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Queen Trap Anti-Swarm System

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steve1958 

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I just received an email advertising a Queen Trap Anti-Swarm System

The normal hive entrance is closed off with one of the new entrance reducers and a second entrance is opened above the queen excluder. To encourage the bees to find the new entrance quickly a small branch or sloping board can be used to shield the old entrance, but the bees will find their way to the new entrance in their own time if this is not done. The system works by simply preventing the queen leaving with the prime swarm but unlike the use of a clipped queen she will not be lost and will remain in the hive to be re-joined by the flying bees a short while later. After this point things can go a number of ways: either the queen cells will be torn down or one or more new queens will subsequently emerge. If the latter occurs the old queen may be killed and one new queen will remain having killed off all rivals or a single new queen will remain present with the old queen - supersession. If the old queen survives the swarming fever and the queen cells are torn down by the bees there is every likelihood the bees will try again later. In these circumstances we would recommend a new queen, either reared yourself or purchased, is introduced to the hive.

We anticipate some scepticism amongst beekeepers as to the efficiency of this system but it has been trialled for 12 years in Finland on over 1500 colonies and has thoroughly proved itself during this extended trial. The colonies with the system fitted continue to work as efficiently as any other colony and if anything may even work better. This is believed to be because the majority of returning foragers go straight up into the supers and do not deposit nectar in the brood chamber, reducing laying space for the queen. The foragers which go down into the brood chambers are mostly the ones carrying pollen. With the queen trap anti-swarm system fitted drones are also trapped in with the queen but the experience of the extensive Finnish trials is this does no harm to the normal working of the colony. The drones escape when the system is removed.
 

steve1958 

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Not sure what to make of it to be honest. It looks like you would get the same effect from placing a Queen excluder under the Brood box
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
The drones would be the problem - all trapped in the brood box with nowhere to go. The whole point of drones is that they are out flying (and, er, mating) during the swarming season.
 

Mike a 

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The drones would be the problem - all trapped in the brood box with nowhere to go. The whole point of drones is that they are out flying (and, er, mating) during the swarming season.
I agree, although if regular inspections are done most of the new hatched drones will hopefully leave once the QE is removed.

Good points
Your queen won't swarm.

Bad points
Old queen may still be killed.
When the colony mood changes and they go in to swarming mode they expect the old queen to leave.
All the visiting drones will then be in the supers enjoying themselves.
Half the colony is still likely to leave when the first newly mated queen returns and will become the queen of a prime swarm instead of a caste unless she fights with the trapped queen.
Trapped drones under QE will get highly stressed which in turn will stress the colony.
Nurse bees on hygiene duties will struggle to remove any dead bees. (hygiene issue)
I thought a swarming queen was able to slip through a QE as she has been slimmed down to enable her to fly. (Is this a myth in my head?)

Hmm can't think of any more off the top of my head right now but if any one can think of any more positive or negatives I would like to try and understand the logic of this system.
 
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I am reluctant to get into a lengthy discussion of this system on this Forum but it is worth highlighting the amount of experience which has been built up in Finland - 1500+ colonies over 12 years which I respectfully suggest in terms of colony years, i.e. years of use multiplied by the number of colonies is a very high figure. This is not something which has been knocked up in the garage according to some dreamt up theory. I have seen the original versions which were made of wood - there were several pallets of them with about 500 systems on each pallet. The new system is made of plastic but works the same way as the original versions.

The system has been extensively trialled and has proved virtually 100% effective at preventing swarms. The clever bit is it is not just a bit of hardware but has to be used according to a timetable.

The colonies do not suffer because of drones being trapped inside the brood chamber and if anything colonies with this system do better than those without due to reduced congestion in the brood chamber which is the result of the upper entrance. The same effect would not be achieved by simply putting a queen excluder under the brood chamber.

It is only used for periods of 3 to 4 weeks at a time after which it is removed and only needs replacing if swarming threatens again at which point the cycle starts again.

