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Thread: Will your bees attempt to swarm in May

  1. #161

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thymallus View Post
    Doubtful they will be naturally swarmy genetically from C4U.
    Another part of the swarming equation is room. Bees need plenty of it, particularly early season when their numbers are increasing fast. I think it's reckoned that one frame of brood when emerged has enough bees to cover three frames, so easy to see how this can soon get them crowded.
    If the queen runs out of laying room this can also cause issues.
    Yes nail on the head there I think - they are prolific and I need to get more proactive on the laying room. They did both have double brood boxes laid wall to wall when they started on the QCs!

    Drawn comb is a limiting factor for me as a new beek but I will follow C4Us advice published elsewhere to make a supply of that this autumn

    That plus a ready supply of mated queens in early May....

  2. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambo View Post
    Yes nail on the head there I think - they are prolific and I need to get more proactive on the laying room. They did both have double brood boxes laid wall to wall when they started on the QCs!

    Drawn comb is a limiting factor for me as a new beek but I will follow C4Us advice published elsewhere to make a supply of that this autumn

    That plus a ready supply of mated queens in early May....
    The idea of going to three brood boxes + several supers requires a stepladder....But sometimes is the right answer...or splitting.

  3. #163

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    Iíve been through 18 hives this week (not all mine) and only two of them were making serious attempts to swarm. The rest had no more than a few queen cups. Last week at a friends apiary we moved a 4 year old queen into a smaller hive and packed it with bees and brood in an effort to get Q cells, nothings happened yet. The weather is due to change here midweek and the bees could be cooped up for a while so if theyíre true to form theyíll be building cells with a vengeance. The last few hives got their first super today. The beekeeping calendar is just a little bit later up here.

  4. #164
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    I have two main apiaries about 15 miles apart. The queens heading the colonies in each have a similar provenance and I've moved hives back and forwards between the two early this season and last year. In one apiary I've been very busy splitting colonies, making up nucs and otherwise stopping them swarm, in the other there's only been charged QC's in one colony. The forage is very different, but - of the two - it's the one with access to OSR that's been very quiet. The OSR is over now but they're still piling in the nectar from somewhere.

    There are obviously localised differences in the climate but I suspect the main reason one apiary showed less tendency to swarm is the speed with which I piled the supers on ... I was away in mid-May and was double-supering colonies from the start. In contrast, the 'swarm' apiary built up a bit more slowly and then switched straight to swarm preparations.

    The other things I've done this year is to keep them busy drawing comb when there was an opportunity - either by swapping in new frames, or by cutting out sheets of drone comb they've drawn on foundationless frames. I mainly use the latter with vertical bamboo skewers and they tend to build in thirds - worker or drone in each panel. I simply slice out the drone. I use tongue depressors as starter strips, so don't need to re-prepare the frame for them to use it again.

  5. #165
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    My suspicion is the extended long winter into a late spring is leading to a delay in the normal "timing". But it is happening.
    Arrived at out apiary (6 days since last inspection)....guess what......one hive was swarming...amazing sight seeing them all literally run out of the entrance and take to the air. Recovered queen from ground (clipped) put her in a box...only to find 20 minutes later she had absconded (hole in box!!!).... bugger.
    KO all queen cells (don't want to breed further from this queen) so now no queens in either bottom or top boxes...mmmm. New variation of Snelgrove swarm control...
    Eggs/larvae to be added soon.

  6. #166
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    I have had one colony swarm - not inspected for nearly 3 weeks and looking back at my notes, I hadn't clipped the queen. Damn and blast it! Another colony had one queencell being started which I removed plus a cluster of cups. I will have to check back later and see if they have given up the idea. There should be enough space in the hives at the moment with part-filled supers - waitiung for the blackberry to get into full swing.
    And my last 2015 queen - retired in a nuc - has finally been replaced after a few attempts at supercedure and me harvesting the queencells. A youngster was found in the hive on Thursday along with Mum. By Saturday, Mum had gone. We are expecting 23 degrees or more next week so she should mate and start laying soon. By next weekend maybe. (counting chickens again).

  7. #167
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    I have had one colony swarm - not inspected for nearly 3 weeks and looking back at my notes, I hadn't clipped the queen. Damn and blast it! Another colony had one queencell being started which I removed plus a cluster of cups. I will have to check back later and see if they have given up the idea. There should be enough space in the hives at the moment with part-filled supers - waitiung for the blackberry to get into full swing.
    And my last 2015 queen - retired in a nuc - has finally been replaced after a few attempts at supercedure and me harvesting the queencells. A youngster was found in the hive on Thursday along with Mum. By Saturday, Mum had gone. We are expecting 23 degrees or more next week so she should mate and start laying soon. By next weekend maybe. (counting chickens again).

  8. #168

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    Weíre having a good spell of weather at the moment and Iíve been managing 7-8 day inspections of all of my colonies mostly for swarm control. Cell building has started and Iíve started to make splits. But due to a long spell of cool dry weather a lot of colonies are low on stores so it hasnít been easy. One colony on Tuesday had sealed Q cells but luckily for me the queen was still there and showing no sign of swarming.
    Now for the other extreme. I split a hive on Sunday that had open Q cells and a 3 year old queen. I moved two frames of brood and one of stores into a nuc plus shook bees from another 3 frames. The nuc was then moved to another apiary. The old queen was left in the main hive with foundation added to the brood box, all Q cells removed, plenty of room in the supers and there was a flow on. That method of swarm control usually works for me.
    Today I was called to a swarm flying at that apiary and by the time I got there most of the bees had settled on the outside of a hive. It was the same one that Iíd split on Sunday!!! I couldnít find the queen in the brood box but I eventually found her and a lot of bees in the gap between the hive stand and the underside of the floor. Iím not sure if she had joined the flying bees and then came back or if she was never with them in the first place. The hive was reassembled and they have plenty of foundation in the B box, all Q cups were removed and the flow is still on. I hope the scout bees donít have a conflab in the next few days but as C4U says on page 2 of this thread ďLots of flying bees come back in the mood for swarming action and it can be quite a task to controlĒ
    Last edited by lindsay s; 29-06-2018 at 07:19 AM.

  9. #169

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    It’s just as well I’m on holiday at the moment because I’ve been spending a lot of time sorting out the troublesome bees at a new apiary site I’ve been given the use of. It’s an unused garden with high walls, is sheltered and the hives face south. The only downside is it can get very warm on a sunny day. My normal method of swarm management is not working and I think the heat might have something to do with it.
    Hives were checked and one was split on Sunday but by Tuesday evening I was called to another swarm there. After a lot of faffing about the swarm was eventually returned to its hive. First thing today I went to sort out the swarmed hive and found two marked queens in the brood box. It seems the hive next door swarmed about the same time and they both merged unknown to me. So for a while this morning I watched large numbers of bees moving between the two hives before they settled down. After even more faffing about the marked queens are now back in their own hives in yellow queen posting cages with a few workers as well. I would like to leave them in the cages until the weekend until things settle down even further.
    Is this to long and are there any other downsides? Any quick replies would be appreciated.

  10. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by lindsay s View Post
    I would like to leave them in the cages until the weekend until things settle down even further.
    Is this to long and are there any other downsides? Any quick replies would be appreciated.
    That's an interesting approach to "swarm control". Be interested to hear how it works.
    Suspect there is no 100% answer, but the foragers with swarm fever need to die off before they will stop attempting to swarm....but would suggest KO any and every queen cell otherwise you might get swarms going off with any emerged virgin queens whilst the original is caged.. They build them in some amazingly difficult to find inventive places.

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