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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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    I’ve 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 they’re true to form they’ll 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).

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