What is required is to perfect the management routine for the UK. In Finland the swarming season is very short and these systems are used only once. In the UK I can see them being fitted and then the hive opened up again after 3 to 4 weeks and after an interval to allow any new queen to mate the system might be reimposed. It will depend on exactly what the position is in each hive after it is removed. This is what we will be working on in the coming months so as to be ready for next season with the correct guidence on how to use it.

Even if it is only used to allow beekeepers to go on holiday and be certain their bees will still be there when they return it will have a use in normal beekeeping in the UK. For bee farming, where the system was developed, it will maximise yields and reduce workload on the bee farmer as regular checks for queen cells are not required during the period it is fitted.

A couple of pictures of the system are shown below. The right hand picture is simply the same hive with the super removed. The things to note are the normal hive entrance is closed off and an upper entrance opened above the queen excluder. When not required the landing board for the upper entrance is used to close it and the lower entrance opened.

I fully expect some serious scepticism about the system but the critics will be arguing I suspect from what they think will happen. We will be offering this system to the UK market in a few weeks time on the basis of what we know - which is that it works based on field experience.

 

admin 

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Rooftops is this Langstroth only or is there a National version for next season ?
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
Are the drones trapped in the brood chamber for the duration? Given that our swarming season is quite long....would this not seriously deplete the flying drones if widely used?
 

Hivemaker. 

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See no problem with that......should sell well, i've done this before,not with any kind of mass manufactured product,but simply blocking entrance and providing top entrance.....have also placed supers on floor....then queen excluder with brood box on top....easy to get to brood and release drones,foragers work using normal entrance in bottom so not congesting brood box....top box does not get clogged with stores.
 

Poly Hive 

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Are you claiming it works and has been trialled in the UK?


My views on other climates are established I think?

What works in those climates may well falter in our rather more unstable one.

PH
 

Hivemaker. 

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Well much the same type of thing works for me....but i live in a different climate too.
 

kazmcc 

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Is it not a bit cruel, trapping the queen when it is in her nature to fly? or am I being a bit fluffy?
 

steve1958 

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It is only used for periods of 3 to 4 weeks at a time after which it is removed and only needs replacing if swarming threatens again at which point the cycle starts again.

I guess this makes sense, though to be honest I am glad my Bees did swarm this year. I was able to collect two swarms from my single Hive thus increasing my numbers threefold - and that was on top of doing an artificial swarm before hand. :)

Even if it is only used to allow beekeepers to go on holiday and be certain their bees will still be there when they return it will have a use in normal beekeeping in the UK.

Now that sounds good. bee-smillie
 

steve1958 

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Is it not a bit cruel, trapping the queen when it is in her nature to fly? or am I being a bit fluffy?
The Queen spends most of her life not flying.
Maybe it is less cruel than clipping her wings, which is what a lot of Bee keepers do.
 

kazmcc 

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yeah, good point....I just have this image of her trying desperatly to get out and being trapped :( It's probably nothing like that at all, she probably tries, realises she can't get out the goes off to do something else. It's just me, I am too soft lol :)
 

karl moss 

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anti swarm

I would be very interested in trying this system, I go on a "Boys" fishing holiday every year, in May/June and my missus has to deal with my swarmy carnies while i am away, i could put this on before i go and my little swarmolians would possibly still be here when i got back, and as a bonus it would be much cheaper than the shoes/clothes i have to buy to pacify the missus
 

m100 

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Are you claiming it works and has been trialled in the UK?
My question as well, the swarming season is much longer here than it would appear to be in Finland. Along similar lines, some local beeks with heaps of experience are aghast at the idea of trapping a swarm with a QE under a floor, one recently experienced a colony that a new beek had manipulated this way, the bees were really bad tempered. When all reverted to normal they were like pussycats.
 

biggles 

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This would be easy to do if anyone is running a brood and a half. Just one cut along the front of a super so you can fit an entrance block.

Pete
 

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