When we discovered the hive in our backyard was dead, we brought it inside and dissected it with our 5-year-old son and the neighbor girls (now THAT’S a way to get kids to your play date).
We had used the Mountain Camp method of feeding, so there was sugar all over the frames (mostly from the jostling of bringing the boxes inside), so my husband hung any frames with honey on the hive stand and covered it with a board until we decided what to do next (ahem, clean out the deep freezer).
Then on Easter weekend, we were out enjoying the sunshine and warm, spring weather when I realized there were TONS of bees around the empty hive. They were flying under the board to access the honey, of course, but they were also going in and out of the super that was sitting next to it. Of course I excitedly said to my husband, “What if a swarm has taken up residence?!?”, but we both knew that they were most likely just robbing the honey.
You’ll see from the pictures below, this is no where near a swarm, but we were really surprised how many bees showed up that afternoon and how quickly word spread!
What we would have loved to do, if we had time and not a house full of Easter guests, is mark one or two of them then watch and see if/when they returned. Someone could have probably help us do the math to estimate how far they were coming from.
Anyway, we decided to just let them go and clean up the frames. At the time, there weren’t even any dandelions up and I was happy to at least be feeding someone’s bees! Also, it was great to have some bees to play with, since our packages don’t arrive until May 9th.