I learned a couple of things, Friday. It's always a good day when you learn something!
In the morning, I managed to cut out a small circle of eggs and wedge it in the parent hive to see what would happen. Some of the bees got on it, but not really unexpected. If they form a queen cell out of it, don't know what I'd do, but at least I would know there's no queen. (I think?)
In the afternoon, my wife said I should come out as there were a lot of bees flying around the cedar trees. Some bees had formed a swarm about the size of two fists. My hives seemed acting normal, but don't know if you could tell anything. It dawned on me that when I saw no open brood, honey in the brood nest, everything otherwise all cleaned and in order, I should have suspected, that maybe they were about to swarm? I know one thing, if I ever observe that situation again, I'm going to consider things closely! I had gone through every frame looking for eggs. I would have thought I would have seen a queen cell. Of course, I wasn't specifically looking for one as why would they swarm now?
Looking back, I had removed the second box. But that was because the only frame of brood they had cleaned out. So thought it was better to not have an empty box on top. There's lots of bees in the box and over the lid when opening it up. But I thought it was good to have lots of bees unlike my previous attempt of only seeing a small circle on top. I must have done something wrong at some point, but don't know. Maybe should have kept the empty box on longer? Could it be a suicide swarm to rid the hive of mites?
Anyway, back to the swarm in the tree. I imagined all you need to do is put lemongrass oil on the box, the bees smell it, and they all go into it. Nope. Since I had the empty brood comb I had pulled out, I held it up to the swarm and several bees got on it. I then placed the frame and bees in the box and waited. The bees flew in and out, I saw bees on the cluster doing their little dance, other bees flew in and out. Then it got quiet. No bees at the box, but I did see some leaving the swarm flying this way and that way.
While it's not quite October, I recall something about October swarms and forgetting about them. But after waiting a half hour or more, and remembering scout bees had rejected my double 8-frame boxes I had set out in the past, I started thinking they didn't like it this time either. So I didn't know whether to wait and see what would happen, that maybe it takes awhile for all the votes to come in? But since the swarm was in reach of the ground, I had a box and a frame of brood comb ready to go, and very likely my queen from the one box I purchased as a nuc, and since I was wanting more hives and here they raised a queen for me back in the box (I hope), I lost patience. After a slight mess up, I got them all in the box.
When I'm thinking the other two hives are low on honey, what were these bees thinking? How can they survive? I know in the early spring when I myself know of know flowers blooming, no pollen anywhere, bees will be bringing in pollen. Now, I see flowers of many kinds everywhere, but everyone says it's overwith for the season. Will this new swarm of bees with nothing, and especially if I didn't give them comb, possibly make it? Will they magically find nectar where the others cannot? I guess what I'm asking is, do they have an incentive whereas the others think they have enough?
I suppose I need to do some feeding. But I'd like to hear what people's experiences and thoughts are with a swarm of bees in the fall, you could hold in your two hands, if they were left to their own.
How much would you feed this many bees?