Bee Jokes

Lesson in swarm control.

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I mentioned in my recent blog that I had an exciting start to beekeeping.

Originally I received two Nucs in late may, I was told the queens in residence were 2014 queens and were very docile lovely bees to handle and would not swarm this year. Once people heard I had two hives on site a number of people turned up to give advice and mentor???

Ill call them Jack and Jill,

After a week on site I observed a number of queen cells in One of the hives and informed Jack, he said remove all the cells from the frames and all should be well, they will not try that again, (That is not what the book said) Anyway removed cells, one week later same problem Informed jack mmmm OK best to remove old queen and squish her allowing them to produce new queen. ooooK did that and things looked OK queen hatched but could not find her but saw eggs.

Next thing the other Nuc swarmed little bit of panic but swarm located and installed in cardboard box, thought best keep things to myself and lets see what happens so removed swarm to different location, kept enclosed for 3 days then released them and fed them some syrup, one week later checked swarm and there was the old queen happily laying and bees very docile decided to keep these and say nothing.

So what to do now Mentor Jack arrives checks hives and couldn’t find marked queens in either hive. Then informs me there are new queens in both Hives but they cannot be seen.
OK ill go along with that after all I had killed one on his advice and expected new queen there as for the second hive I did not tell him it swarmed and I have the swarm somewhere else.

Next day bit of panic there are bees all over the place I get a call and yes there is another swarm, Now where did that come from, Someone called Jill a local beekeeper, now she informs caller don’t panic Ill come with a Nuc and remove your swarm, (Like hell she will) so I sets to work and gathers swarm no problems when posse of beekeepers and would be beekeepers arrive on site.

They informed me that swarm possible came from outside of my site and belong to someone else, I had my doubts its possible I missed queen cells on checking they said ah no that could not have happened. I said I would remove swarm somewhere else off site and return back on site two weeks later. Was told “No sure what would you do that for”, Put them in a Nuc and place back on hive stand. I questioned this and was told sure it will be grand they are probably not your bees anyway. I did not agree but got over ruled by boss and those expert beekeepers, two hours later checked in on bees and guess what swarm gone. Dam it from now on I'm going to do things my own way.

Since then things have settled down both queens are laying and bees are bring in loads of pollen and nectar from surrounding areas, last week it was cold and gave them some syrup to help them build up stores, unfortunately still cannot find new queens but all looks OK. The first swarm I caught is doing well in a different location building well and hopefully they will survive the winter. Have met lots of beekeepers during the course of the year and have met some very knowledgeable ones who I will ask advice of during the coming season, some I will avoid and leave to their own thing.

As for swarm control I think I know a bit more and next season I will intervene earlier by using either the Pagden method or Horsley method to control my swarming and increase stock.

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  1. gavin's Avatar
    I have a feeling that you are going to make a good beekeeper . Two more 'helpful' suggestions from an uncalled-for mentor:

    - get those queens marked *and* clipped somehow. A warm spring day is a good time.
    - be alert for even several eggs in queen cups and act then.

    OK, here's another. Remember that colonies will continue to make queen cells after your intervention. Go back and remove the extra ones 3-4 days later in the queen-right part (unless it is really weak, ie just a frame or two with the old queen split off from the old site and so without many fliers) and 5-7 days in the queenless part (unless the queen cells were closer to emergence than that - ideally leave open cells only). The standard methods often ignore the risk of continuing queen cell production (up to 5 days after moving on the old queen) and so fail to stop swarming.
  2. Greengage's Avatar
    Ok tks for the info, you seem to know what your talking about . There is so much to know and learn, i have been a regular here mostly reading old posts and there is a huge amount of info on here. well done to everyone who contributes irrespective of your view point.
    Ps Thanks for the vote of confidence.
    Updated 08-09-2015 at 01:08 PM by Greengage
  3. busybeephilip's Avatar
    Lesson - from reading this too many beekeepers (Posse of beeks ?) know where you keep your bees, like your swarm your bees and hives might just disappear some evening.
  4. Greengage's Avatar
    This is Ireland all friendly beekeepers here, No chance unless you can get by the security and climb 15ft wall.