Swarming – important to manage swarming as you will then have more honey.
A huge cloud of bees that then settle. A few minutes later they take off to a permanent home. The first setting will be on a low branch.
A prime swarm – first swarm with the old queen and lots of bees.
Caste – smaller groups.
Queen cups – these are normal and not to worry.
Queen cell – look like peanuts (3cm long and 1cm wide).
Scout bees will be sent out to look for somewhere to go.
When – April – July. Around noon. When the first queen cell has been capped.
Triggers – primary reason is overcrowding.
- lack of ventilation
- lack of space for nectar flow
- not enough space for queen to lay
- too many nurse bees for the number of larvae.
- too many wax makers
Overcrowding causes a lack of the queen pheronome – queen died or old queen.
Indicators of no queen:
- no eggs
- emergency queen cells
- may be no capped brood
Leave 2/3 close together and leave for up to 3 weeks.
No queen – usually July/Aug
- Supercede queen cells
- Full size queen cell and not many.
- All stages of brood
- Let them manange it – the old and new queen can live together.
- March/April – remove all damaged frames
- Remove frames with winter stores
- Remove frames with lots of drones
- Mark queen
- Inspect every 7 days – look for increasing drones and queen cells. Place super ahead of the need. Ventilation important in hot weather so remove the entrance block. You can sue a super as a brood box.
- Reactive – if see queen cells.
- Can you see eggs if not then they have already swarmed.(leave 2/3 cells and leave for 3 weeks)
- If eggs then sue the swarm control method.
Adrian Waring Swarm Control method
Found lots of queen cells and eggs/early larvae.
- Find a good queen cell.
- Have a spare brood box.
Knock bees off frames and move to a new box (leave the queen). Include frames with lots of small larvae and brood in all stages.
- Frame with the queen cell – brush off 50-75% of the bees (make sure queen is off) and move to the new brood box. Move 3 queen cells over.
- Leave most bees in original hive.
- Put empty new frames into the original hive
- Original hive – flying bees, queen, 1 frame of open brood.
- New box – all brood, no bees, queen cells. Leave for 3 weeks.
- Put the original hive back together
- Note – flying bees will fly back to the original hive.
- Consider if the new hive has enough stores? usually yes but you could feed. You need to feed after flying bees have left (usually a few hours after separation).
Drones – They have congregation areas and drones will move around colonies and can travel up to 8 miles.
If away for 2 weeks between April and June – make sure there is enough space and put extra supers on.
Super – add one when there is 5 good frames of brood