Fleet Beekeepers Advanced beeginners week 2
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Fleet Beekeepers Advanced beeginners week 2

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A presentation from Fleet Beekeepers on swarm management and collection.

A presentation from Fleet Beekeepers on swarm management and collection.

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Fleet Beekeepers Advanced beeginners week 2 Fleet Beekeepers Advanced beeginners week 2 Presentation Transcript

  • Advanced Beeginners - Week 2 Swarm Management & CollectionFriday, 11 January 13
  • Agenda Why Do Bees Swarm? Swarm Management For the New Beekeeper Artificial Swarms Collecting SwarmsFriday, 11 January 13
  • Why Bees Swarm Its a completely natural process and is how colonies multiply. Trigger points for swarming; Colony starts running out of space in the hive - Either brood space or storage Hive is diseased or bees are starving (Rare) They just want to.... But - unlikely to happen to Queens under two years old in a healthy colonyFriday, 11 January 13There are various trigger points that cause a colony to swarm. Most of them are focused around the lack of space within the colony, but can also be driven by the age ofthe Queen or the fact that they are just genetically more driven to swarm than another colony.You should as a responsible beekeeper have a swarm policy in place for your colonies. Every beekeeper should prepare a bait hive in their apiary or nearbyBeing a “natural” beekeeper is no excuse to simply let your hives swarm, unless you are prepared to collect them! Otherwise you are probably condemning the swarm todeath through starvation or exposure due to a lack of suitable places for them to re-locate.
  • How Swarming Happens The colony raises several Queen cells on brood frames Egg placed in cell and sealed on day 7/8 Colony will typically swarm sometime after cells are sealed Queen stops laying and workers consume large amounts of honey in preparation to leaveFriday, 11 January 13Every colony will develop “play cups” in spring from which one or two may develop into Queen cells. Knocking these down during an inspection may help, but it shouldalso serve as a warning to be vigilant for the signs of a real intention to create Queen cells. You should
  • The Swarm On a warm afternoon with little wind... About half the workers bees and old Queen leave hive very rapidly Collect in a tight group around Queen about 10-30M from hive Dispatches scouts to look for a new home Colony may move on several times as it looks for suitable site Bees are very docile at this time and are reluctant to stingFriday, 11 January 13
  • Meanwhile back at the hive... 60000 50000 Colony swarms Full Colony Foragers lost from 40000 Swarmed colony parent colony 30000 20000 10000 Main nectar flow 0 ay ne ly r ch y t il r r er ry us be be be r ar Ju Ap ob ua ar M Ju nu em g em m M Au ct br te Ja v O c Fe p No De SeFriday, 11 January 13This shows the impact of swarming on the population of bees within an colony. Note how you have lost your main workforce just as the main nectar sources start to flowand therefore you will lose most of your potential crop that year. This chart also shows the importance of early swarms over later ones.An early swarm gives the remaining bees in the colony time to raise a new laying Queen whilst there is still a crop to gather so that the hive has enough stores to get itthrough the following winter.A late swarm can put the whole colony in jeopardy in the fact that there may not be time to replace the lost workforce and stores before the onset of winter leaving a weakcolony that may not survive. You should consider merging late swarming hives before the autumn to create string colonies before the onset of winter.
  • Swarm ManagementFriday, 11 January 13
  • Choices, Choices... There are three main options: Try and prevent a swarm happening in the first place Create an artificial swarm under your control Let it happen by default or poor observationFriday, 11 January 13Its very difficult to prevent a swarm happening as it is a completely natural process and you are fighting against an organisms most basic instinct to reproduce. Get itwrong and you could end up with no Queen and a colony falling into rapid decline...Creating an artificial swarm is by far the best policy for most beekeepers as you can convince the colony that they have swarmed and keep your workforce in place tomaximise your honey crop. If you are a garden beekeeper, you also owe it to your neighbours not to disrupt their peaceful lives when a swarm descends into their gardencausing chaos until you come along and remove them.If you are a “natural beekeeper” then you may choose not to intervene to prevent swarms, BUT it is still your responsibility to collect any of your swarms that emerge fromyour colonies as otherwise its highly likely that the swarm will die if not collected by a beekeeper due to lack of suitable places to create a hive in the wild and theirpotential inability to survive Varroa and other pests and diseases. You will also give all local beekeepers a bad name if you are responsible for swarms of bees plaguingyour neighbours!
