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Thread: Will your bees attempt to swarm in May

  1. #111

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    Well it's kicked of for me in Lancashire had to do five artificial swarms today, majority of stocks brood boxes full of brood and nectar the perfect storm.

  2. #112
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    That's a lot of work; a lack of space or swarmy girls?

    I had a swarm yesterday - due to emergency queencells that appeared after the time i thought they wouldn't. So there was the desired queencell that was open plus some others....
    Swarm caught and put in a hive without too much bother as the swarm was at waist height. There was one emergency queencell already open so I opened the rest and all had queens that came out sprightly enough. One went to the tiny swarm I caught the other day.
    Last edited by Adam; 24-05-2018 at 05:40 PM.

  3. #113
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    so far so good. touch wood and all that. no swarms so far this May but quite a few damerees.

  4. #114
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    I am afraid to tempt fate by saying none from a normal colony so far - just the 'operator error' above.

    I looked at one colony a few days ago and it had 11 frames of brood and a dummy board in the brood box so they were rather cramped - although they had a lot of super space although that was also full - I usually give a second brood box at around 9 frames of brood and the colonies build up to around 14 or 15 frames for me. OSR is about to finish so as well as having to deal with the honey, the reduced forage may result in a change in hive activity.

  5. #115
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    I am afraid to tempt fate by saying none from a normal colony so far - just the 'operator error' above.

    I looked at one colony a few days ago and it had 11 frames of brood and a dummy board in the brood box so they were rather cramped - although they had a lot of super space although that was also full - I usually give a second brood box at around 9 frames of brood and the colonies build up to around 14 or 15 frames for me. OSR is about to finish so as well as having to deal with the honey, the reduced forage may result in a change in hive activity.

  6. #116

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    Intervened just in time yesterday, double brood colony with loads of charged cells, five capped! In most cases they were at the bottom of the frames of the top brood box as per the book but also a lovely big supercedure cell right in the middle of a frame.

    2017 queen but I've never been sure her bees like her very much.

  7. #117
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    All kicking off here now ... got a call for a swarm 7pm yesterday evening ... I'm just back from work, have not had my tea so they'll be fine until tomorrow ... famous last words.

    Call at 9am "they've gone". You win some and you lose some.

    Most hives now have split boards in and (drum roll) I'm actually running out of supers so have been busy building frames most of today

    The weather for the week ahead is predicted to be good and I've just discovered the farmer has planted a big area of field beans near one of my apiaries ... result

  8. #118
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Swarming kicking off in some apiaries but yet to really get going in others.

    Quote Originally Posted by fatshark;39514.. [I
    I'm just back from work, have not had my tea so they'll be fine until tomorrow[/I] ... famous last words.
    Lightweight!

    I'll be interested to hear how the field beans go. Haven't had an appreciable flow from them here in my limited experience (and C4U says similar from his exceedingly extensive experience) but there is always a first time. Usually it is winter beans that yield in England I believe.

    Just have to finish this super then I'm off to let beginners loose on colonies 3 weeks further on from visit number one.

  9. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambo View Post
    Intervened just in time yesterday, double brood colony with loads of charged cells, five capped! In most cases they were at the bottom of the frames of the top brood box as per the book but also a lovely big supercedure cell right in the middle of a frame.

    2017 queen but I've never been sure her bees like her very much.
    Spoke too soon, despite being A/S'd with two nucs taken off and almost all the brood and cells removed, they still swarmed. While doing the splitting the queen was running around piping - no cells quacking back that I could hear - is that an indication that the decision had already been made that they were already for the off?

    Subsequent reading has suggested that swarm control methods which separate the queen from the flying bees seem to be more successful, so far I agree.

  10. #120
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambo View Post
    Spoke too soon, despite being A/S'd with two nucs taken off and almost all the brood and cells removed, they still swarmed. While doing the splitting the queen was running around piping - no cells quacking back that I could hear - is that an indication that the decision had already been made that they were already for the off?

    Subsequent reading has suggested that swarm control methods which separate the queen from the flying bees seem to be more successful, so far I agree.
    You generally hear the quacking after a virgin or virgins have emerged. The establish queen may also pipe around the first swarming attempt but as they will go (in good conditions, as we are having) around a day after the first cell is capped then her daughters are not developed enough to respond. The quacking comes when mature virgins are being held in by the workers, usually to regulate the process of issuing casts.

    I've intervened in colonies with piping and quacking (by opening or destroying all queen cells) and they've always stayed put. Even with the original flying bees in that box (having removed the old queen into a nuc at the first sign of queen cells).

    Perhaps you missed a queen cell? In a colony with a piping virgin and a sealed cell remaining, losing a cast is quite likely.

    On queen cells and their positioning, forget the stuff in books about swarm cells and supersedure cells. Swarm cells can be (and often are) on the face of the comb. Perhaps a quarter to a third of those I've seen this week are like that. Supersedure cells can be on the edges of comb. The dogmatic statements in some books are just wrong. I tend not to trust supersedure attempts anyway - they can change their minds. Out of the swarming season I may leave things alone as long as the established queen is clipped.

    Obviously separating all the flying bees from the queen works temporarily. If the queen is in a busy box then the colony will still be in a swarmy mood and once enough bees have graduated to swarming (and they've made more queen cells, even partly finished) they could be off then.

    To control swarming I now just separate the queen from the queen cells, leave only one queen cell in a queenless box, and keep it that way by removing extra cells made later. Doesn't matter whether the flying bees are with the old queen or with the queen cells.

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