Diminishing Swarm

I check the transparent hive daily, recording the temperature at 3 points and the mite drop as well as anything else that drops.  I’m getting a bit worried that the cluster is getting smaller, leaving the perimeter of the combs exposed.

Applying a bit of logic, bees aren’t immortal. A swarm consists of bees with a wide range of ages, including older foragers and the younger wax-makers. They’ve been there for 3 weeks now and, at this time of year, the life of a worker is about 3 weeks as a house bee and 3 weeks as a forager and so it is to be expected that the population will diminish as the older bees die or are snapped up by swallows.

I don’t know yet whether there is a mated queen in the cluster, having seen no evidence either way apart from the fact that there is a cluster.  The temperature there started off at around 94F but has been dropping steadily and is now in the mid 70s.  This may be because the centre of activity has moved away from the sensor. On the other hand, maybe they have no brood to keep warm.

Assuming that there is a queen and that she mated successfully and has come into lay (how long does that take?) then the numbers should visibly increase in a week or two.  If not, I shall have some pristine natural comb to examine.

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About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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