  • Swarm Prevention? Make sure you have young, strong Queens Inspect the brood frames rigorously each week between late April and end of July Check the Queen is there and laying eggs Kill or remove any Queen cups or cells Hope you’ve been thorough enough...Friday, 11 January 13Almost all colonies with a Queen over two years WILL attempt to swarm in the spring/summer. You can try to prevent it, but in the end they will swarm...Its also important to make sure that you have seen the Queen or eggs BEFORE you knock down all the Queen cells just in case they have already swarmed or the Queen hasdied. Otherwise you will rapidly end up with a Queenless hive that will fall into rapid decline.
  • Think.... Is the hive actually preparing to swarm? Might the current Queen be fading or dead? Are there fresh eggs? Is the Queen visible and intact? Consider this might be a supercedure process and not Swarming!Friday, 11 January 13Supercedure cells like those shown above are relatively short and dumpy compared to normal Queen cells and the Queens they produce do not always able to fly, mate andreturn to lay successfully. In this case it is probably better to insert a decent Queen cell from elsewhere or add a frame of fresh eggs from which they can raise a goodquality Queen cell.
  • Clipping Queens Hold Queen with crown of thorns or use Queen trap or fingers Carefully clip 1/3rd off a Queens wings Swarm can’t fly far if Queen can’t be there to lead them Keeps your neighbours happy...Friday, 11 January 13This is a simple process that needs a steady hand, a lot of patience and cool nerves.The simplest method is to carefully trap the Queen and hold her against the comb using a crown of thorns. New Queens can be marked on the thorax only with this yearscolour.Carefully twist the crown and eventually the Queens wings will pop-up through the mesh. Very carefully cut the lower 1/2 off BOTH wings. A pair of curved nail scissors isideal.Alternatively, you can very carefully grab the Queen between thumb and index finger and clip her with the scissors before returning her to the brood comb.Don’t clip a leg or she will probably be rejected by the rest of the colony as “damaged goods”!
  • When a Clipped Queen Swarms Swarm typically “falls” out of the hive like this with Queen on the ground Swarm will later move back in hive, possibly with Queen or not... Either way, the workforce remains and you and your neighbours are happy! Don’t forget to clip the new Queen once mated!Friday, 11 January 13The Queen will sometimes attempt to fly out of the colony to lead the swarm and simply falls out of the front of the hive onto the ground beneath or sometimes walksunder the floor and stays there. Some retainers will stay with her, but most of the swarm will eventually return to the hive.You can either retrieve the Queen and put her back in the original hive, or place her in a Nuc with some bees to look after her as an insurance policy in case the new Queenin the old hive does not mate well or does not return from a mating flight.
  • Artificial Swarm - Choices Do you want to keep the full workforce in place to optimise your chances of a decent crop of honey? Have a disease/varroa issue and need to re-houseFriday, 11 January 13Creating an artificial swarm can be as simple as a complete comb swap, shaking the bees off their existing comb onto new foundation. This will mean the loss of yourexisting brood, but the move onto foundation will stop any swarm process in its tracks as the bees focus on making wax and building new comb. Please make sure you feedthe colony syrup to assist them in this process.Other techniques involve separating the Queen from most of the brood to break the swarm preparation cycle. This can lead into generating new Queen cells which are thebasis of a new colony if you wish to create one.
  • Artificial Swarm - Choices Do you want to keep the full workforce in place to optimise your chances of a decent crop of honey? Have a disease/varroa issue and need to re-house Or Do you want to create additional colonies to increase your potential harvest next year? You should have at least 2-3 colonies in an apiary as an insurance against hard winters or other problemsFriday, 11 January 13Creating an artificial swarm can be as simple as a complete comb swap, shaking the bees off their existing comb onto new foundation. This will mean the loss of yourexisting brood, but the move onto foundation will stop any swarm process in its tracks as the bees focus on making wax and building new comb. Please make sure you feedthe colony syrup to assist them in this process.Other techniques involve separating the Queen from most of the brood to break the swarm preparation cycle. This can lead into generating new Queen cells which are thebasis of a new colony if you wish to create one.
  • General Concepts The process “fools” the bees into thinking they have swarmed Triggered when you either see Queen cells or other circumstances decide such as disease or varroa Many variations on a theme of moving bees between two separate hives We will show the Demaree method Simple, effective, minimum of kit, no loss of workforce More information and instructions to perform an artificial swarm in this weeks handoutsFriday, 11 January 13As always in beekeeping, there are a huge number of ways in which you can create an artificial swarm and the books are full of different methods. We have selected oneprocess called Demaree, after George Demaree who wrote an article describing the process in the American Bee Journal in 1884.The Demaree method of swarm control is the one of many techniques which we consider is probably the easiest to achieve, not having to find the Queen, and where thereare limitations of apiary space and equipment. Its essentially a process to separate the Queen from the brood whilst keeping both in the same overall space.
