- Feb 13, 2010
- Reaction score
- Hive Type
- Number of Hives
- Between 17-20
Hi Dave,easy tiger - not the face ! at the local beek assoc beginners meetings, the impression was given that a frame or two a year was the plan, I'll get clarification on that tonight.
my 'problem' ( as you can probably see from my profile I'm a beginner - no colonies, low post number, hardly a trouble maker ) is that I'm now trying to work out how/when you transfer 60-70% of the frames over without massive disruption to the colony - do it early in the year and surely they'll spend energy drawing comb rather than building brood and stores. late in the year and you're gonna be removing stores no ? middle of year - brood and stores ? if asking the questions offends people let me know.
I've seen some very old combs since becoming a bee keeper, one colony I saw had been on the same combs for over 5 years and the colony never really amounted to much each year. The owner had tried to requeen more than once but it made no difference. The owner took advice and swapped out all the old frames and put in brand new frames with new foundation and followed the advice on feeding them until most of the frames had been drawn out, that year the colony collected x3 more excess honey, the queen laid up 5-6 frames full both sides of brood.
So swapping a couple of frames a year is worthless if there is 10-11 frames in the brood chamber, much better advice is to shook swarm the colony (replace all the frames the same day) or if this option is a little to brutal then use the bailey method to swap out the old frames once all the brood has emerged.
As for when this should be done... thats down to each bee keeper. Personally I favour the shook swarm method for three reasons * and generally aim to shook swarm them around May/June time after most of the OSR (oil seed rape) has finished.
* 1 - Hygiene
2 - IPM (integrated pest management) chemical free method of removing 95%+ of all varroa without using any chemicals
3 - I think the colony bounces back quicker and healthier when given no choice but to draw out new frames.