Cluster

Welcome to NZ Beekeepers+
Would you like to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up
13
8
Paeroa
Experience
Beginner
What causes and what do I do about a cluster of bees underneath the base (Hive Dr Vented) that appeared a day after a full hive inspection. The cluster is still there three days later. Should I gather them up and put them back in the hive or leave them where they are to find their own way back inside. I assume they belong inside the hive. Any advice would be appreciated.
 
Solution
As this happened right after you worked the hive and the cluster has stayed there, as per Otto it's most likely you dropped the queen on the ground and she is now under the bottom board.

As a new beekeeper it might be hard for you to find the queen and safely get her back into the hive. My suggestion would be to get a piece of timber such as a bit of 100 x's 50mm that could prop the hive up. Lift the whole hive off the bottom board and temporarily put it on the lid or somewhere safe. Then carefully lift up the bottom board with the cluster hanging on the bottom and put to one side. Put the hive back where it was but on the ground, with the bit of wood propping it up where the entrance was so the bees can get in and out normally. Then...

Otto

Gold
98
232
Dunedin
Experience
Semi Commercial
I would CAREFULLY collect them up and put them back in. There is a chance that the queen is among those underneath. With a vented floor the bees can smell, talk to etc the bees inside but cannot actually get in that way so can get "stuck" there.
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,419
9,684
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
As this happened right after you worked the hive and the cluster has stayed there, as per Otto it's most likely you dropped the queen on the ground and she is now under the bottom board.

As a new beekeeper it might be hard for you to find the queen and safely get her back into the hive. My suggestion would be to get a piece of timber such as a bit of 100 x's 50mm that could prop the hive up. Lift the whole hive off the bottom board and temporarily put it on the lid or somewhere safe. Then carefully lift up the bottom board with the cluster hanging on the bottom and put to one side. Put the hive back where it was but on the ground, with the bit of wood propping it up where the entrance was so the bees can get in and out normally. Then give the hive base or bottom board a sharp bang right in front of the hive to dump the bee cluster right in front of the hive.

Over the next little while all the bees including the queen will walk into the hive. Go back in the evening and put the bottom board back under the hive so it is all re assembled as normal.
 
Solution
13
8
Paeroa
Experience
Beginner
Thanks guys for your advice.
I am wondering if that was the case, but now I'm wondering if I have posssibly killed the queen during the cluster capture, version 1.
On the first fine sunny day, (that was yesterday), the hive swarmed and settled in the tree next to the hive luckily.
I caught the swarm and transferred it into a new super, but the swarm was gone the next day. I think it went back under the old hive, so I made a bee vacuum, lifted the hive and caught every bee under the hive.
I Transferred them back into the hive and they seemed to settle down a bit soon after. However late this afternoon I can't even get within 5 metres of the hive and they are on the attack. Guess they may be queenless now.
I will have to check again in a few days when they settle down a bit and carefully search for her. Just when you think everything is ticking along nicely, BOOM.
The good news is that now I have a portable bee vacuum.
Cheers
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grant
13
8
Paeroa
Experience
Beginner
As an update on the cluster:
On Tuesday with the assistance of a very exerienced bee keeper, we did a vertical split and introduced a queen cell into each box. The next morning
a good swarm in the tree. I caught the swarm again and placed into a new super with a feeder this time. So far they all seem happy and working as normal again. No more clustering underneath the base boards. Now the waiting game until the Q cells hatch and they settle down to placid happy bees again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grant
23
6
Takapuna
Experience
Hobbyist
I caught this swarm a week ago it was huge and so I added a second super. Photos yesterday 1810 and today 1812 . I am uncertain what this indicates. The current spring tide is only just under the stand
the last pic 1813 is my main hive and my question here is can I open the plastic base up more than just the 3 adjustable openingsIMG_1810.JPGIMG_1812.JPGIMG_1813.JPG
 
  • Like
Reactions: Alastair
3,513
6,576
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
Swarms often hang out for quite some time before they settle down properly. I had one this year at home that ended up with about five frames of bees yet it had bees hanging outside the entrance for about five days. As for entrance size your wooden one is way too big and the hive doctor entrance is a bit small in my opinion but the reality is that the bees will work quite happily with both extremes and it will make little or no difference to honey production.
 
23
6
Takapuna
Experience
Hobbyist
Swarms often hang out for quite some time before they settle down properly. I had one this year at home that ended up with about five frames of bees yet it had bees hanging outside the entrance for about five days. As for entrance size your wooden one is way too big and the hive doctor entrance is a bit small in my opinion but the reality is that the bees will work quite happily with both extremes and it will make little or no difference to honey production.
thanks John... I will try reduce the wooden one and maybe get a spacer to put around 3 sides of the plastic base - it could well be easier to make up a new wooden one. Any comment on the ventilation aspect with screen base vs solid would be appreciated
 
3,513
6,576
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
Ventilated\unventilated is a great big can of worms. I know many very good beekeepers that wouldn't have anything but ventilated floors and I know just as many who wouldn't have a ventilated floor if you gave it to them. I personally don't like them although they are useful for doing mite drop monitoring .
The reality is that bees will do fine under normal conditions with whatever configuration you give them. That's when things aren't so normal like robbing, wasps, hives blocked up for shifting in the daytime et cetera that the advantages and disadvantages of various floors come into play.
 


Top