  • Demaree Process - Phase 1 Super Brood Box QueenFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 1 Brood Box QueenFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 1 • Find and destroy ALL Queen cells Brood Box QueenFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 1 • Find and destroy ALL Queen cells Brood Box • Find Queen and Queen isolate herFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 1 Queen • Find and destroy ALL Queen cells Brood Box • Find Queen and isolate herFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 1 Queen Brood BoxFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 1 Queen Brood Box New Brood ChamberFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 1 Queen Move frames with brood into new Brood Box brood chamber New Brood ChamberFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 2 Queen Brood Box New Brood ChamberFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 2 Queen Fill space in original brood box Brood Box with spare combs New Brood ChamberFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 2 Queen Brood Box New Brood ChamberFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 2 Place Queen Brood Box back in Brood New Brood Queen box ChamberFriday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree Process - Phase 3 Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13Now that you have the hive set up, this is what happens: • The nurse bees stay with the brood and care for it. • The field force continues to forage for honey and pollen. • The queen continues to lay eggs and has lots of places to do so.This situation is much like a hive that has already swarmed. The major difference is that both parts are in the same box. However, • As soon as the queen scent decreases in the top box, the bees will try to raise a queen from young larvae. • You may destroy these cells or remove them to a nuc. • After the brood hatches, the brood cells will be backfilled with honey. • In the end, the hive will not have swarmed, so it will contain lots of bees and lots of honey. • The growing hive may once again develop the urge to swarm, which is why a second Demaree might be needed later in the season.
  • Demaree Process - Phase 3 Queen Excluder Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13Now that you have the hive set up, this is what happens: • The nurse bees stay with the brood and care for it. • The field force continues to forage for honey and pollen. • The queen continues to lay eggs and has lots of places to do so.This situation is much like a hive that has already swarmed. The major difference is that both parts are in the same box. However, • As soon as the queen scent decreases in the top box, the bees will try to raise a queen from young larvae. • You may destroy these cells or remove them to a nuc. • After the brood hatches, the brood cells will be backfilled with honey. • In the end, the hive will not have swarmed, so it will contain lots of bees and lots of honey. • The growing hive may once again develop the urge to swarm, which is why a second Demaree might be needed later in the season.
  • Demaree Process - Phase 3 Super Queen Excluder Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13Now that you have the hive set up, this is what happens: • The nurse bees stay with the brood and care for it. • The field force continues to forage for honey and pollen. • The queen continues to lay eggs and has lots of places to do so.This situation is much like a hive that has already swarmed. The major difference is that both parts are in the same box. However, • As soon as the queen scent decreases in the top box, the bees will try to raise a queen from young larvae. • You may destroy these cells or remove them to a nuc. • After the brood hatches, the brood cells will be backfilled with honey. • In the end, the hive will not have swarmed, so it will contain lots of bees and lots of honey. • The growing hive may once again develop the urge to swarm, which is why a second Demaree might be needed later in the season.
  • Demaree Process - Phase 3 Queen Excluder Super Queen Excluder Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13Now that you have the hive set up, this is what happens: • The nurse bees stay with the brood and care for it. • The field force continues to forage for honey and pollen. • The queen continues to lay eggs and has lots of places to do so.This situation is much like a hive that has already swarmed. The major difference is that both parts are in the same box. However, • As soon as the queen scent decreases in the top box, the bees will try to raise a queen from young larvae. • You may destroy these cells or remove them to a nuc. • After the brood hatches, the brood cells will be backfilled with honey. • In the end, the hive will not have swarmed, so it will contain lots of bees and lots of honey. • The growing hive may once again develop the urge to swarm, which is why a second Demaree might be needed later in the season.
  • Demaree Process - Phase 3 Frames with Brood Queen Excluder Super Queen Excluder Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13Now that you have the hive set up, this is what happens: • The nurse bees stay with the brood and care for it. • The field force continues to forage for honey and pollen. • The queen continues to lay eggs and has lots of places to do so.This situation is much like a hive that has already swarmed. The major difference is that both parts are in the same box. However, • As soon as the queen scent decreases in the top box, the bees will try to raise a queen from young larvae. • You may destroy these cells or remove them to a nuc. • After the brood hatches, the brood cells will be backfilled with honey. • In the end, the hive will not have swarmed, so it will contain lots of bees and lots of honey. • The growing hive may once again develop the urge to swarm, which is why a second Demaree might be needed later in the season.
