A week on from the hive split and I noticed a lot of bees on the outside of the hive I split. See how the other hive, in the background of this picture, has no “beard” outside the entrance?
If you click on the picture it will open up in more detail in another window. I see two possibilities for what’s going on here.
1. Overcrowding. This was my initial assumption, so I gave them more room in the hive by moving a divider. And an hour later, the beard was gone.
2. But if you examine the picture closely, it appears they’re all drones. Have they been evicted? It may seem an odd time to do this – it normally happens in autumn – but if the colony thought it had swarmed, due to the split a week ago, it has Too Many Useless Blokes Lying Around. So the excess males could have been chucked out. But they’d almost all gone in an hour – whereas in autumn they hang around for many hours, trying to get back into the hive until they freeze.
Anyone know what happened here?