Natasha Turner wrote:We have a plethora of beetles in our hive right now. It has just been moved from a farm about 20 miles away. Most likely, the bees were stressed for a few days, because we had a makeshift entrance reducer on during the move that we were nervous to pull fully off. The bees were extremely active after the move, in the middle of the night. Hubby pulled off as much as he could and took off running. A day later, he went to see about pulling it out again, but they were still very active. Two days after that, when he was away at work I heard the bees very loudly from far away and upon approaching noticed they were in a columnar form from the hive to the top of the tree above them.
I thought they were swarming, so I manned up and got geared up to check the bees myself, for the first time ever. When I pulled away the shirt [makeshift entrance reducer], the folds were filled with beetles. Some ran back into the hive, others dropped to the ground. I tried to research what to do, but the opinions are so mixed that I finally went with the opinion of letting the bees deal with it themselves (since I had at least gotten our mess out of the way).
Was this a good way to "deal" with it? Should I do more? They are considerably calmed down now. There are active bees still there. I don't think I have the guts to open the hive myself. Would it change anything?
Seeking more knowledge than I have . . .
It's almost always an okay choice to do nothing, when it comes to bees. But it's hard to say exactly what is going on with your hive. A swarm is an intentional event by bees - it's how they reproduce. One hive turns itself into two - and you can't mistake the sound - very very loud, sort of a freight train sound, or a low-flying airplane, or a blow dryer way up close...
Bees that are "extremely active"... well I guess I'm not sure quite what that means - but bees that are moving through the air in a column, that sounds like a swarm... but you should have seen them coalesce into a tree or a shrub or off some structure. If you are a little more experienced in future, you will likely have a bit more of an idea of what is going on in the hive before it gets to that point. A hive that is about to swarm will have queen cells, drone brood, and plenty of worker bees in the hive. They may also be feeling short on space, or crowded if you will. It takes less than two weeks for a colony to swarm from beginning to end, so you will have plenty of opportunity to learn about inspecting in future, that's my bet!