  • Demaree Process - Phase 3 • Nurse Bees move Frames with up to cover Brood emerging brood Queen Excluder Super Queen Excluder Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13Now that you have the hive set up, this is what happens: • The nurse bees stay with the brood and care for it. • The field force continues to forage for honey and pollen. • The queen continues to lay eggs and has lots of places to do so.This situation is much like a hive that has already swarmed. The major difference is that both parts are in the same box. However, • As soon as the queen scent decreases in the top box, the bees will try to raise a queen from young larvae. • You may destroy these cells or remove them to a nuc. • After the brood hatches, the brood cells will be backfilled with honey. • In the end, the hive will not have swarmed, so it will contain lots of bees and lots of honey. • The growing hive may once again develop the urge to swarm, which is why a second Demaree might be needed later in the season.
  • Demaree Process - Phase 3 • Nurse Bees move Frames with up to cover Brood emerging brood Queen Excluder • Queen has no Super need to swarm Queen Excluder Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13Now that you have the hive set up, this is what happens: • The nurse bees stay with the brood and care for it. • The field force continues to forage for honey and pollen. • The queen continues to lay eggs and has lots of places to do so.This situation is much like a hive that has already swarmed. The major difference is that both parts are in the same box. However, • As soon as the queen scent decreases in the top box, the bees will try to raise a queen from young larvae. • You may destroy these cells or remove them to a nuc. • After the brood hatches, the brood cells will be backfilled with honey. • In the end, the hive will not have swarmed, so it will contain lots of bees and lots of honey. • The growing hive may once again develop the urge to swarm, which is why a second Demaree might be needed later in the season.
  • Demaree Process - Phase 3 • Nurse Bees move Frames with up to cover Brood emerging brood Queen Excluder • Queen has no Super need to swarm Queen Excluder • Single hive can Old Queen, new comb with be re-united later honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13Now that you have the hive set up, this is what happens: • The nurse bees stay with the brood and care for it. • The field force continues to forage for honey and pollen. • The queen continues to lay eggs and has lots of places to do so.This situation is much like a hive that has already swarmed. The major difference is that both parts are in the same box. However, • As soon as the queen scent decreases in the top box, the bees will try to raise a queen from young larvae. • You may destroy these cells or remove them to a nuc. • After the brood hatches, the brood cells will be backfilled with honey. • In the end, the hive will not have swarmed, so it will contain lots of bees and lots of honey. • The growing hive may once again develop the urge to swarm, which is why a second Demaree might be needed later in the season.
  • Why Demaree? Advantages Uses minimum of new Frames with Brood equpiment No need for extra space Super No loss of workers = more honey Old Queen, new comb with Single hive is simple to honey & pollen re-unite laterFriday, 11 January 13The essential feature of this method of swarm control is that the frames of young brood and eggs (without any bees) are moved to the top of the hive, above the honeysuper while the queen and all the bees are left in the lower brood box with empty comb or foundation. The nurse bees migrate to the brood at the top and the older beesstay with the queen below the queen excluder, as if they had swarmed.Inspection of the top brood box seven to nine days later, will most likely reveal open queen cells in various stages. These can all be destroyed or perhaps more usefullyused : After selecting the best two, a screen floor or false floor may be inserted and the a new queen raised in the top box. This new queen, once established and layingcan be used replace the old queen or used to create another colony as desired.
  • Lets have a break...Friday, 11 January 13
  • Demaree - Variation Frames with Brood Super Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13If you do want to raise Queens, then you simply wait until the bees in the top brood chamber create a number of Queen cells and then insert either a Cloake board orSnelgrove board that partitions off the top colony from the bottom one and creates an entrance for the emerging Virgin Queen and any drones to leave and return. Makesure that the top and bottom entrances face in different directions.More info on making a Cloake board: http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/cloake.htmlPurchasing the second entrance for a Modern Beekeeping Poly Hive here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/products/langstroth-hive-components/queen-trap-swarm-preventionMake sure you combine it with one of their inner hive covers here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/item/50/inner-hive-cover to completely seal the top hive from thebottom one.
