lazy. When I took the old hives down, I simply sat them on the ground and made room on the stands for the new hives. I figured I’d get back to them sooner or later. I wasn’t sure if I was even going to keep them since it is a best practice not to reuse hive material from a failed hive since you never really know what killed the hive and whatever it is could still be in there.
Since being lazy and leaving old hives sitting around had paid off, I’d gotten even lazier and left the remaining hives on the ground. Last week I was checking on the bees, which are mesmerizing to watch, and I noted some bees robbing one of the old hives still on the ground. But then I noted what you see above, some bees hanging out on the porch. Odd. I watched for a while and they sure did look like they were staying which robbers don’t do. I stayed a while and noted a good number of bees going in and none had any pollen with them, indicating that were not taking anything into the hive. Must just be robber bees.
The next day I again checked on the bees and wow! There were bees taking pollen in which was better than seeing a moving truck back up to the hive and them start unloading boxes! This weekend I finally popped the hive up on a hive stand and cracked it open to see what is what. Well developed larvae were already in he comb and there was uncapped honey already in several combs. It really looks like lighting has struck twice and we have two native swarms who have moved into old hives!
I put out some food for them yesterday and I’ll pull the feeder off tomorrow. These guys don’t seem as vibrant as the first swarm hive, but they did just move in. I’ll keep an eye on them.
If anyone is looking for that last dead hive I was supposed to clean up, it’s sitting on the ground hoping the third time is the charm!