Week 4 – Swarming & Feeding
Why – creates a new entity and colonies.
Looks like – huge cloud of bees and make lots of noise – constant hum. The will initially settle near the hive and then a few hours later they will find a permanent home.
Prime Swarm – this is the original queen with new bees. Usually April – July and it’s when a new queen cell has been capped.
Caste Swarm – a new queen and has left the hive with some bees. Usually after the prime swarm.
Triggers – overcrowding with lack of space, ventilation, too many nurse bees or too many wax (means they are bored) or lack of queen pheromone.
Important to recognise 3 types of queen cells.
Emergency queen cells – if there is no queen then the worker bees have 4 days to convert a cell into an emergency queen cell (queen cell on front of comb). DO NOT KILL OR DESTROY. Close up the hive and leave for 3 weeks. Note – there can be lots of these.
Old Queen – supercede the queen as she is not working as well. The comb will have been eaten around it. Leave it to get on with it.
Good Young Queen – queen cups develop. See them hanging down. These are done for swarming and will be at the bottom of the comb. It caught early enough them destroy. If there are no spare cells in the frames then there is a risk of swarming.
inspect 7 day intervals in swarming season and aim to find queen cells before they are capped.
There will be an increase in drones.
Put a spare super on to give more space (or 2nd brood box).
Ventilation – not necessary in mesh floors.
Catch them in a cardboard box. Shame the swarm or spray with water and they fall towards the cardboard box. Make sure there is a cloth over the box for them to fall into.
Leave them on the cloth until dusk. Tie sheet around the box and take to the hive.
Put sheet in front of hive and then bees walk up sheet to the hive.
Food & Feeding
Forages bring in pollen, nectar, water and resin to the hive.
Nectar – combination of sucrose and water (can be 80% water). It is converted into honey. It is passed to worker bees and put into cells. The water content needs to be reduced to 17-19%.
Bees prefer high sugar content and will ignore apples trees for oilseed rape.
Colony need 50kg of honey p year so need to up 200kg. Each bee will collect 20-100mg of nectar per flight).
Need to leave 17kg of honey to get them through the winter. They produce 27-68kg surplus honey.
Pollen – it has protein including fats and vitamins. they used the pollen to feed the larvae and creates brood food. Pollen is stored around the brood areas. If there is lots of pollen then it is a good sign of a healthy queen and hive. Need 25kg pollen each year.
Resin – use resin to make propolysis (bee glue). It blocks gaps in have and is mildly antiseptic.
Water – used to dilute honey to make it usable. Need water supply near the hive.
To feed – get a bucket and put sugar in. Mark the bucket on outside and keep gradually adding water until it reaches the mark on the bucket.