Shopping Basket
Your Basket is Empty
Quantity:
Subtotal
Taxes
Delivery
Total
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should receive an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Basket

News Updates

News Updates

June Hints and Tips - look out for swarming signs!

Posted on 8 June, 2016 at 4:30


Austen’s June Notes

 

The end of May and first few day’s in June have certainly seen a change in the conditions from relatively cool weather to a bit of a heatwave (at least by Scottish standards). Nectar has been pouring in to hives from the Sycamore and Chestnut trees and next in line is the Hawthorn if it decides to be ‘co-operative’ this year. Notably the first clover flowers are now out in bloom. Clover will yield lots of delicious nectar, but only if the temperature exceeds about 20 degrees C and we have some moisture to refresh it’s roots.

 

 

It is noticeable that our cooler spring has brought many of these plants into flower at almost the same time, whereas we might have expected a bit of a stagger in their timings.

 

In last month’s notes I mentioned that swarming was more often associated with the ‘June gap’ – when early nectar sources had ceased and the later flowers were still to come out with declining day length. As usual the bees do not read the books and I have been informed that several of you have already experienced swarming in your colonies. It is worth remembering the factors which affect swarming in a colony. Firstly it is the bees’ only method of reproducing and forming a new unit. Swarming will be determined by the genetics of the bee strain which you keep. Some will swarm every year and others may seldom swarm. Swarmier types may produce several cast swarms: That’s with one of the hatching virgin queens.

 

 

Conditions within the colony are important too. Congestion (either insufficient space for the queen to lay in or for the bees to store incoming nectar) may promote the urge to find a new home. They say that “idle hands make mischief” and so it is with the bees, hence the propensity for June gap swarms in our area. The ratio of field bees and young bees in the colony is often associated with the swarming urge. This aspect can be exploited by the beekeeper in making an ‘artificial swarm’ (more below).

 

I don’t intend to re write the text books on the subject however if on your weekly colony inspections you see queen cups with larvae in them then you have the possibility that swarm preparations are underway. Later in the season (July/ August) it will almost certainly be supercedure of the old queen but a significant number of cells (say 6+) at this time almost certainly indicates the bees intention to swarm. So beginners will need to keep their eyes well ‘peeled’ during inspections. That doesn’t mean spending an eternity examining every corner of every last comb but if you see queen cell cups (which are common) have a look inside some of them. Eggs may be the prelude to cell development but they are often discarded, however taken to the larval stage then the bees will be unlikely to stop. Action will then be required by the beekeeper.

 

I might at this stage recall a personal experience many years ago with my bees. I went into the first colony and split the top and lower boxes to look for cells (note beginners, a good minimally disturbing technique for rapid ‘diagnosis’) Horror of horrors to see a dozen cells hanging down BUT they had all been torn open by the bees. The automatic conclusion was that the queens had long since hatched and that the bees had swarmed days ago. However further inspection showed that there were lots of bees present and that the old queen was indeed still there. That was lucky I thought. I went into the next colony and was met with the same sight and so it continued with every colony in that apiary. All had been stimulated to build cells and all had been stimulated to rip them down again and abandon the swarming urge. Why?, I still have no idea! But it is worth noting that poor weather will delay swarming or the bees may abandon the idea altogether but given a blink of midday sunshine and they will be off. Beware!

 

OK so back to your colony with the cells. Remember the important little rhyme, “Three, Five, Eight, and a queen can mate”. If you see all open developing queen cells then there is no need for panic as the bees seldom swarm until they are sealed and you can temporally close up the hive if you don’t have the necessary equipment to hand. Bees normally swarm when the new queens are within a couple of days of hatching if the weather conditions are right.

 

So after the foregoing ramble, what are you going to do to prevent the swarm escaping? Firstly, don’t panic and think with a clear head.

Form a plan of action from the desired outcome (eg do you want more colonies).The simplest technique is to make an artificial swarm. Now, to hark back to the springtime (when of course you remembered to mark your queens??), you now need to find her.

 

Place the frame with the queen into a fresh box on the old site. Fill up that box with frames of stores (no bees) and/or empty combs. Take all of the brood frames with queen cells and place on a new site (or sites if you want to expend numbers). Shake all of the bees from the supers into these new colonie(s) and close the box up. Return the unsealed super boxes to the original site above your excluder.

