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S.O.S. HELP!! Bees swarmed into shed

 
Posts: 77
Location: Hot, humid, sometimes hurricane drenched west central Florida
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I left my two beehives alone, because I didn't want to "work" the hives and disturb them, nor did I want to treat them with chemicals. I tried to do a couple of sugar rolls and that was it. A natural beekeeper was advising me to leave them alone and they would either survive or … not.

Well, they swarmed because there was no more room at the inn, and off they went, and it was good. I took down one of the hives and left the other one because I'd need a crowbar to break the propolis on the lid, thinking I'd eventually get to it. Then one day I noticed bees had moved in! I've let them be, and the last few weeks they've been showing signs of swarming. Sure as a world, it was today.
The hive is quiet, but now thousands of bees are in my shed! I leave the door open while I'm working in the yard, lately building another chicken coop, and go in and out to use tools all day. I've been in the house only a few hours, and just looked out the kitchen window to see a cloud in front of the shed door, going in and out. I can't get anywhere near it, and the fun part is all my bee equipment is...you guessed it, in the shed. Including my bee suit. What should I do???

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
 
pollinator
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Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
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When the bees are swarming like that, they generally are very docile and fill follow their queen.  Can you drop the swarm into an empty hive to hang onto it?

Can you call your experienced beekeeper friend and ask for their help?
 
Leslie Russell
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They haven't established a clump yet, although they're zipping in and out from behind my stack of old hive boxes. I just closed the shed door...I know that was mean and a mistake. My beekeeper friend and I email, and I have asked her for advice but we are literally across the country from one another - Florida (me) and Washington state (her). She's asked a few questions and I've answered but I also know this forum is a place for advice.
 
Phil Gardener
pollinator
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Open the door - they may leave or they may stay, but closing it will just make things difficult.  

If you have empty hives in there they might just do all the work for you
 
Leslie Russell
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Phil Gardener wrote:Open the door - they may leave or they may stay, but closing it will just make things difficult.  

If you have empty hives in there they might just do all the work for you


Wouldn't that be nice! I did open the door, and they do seem to be setting up somewhere behind the stack of supers against the wall. Oy! It's hard to work in there at my workbench with all that buzzing around...
 
Posts: 520
Location: Eastern Kansas
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Swarming, day one. The bee are very docile because they are gorged to the brim with honey. They are so full hat they usually could not sting if they wanted to: they cannot bend at the waist!

Swarming, DAY 3! They can and will sting.

Since it sounds like you can get into the shed, I would rescue that bee suit wile they are still too full to sting. Now would be the time to work them!
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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The sooner the better....

Find out where they are.
Brush them into a box.
Put the box in your apiary.

 
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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my guess would be that they've already set up shop in your stack of hive bodies. if that's the case, you could just move the hive body or bodies they're in to a better spot, but they might fly back to the shed if you don't do something to let them know things have changed. David Heaf recommends laying some leaves or a branch across the entrance so they will re-orient to the new location.
 
Leslie Russell
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Location: Hot, humid, sometimes hurricane drenched west central Florida
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This has just been the strangest thing. I was able to get in yesterday, slowly, and take the bee suit. I was in all black (!!!). No threats to sting, and indeed they were very nice and "docile"! They were still flying all over the place and going behind the boxes.

Last night before dusk they were gone.

This is what I think, which is the best I can do trying to "think bee":
They outgrew the hive box they were in and were preparing to swarm, which is what I'd been watching the last few weeks. We've had alot of rain, and I know there couldn't have been any room for them in there anymore either. After 99% flew off, maybe some were left, hungry because they were low in the hierarchy and didn't get any honey, but they still needed fuel for the trip if they didn't want to be left behind to perish. They smelled some old vestiges of honey from the boxes and frames in the shed, and came en masse to check it out, poked around behind the boxes and discovered there wasn't anything to eat - it just smelled like there might have been. They had to be on their way before it got dark, so off they went which explains them being gone when I got home last night. Since it wasn't dark yet I scooped up any stragglers and put them out; some were stuck on the window trying to get out, and others were scattered here and there.
Poor things. There wasn't anything to eat at all. There were hundreds but not a few thousand, which would have been the whole family. What looked like a potential move-in to me turned out not to be at all. Today a bee or two have flown in and around the shed, but that's all.
Boy, have your answers/suggestions been illuminating. I just learned a ton having had this happen!!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
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I'm wondering if they were just robbing the empty supers?

 
Leslie Russell
Posts: 77
Location: Hot, humid, sometimes hurricane drenched west central Florida
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
I'm wondering if they were just robbing the empty supers?


They could have been, but the supers were pretty well cleaned out. There might have been a shnivel here and there tho.
 
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