Sunday, March 6, 2011

Second Swarm- Weirder Still, Dazed and Confused

Got a call about a swarm very near my Community Garden hives, at a condo complex in Thousand Oaks. I took a look, and immediately decided against catching it. It was located about 20 feet up, on the corner of a roof...

The next day, I was called again. Seems the swarm did something very unusual in my experience--- they moved, not as a new-forming hive, but still as a swarm, into an orange tree just below their previous perch.

I shook them into a box, took them home and installed just as it was getting dark and starting to rain. It all went smoothly, so I expected things to go well... but the next sunny day (about two days later) I saw all kinds of strange activity around the hive, and went up to take a look. Turns out the majority of the bees had left the hive and gone into a swarm ball on the ground...

As you can see, others were randomly sitting on the hive. Meanwhile, I was watching bees drop out of the sky and onto my driveway, where they'd spin around in circles, evidently unable to take back off. Something neurologica?

The ball of bees died on the ground, as did all the bees scattered on the hive. I checked the frames, and it appears they had originally started to draw out some comb on the plastic/wax foundation I'd given them. I wonder if there was something wrong with the plastic? I'd temporarily stored some frames in a shed along with some gas cans for awhile--- maybe the fumes had leeched into the wax on the frames?

At any rate, very, very weird.

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