 

So the first thing which the foraging (flying) bees will do is to return to their former home so you have a colony of flying bees and their queen and few if any young bees . ….. so the bees now ‘feel’ that they have swarmed and will work hard to boost their ‘new’ home.

 

Now note that to save on equipment, you can fly your new colony out of the rear of the existing site and from above a cover board with a swivelling entrance. Once the new queen has been mated, you can either remove the old queen and unite with the top queen via the newspaper method, or take the new colony to a distant site for a week before bringing it back to the home apiary.

 

Now you are all bored with reading this, you can look forward to the Lime, Bramble, Raspberry, Willowherb and Heather flows later in the summer!


Austen Brown - Chair


Categories: Beekeeping Hints and Tips

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

3813 Comments

Reply Speedycash
23:39 on 16 April, 2021 
emergency loans no credit check
Reply dignosco
20:16 on 16 April, 2021 
air jordan 28 ebay usa nike mercurial victory v shoes white red black shoes uk billig adidas x 16.1 cheap black white and silver shoes nike flyknit lunar 3 shoes yahoo billig nike air max flair on foot god billig monster energy baseball caps amazon
dignosco http://www.dignosco.net/
Reply Pay Day Loan
17:52 on 16 April, 2021 
100 loans
Reply Carlliend
17:26 on 16 April, 2021 
cost of tadalafil generic female viagra for sale tadalafil 7mg order cialis online without prescription cheap kamagra
Reply sowegaland
17:17 on 16 April, 2021 
jordan retro 28 xx8 menn all svart nike air max thea black and green air max 90 flyknit nike magista onda jr movie ny yankees snapback cap for eu nike dunk high premium grau rot
sowegaland http://www.sowegaland.com/
Reply Loan
16:13 on 16 April, 2021 
low fee payday loans
Reply Loans Online
14:51 on 16 April, 2021 
small installment loans payday loans in colorado
Reply madeonearth
11:52 on 16 April, 2021 
adidas yeezy 350 boost v2 semi frozen yellow yellow billig kansas city royals hat with crown net nike air max dominate all red blue black nike air max 90 top layer leather for uk billig jordan retro 6 sport blue billig fun baby hats to knit free
madeonearth http://www.madeonearth.net/
Reply Lisaliend
9:39 on 16 April, 2021 
cialis prescription prices
Reply Best Online Loans
7:36 on 16 April, 2021 
cash advances installment calculator
Reply Online Loan
7:23 on 16 April, 2021 
best payday loans online
Reply Amyliend
6:30 on 16 April, 2021 
female cialis 10mg
Reply Markliend
5:55 on 16 April, 2021 
cialis india cheap cialis order online usa northwest pharmacy canada buy sildenafil tablets 100mg
Reply Loans For Bad Credit
2:58 on 16 April, 2021 
online cash register
Reply locallers
1:51 on 16 April, 2021 
cooper kupp throwback jersey for cheap nike air max 90 hommes chaussures blanc noir orange cheap sunderland shirt for cheap air jordan future low joker women nike tennessee titans 56 akeem ayers elite light blue team color nfl jersey sale blue yankees hat
locallers http://www.locallers.com/
Reply Cash Advance
1:39 on 16 April, 2021 
payday loans portland oregon
Reply stephenemay
1:31 on 16 April, 2021 
new air jordan 6 gs blue black shoes canada adidas x 17 ebay billig adidas tubular doom sock black trace olive pk 10 jordan bucket hat uk yahoo finance yeezy brown shoes billig lebron 10 dunkman volt white blue shoes billig
stephenemay http://www.stephenemay.com/
Reply Direct Lender Loans
22:12 on 15 April, 2021 
loan online bad credit payday loan
Reply Judyliend
22:08 on 15 April, 2021 
buy tadalafil canada uk pharmacy compare cialis buy strattera online australia black cialis viagra 100 mg price in india sildenafil 100 mg uk tadalafil cheap online how can you get viagra cheap modafinil online
Reply maclinford
20:20 on 15 April, 2021 
nike air force 1 lv8 red billig superfly 6 elite orange billig dream league kit juventus nike odyssey react 2 flyknit womens billig nike presto fly all white vapormax pink white billig
maclinford http://www.maclinford.net/