  • Demaree - Variation Frames with Brood Super Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollen Set main entrance at 180 degreesFriday, 11 January 13If you do want to raise Queens, then you simply wait until the bees in the top brood chamber create a number of Queen cells and then insert either a Cloake board orSnelgrove board that partitions off the top colony from the bottom one and creates an entrance for the emerging Virgin Queen and any drones to leave and return. Makesure that the top and bottom entrances face in different directions.More info on making a Cloake board: http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/cloake.htmlPurchasing the second entrance for a Modern Beekeeping Poly Hive here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/products/langstroth-hive-components/queen-trap-swarm-preventionMake sure you combine it with one of their inner hive covers here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/item/50/inner-hive-cover to completely seal the top hive from thebottom one.
  • Demaree - Variation Frames with Brood Snelgrove etc board with 2nd entrance Super Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13If you do want to raise Queens, then you simply wait until the bees in the top brood chamber create a number of Queen cells and then insert either a Cloake board orSnelgrove board that partitions off the top colony from the bottom one and creates an entrance for the emerging Virgin Queen and any drones to leave and return. Makesure that the top and bottom entrances face in different directions.More info on making a Cloake board: http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/cloake.htmlPurchasing the second entrance for a Modern Beekeeping Poly Hive here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/products/langstroth-hive-components/queen-trap-swarm-preventionMake sure you combine it with one of their inner hive covers here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/item/50/inner-hive-cover to completely seal the top hive from thebottom one.
  • Demaree - Variation Frames with Brood Super Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13If you do want to raise Queens, then you simply wait until the bees in the top brood chamber create a number of Queen cells and then insert either a Cloake board orSnelgrove board that partitions off the top colony from the bottom one and creates an entrance for the emerging Virgin Queen and any drones to leave and return. Makesure that the top and bottom entrances face in different directions.More info on making a Cloake board: http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/cloake.htmlPurchasing the second entrance for a Modern Beekeeping Poly Hive here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/products/langstroth-hive-components/queen-trap-swarm-preventionMake sure you combine it with one of their inner hive covers here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/item/50/inner-hive-cover to completely seal the top hive from thebottom one.
  • Demaree - Variation Frames with • Creates two hives Brood in one site Super Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13If you do want to raise Queens, then you simply wait until the bees in the top brood chamber create a number of Queen cells and then insert either a Cloake board orSnelgrove board that partitions off the top colony from the bottom one and creates an entrance for the emerging Virgin Queen and any drones to leave and return. Makesure that the top and bottom entrances face in different directions.More info on making a Cloake board: http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/cloake.htmlPurchasing the second entrance for a Modern Beekeeping Poly Hive here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/products/langstroth-hive-components/queen-trap-swarm-preventionMake sure you combine it with one of their inner hive covers here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/item/50/inner-hive-cover to completely seal the top hive from thebottom one.
  • Demaree - Variation Frames with • Creates two hives Brood in one site • Foragers come Super back and fill top brood box Old Queen, new comb with honey & pollenFriday, 11 January 13If you do want to raise Queens, then you simply wait until the bees in the top brood chamber create a number of Queen cells and then insert either a Cloake board orSnelgrove board that partitions off the top colony from the bottom one and creates an entrance for the emerging Virgin Queen and any drones to leave and return. Makesure that the top and bottom entrances face in different directions.More info on making a Cloake board: http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/cloake.htmlPurchasing the second entrance for a Modern Beekeeping Poly Hive here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/products/langstroth-hive-components/queen-trap-swarm-preventionMake sure you combine it with one of their inner hive covers here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/item/50/inner-hive-cover to completely seal the top hive from thebottom one.
  • Demaree - Variation Frames with • Creates two hives Brood in one site • Foragers come Super back and fill top brood box Old Queen, new comb with • Will raise Queen honey & pollen cells from eggsFriday, 11 January 13If you do want to raise Queens, then you simply wait until the bees in the top brood chamber create a number of Queen cells and then insert either a Cloake board orSnelgrove board that partitions off the top colony from the bottom one and creates an entrance for the emerging Virgin Queen and any drones to leave and return. Makesure that the top and bottom entrances face in different directions.More info on making a Cloake board: http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/cloake.htmlPurchasing the second entrance for a Modern Beekeeping Poly Hive here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/products/langstroth-hive-components/queen-trap-swarm-preventionMake sure you combine it with one of their inner hive covers here: http://www.modernbeekeeping.co.uk/item/50/inner-hive-cover to completely seal the top hive from thebottom one.
