Archive for the ‘Swarms’ Category

I would like to take a meter reading

August 30, 2011

Over the weekend we took a call from a person who during the summer had a swarm take up residence in his electricity meter box.

The electricity company owed him some money so he needed to take a reading but as you can see the meter was covered in comb.

Although late in the season we removed the colony, housed it in make shift frames in a Nuc box and currently it is located next to another nucleus so that once established on proper frames the two colonies will be united before winter sets in.

The size of the colony is much smaller than the amount of comb indicates it should be, the assumption is that the swarm had swarmed again once it became too big for the box, leaving this small but friendly colony.

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Just before the swarm

April 27, 2011

Last week when inspecting the colonies on Tuesday we tore down several queen cells in Hive 2 and rearranged things so that the colony had more space. The next full inspection was not due for a further 9 days so on Monday (7 days on) a quick inspection was carried out. The queen was seen but there were several good swarm cells just about to be capped.

A nucleus box was placed next to the hive with the entrance facing the opposite direction. The frame with the queen on was placed in the Nuc along with four further frames from the main hive containing stores and all stages of brood. Queen cells on the frames transferred to the Nuc were torn down. The brood frames in the main hive were placed together in the centre of the brood box and flanked by fresh frames.

By removing the queen we have prevented a swarm issuing until at least when the 1st virgin queen emerges (8 days after queen cell capped) and by reducing the brood the colony may now not swarm due to the lack of young bees.

Positioning the Nuc box close to the original hive maintains our options for what to do with the colony and the original queen.

At the next inspection we may split the main hive again if we have sufficient good sealed swarm cells, further reducing the chance of a swarm issuing and hopefully resulting in an additional small colony for use during the busy training programme this summer.

It has been an early spring this year and there are reports from several members of colonies swarming already, we were lucky in being able to save the queen and prevent a swarm issuing. At this time of year one should carry out inspections every 7 days and if a colony starts swarm preparations carry out preventative measures such as an artificial swarm.

Swarm Collection

July 5, 2010

In my own Apiary a week ago I noticed queen cells but could not find the queen, assumed she had gone and left the colony to sort itself out. Today it did by swarming in the top of the closest Hazel tree. Apart from having to climb the tree in the first place the collection went reasonably smoothly and we were able to prune the tree at the same time.

Swarm Entering Hive

May 25, 2010

The attached image shows one of the most beautiful sites in beekeeping, a swarm entering a new hive up a ramp covered in a white sheet. Sadly this swarm decided not to stay and moved on.

Bumblebees in Bird Box

May 25, 2010

A friend rang yesterday describing what appeared to be a honeybee swarm, it turned out to be Bumblebees nesting in a bird box. Does the entrance look similar to the previous oil can post? Note the guard bees surrounding the entrance.