Swarm Control

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New Bee
Mar 25, 2009
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Hi once more

This is my first full year as a beek, I obtained my first two hives last July. They over wintered well and one in particular seems very strong, with bees covering even the outside frames. There are plenty stores and 5/6 frames of brood. Queens are both present and all seems well.

My biggest worry is that I am lacking the experience to avoid losing a swarm. The more I read about swarm control the more options there seem to be and I would like to hear what methods you guys use in your strategy.

I am going to clip the queen, and remove two frames of stores (there are tons) and replace them with foundation. If they continue to expand I will change to a brood and a half (I think).

I am reluctant to split the them as I would like a decent crop of honey, but will do if absolutely necessary.

Thanks again
As both PH & Finman have inferred the question of swarm control is a huge subject, and one that many do not understand.
Without going into too much detail we must understand the following;

Detection of swarming
Swarm prevention
Swarm control

Once we understand these principals then you will be confident in tackling the problem of swarming.
Perhaps 'problem' is the wrong word as the bees carry out this type of behaviour in a perfectly natural way.

I will briefly try and explain the three main headings.

Detection of swarming; this is absolutely necessary before any swarm control measures are undertaken. At the start of the season there will be no drones or queen cups. As the colony builds up the beekeeper must recognise that drones are being conceived and also Q cups have been made. These will normally be seen around the outer limits of the brood nest. Check the cups and if nothing in them don't worry until next inspection (7 days ) and if they contain royal jelly initiate swarm control.

Swarm prevention; this is the action undertaken by the beekeeper to prevent the colony from starting to build queen cells. With this we must understand about queen pheromones, the importance of supering. I think that the number of queen cups has something to do with the bee population. (Can't remember it off hand).

Swarm control; again this is the actions undertaken by the beekeeper to stop the colony swarming once the building of queen cells has begun and also so the beekeeper does not lose a prime swarm of bees.
There are too many methods of swarm control to place on this thread, books have been written just on swarming.

I think Bugfan you will need to decide what your priorities are in the case of the colony(s) begin to start swarm actions. I would advise you have a plan of attack and stick to it.

Good luck.

The more I read about swarm control the more options there seem to be and I would like to hear what methods you guys use in your strategy.

I have read about the subject,and as far as what the books are saying i understand. I was just interested to hear what your 'plan of attack' is.

:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:
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This where the English obsession with re-queening come to haunt the beekeepers.

If you re-queen every year how do you know which queens may have had a supercedure strain?

Why do people want to re-queen? I suspect it is because most cannot find the q in the first place.

Remember this. If the colony is expressing the desire to swarm they will. The task of the bee servant is to guide them in a suitable manner.

Decide now what you are going to do and have the equipment ready for it.

Know what you are doing and STICK to it. Do not try to modify others ideas, they have been carefully worked out for a reason and although I think many are very fussy and pedantic they are possibly thus by virtue of very swarmy bees which race I have not yet encountered.


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