  • Bait Hives Every Beekeeper should have a bait hive Located in or near the main apiary A nuc with comb works fine Or use Vita Swarm Attractant Wipes with foundationFriday, 11 January 13These can be bought, but its just as easy to use a Nuc box containing unused comb or build a simple box capable of taking your standard brood frames and place somespare comb inside to act as bait. Lemon grass oil is also an excellent attractant - put a few drops on a kitchen towel inside a half sealed zip-loc bag and place inside thebait hive and smear a couple of drops around the entrance of the hive.Great video on building and installing bait boxes here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&NR=1&v=na3owKhF9m4More details on swarm attractant here: http://www.vita-europe.com/products/honeybee-swarm-attractant-wipe/
  • Collecting SwarmsFriday, 11 January 13This is one of my Queens bought earlier that year from Slovakia in the process of swarming out of the hive in the background. Here she is surrounded by a small entourageas the rest of the bees start to fly out of the hive to join her.
  • Collecting Swarms You will need; Full bee suit, gloves A cardbox box with tape, an empty hive, swarm box or skep A white sheet Secateurs and/or garden saw A smoker, hive tool water spray and bee brush can be usefulFriday, 11 January 13Collecting swarms is relatively easy as long as you can get access to them. Most swarms tend to land on trees or hedges at about head height, but we have seen them landon everything from cars, to motorcycles to even aircraft wings!Always wear a full bee suit and boots as quite often you will be kneeling down and can crush bees that will sting you. A gentle water spray works better than smoke onmost solid swarms and calms the bees down and a brush is essential to sweep some swarms into a box.
  • On site Are they actually honey bees? If so, is the swarm stable and collected in one place? Can you reach the swarm safely? Clear the public from the area Lay out your sheet and hive box etc underneath the swarm or nearbyFriday, 11 January 13Make sure you can get access to the swarm without putting yourself and others in harms way. Call for another beekeeper if you need someone to hold a ladder or helpwith positioning the collection box or skep. Make sure the public stay away in case the swarm decide to leave before you can collect them or if something goes wrong andthey don’t end up in your collection box first time. The white sheet helps by containing any bees that fall outside the box and you can wrap the box or skep in the sheet toprevent any escapees...
  • The Easy Way to Collect a SwarmFriday, 11 January 13Most swarms are usually relatively easy to access and collect. The trick is to either position a box underneath and shake them in one sharp go, or put an upturned boxabove them that they can move into (remember bees invariably crawl up not down). The key is to get the Queen into your container, once she is there, the rest of theswarm will follow. Seal up the main lid of the box leaving a small entrance for the other flying bees to join the swarm inside. Look for the classic “bum up” posture ofworkers fanning pheromone from their Nazimov glands to tell the other flying bees “home is here”.
  • Housing Them...Friday, 11 January 13This is a magical process where the white sheet is used to create a pathway into the hive or nuc box. Make sure that the path is unimpeded and they will simply walk upthe ramp and into the hive over the course of about 10 minutes. If you are lucky, you will see the Queen in amongst her retinue and once most are inside, some workerswill show the classic “bum up” position fanning pheromone to let the flyers know where the Queen is and to join them.
  • Once Re-Housed Consider putting bees in a hive or Nuc box outside your apiary Don’t bring in diseases that might affect your other bees Put them onto clean frames with foundation Leave bees alone in hive or Nuc box for about 24 hours Provide a good feed of syrup to encourage rapid cell building so Queen can start laying Consider replacing Queen before the onset of Winter...Friday, 11 January 13Once you get the bees inside the Nuc box make sure that you seal the entrance for 24-48 hours so that the bees get a strong imprint of the hive and don’t fly off to swarmelsewhere! This will also make them “reset” their internal navigation systems so that they re-orientate their new location.You would normally need to feed the new colony with sugar syrup so that they can get to work building new comb as fast as possible. Once they start this process, its avery good idea to treat the bees with Oxalic acid mixture before the Queen starts to lay so that you knock down as many mites as possible.You should also consider re-Queening the colony before winter to ensure the colonies survival into the next spring with a strong, healthy Queen of known vintage.
  • Meanwhile in the Old Hive...Friday, 11 January 13Here the newly emerged virgin Queen is “piping” as a challenge to any other Queens in the hive.Remarkably, any Queens in the hive, even those still inside their cells will pipe back and battle will commence with the Queens using their specialised stings on each otheruntil only a single Queen is left alive.
  • Summary Understanding the natural cycles in the beekeeping year is key All hives will swarm eventually Taking positive action is key to ensure that you either Encourage honey production Raise a new colony Learn to read comb so that you can spot Queen cells early on Accompany someone more experienced to collect your first swarmFriday, 11 January 13