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  1. #1

    Question

    Here we do not have package bees,we have natural swarms that come as very weak colonies.

    How do you think i can make the few swarms very strong for me to be able to have starter colonies without waiting for swarms to colonise my hives.

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    Beekeeping Extension is my concern

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,442

    Post

    It's always a question of resources. What do you have to work with? Lots of small swarms can be combined into fewer larger swarms.

    If you have something to feed (sugar, syrup, honey etc.) feeding helps a lot in building up a colony. Water the honey or syrup down a bit and it will stimulate brood rearing, but don't water too much of it at a time as it won't keep as well.

    My experience is that a small swarm builds up rapidly when they have a smaller space to take care of. You can build a small (nuc) hive that only takes five bars or so with the same size top bars as your larger hive or make a good tight follower board will let you make the larger hive smaller at first so they can keep it the right temperature and humidty with less bees.

    A new swarm will build up faster and survive better (especially when it's too rainy to get out) if you can feed them pollen. If you can make a pollen trap you can gather pollen from the strong hives and feed it to the weaker ones.

    Also, if your top bars are all the same size you can give some pollen and honey in combs from a stronger hive to the hive starting off so that on a rainy day there is food for the brood.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,290

    Post

    Around here my first swarms come out toward the end of the spring honeyflow.There is a dearth of nectar after that,so swarms around here will stay weak if not fed.Also a lot of these swarms have old queens that need replacing to get maximum brood raising.So I agree with MB,feeding and combining are options to build up strength.Good queens are also essential.Splitting a hive before they can swarm ,allowing both units to grow,then recombining at the start of the main honeyflow(a 2 queen system)can work in areas where there are well defined honeyflow seasons.Are you working with scutt. bees?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Neodesha, Ks
    Posts
    619

    Post

    Sounds like you need to learn to raise some Queens from some of the gentle hives that are good producers. It will take time but would be a way to improve your stock.

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