Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1

    Default Hives wont quit swarming...??

    I have 2 hive here at work that have swarmed at least 6-7 times in 2-3 weeks..they both have plenty of room and empty supers on top.. This morning I found a swarm that was the size of a baseball from one of them.. the other swarms have been fairly large,2-3 pounds in size..they are going to swarm themselves to death..I dont guess I have ever had any do this.. what would be their goal? I had always though they swarmed when the hive got too over crowed.. thanks!:confused:
    Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms should be a convenience store not a government agency

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    Are they under stress from SHB or mites? Have you looked for queen cells to see how many they are building? Have they superceded the original queen? How big are the hives? Is it only one hive or both? What is left in the hives? Are you using an excluder?

    An excluder can artificially limit the brood nest size and force swarming behavior. Have you moved empty combs into the brood nest to relieve congestion?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Posts
    261

    Default

    i have been having lots of swarms as well...space is not the issue with mine. i think what I did wrong was left too many queen cells so i tested the theory out by leaving three cells in one hive (which already swarmed once in early april). they swarmed again yesterday.

    i have been hearing from other folks in my area they have been having increased swarms due to the amount of cloudy/rainy days we have had and unless you are able to check your hive every 7-10 days then they have been swarming. the first chance the sun gets out and is over 65 degrees the bees light up the trees like Christmas ornaments.

    i plan on making splits from my swarms in the next 5 days and recombining the workforce back with the main hives to take advantage of our Tulip Poplar flow that is just starting.
    Hughes Honey Apiary
    http://www.hugheshoney.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    The question is, why are they building the queen cells in the first place if they aren't crowded.

  5. #5

    Default

    No QE's no shb and yes mites... these are both feral swarms I caught last spring, so i'm not sure about the queen, the swarm I found today I took the queen out and pinched her so I guess they will make it back into the hive..
    Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms should be a convenience store not a government agency

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    New Braunfels, TX
    Posts
    463

    Default

    The issue is the chicken or the egg. Do bees swarm because of overcrowding, or overcrowd because they have decided to swarm? Walt Wright advises that the latter is the overwhelming reason for swarming. Remember that swarming is the bees' way to reproduce. That is how they spread their DNA. If you have not had the chance, get a copy of Mr. Wright's paper on Nectar Management. I, too, had swarms until I purchased a copy (search this site for email address to purchase one) and began practicing checkerboarding. It works. It is somewhat tricky to determine the bees' calendar, but once you do for your area, you can keep ahead of them.

    Ron
    Hobbyist

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    I don't know how Walt could actually determine that is the cause any more than I can. I have many heavily populated hives that have not decided to swarm. If they overcrowd because they want to swarm, then they will swarm no matter what you do. Seems to contradict what you said.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    374

    Default

    I don't know much about this subject, but my mentor told me that getting rid of queen cells, capped or uncapped is a bad idea.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,071

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by blkcloud View Post
    I have 2 hive here at work that have swarmed at least 6-7 times in 2-3 weeks.....confused:
    If they are Russian bees, according to beekeepers having kept Russians in my area, it is normal for them to do that.

    Joe

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    edmonds, WA, USA
    Posts
    348

    Default

    Did they have a honeycap over the brood nest when they swarmed? I dont believe rainy, cool weather causes swarms. They want to swarm from day one. When they feel they have sufficient honey reserve in the hive and enough bees to go and enough to stay they go. You want them to think they arent ready to swarm by breaking up their honey reserve and creating open space in the brood area for the queen to lay in.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Elkton, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    288

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by allrawpaul View Post
    Did they have a honeycap over the brood nest when they swarmed? I dont believe rainy, cool weather causes swarms. They want to swarm from day one. When they feel they have sufficient honey reserve in the hive and enough bees to go and enough to stay they go. You want them to think they arent ready to swarm by breaking up their honey reserve and creating open space in the brood area for the queen to lay in.
    From Roy:

    allrawpaul,

    In a nutshell you have stated one of the main ideas in Walt's Nectar Management scheme.

    Caution: Ad content follows :-)

    Walt's "Nectar Management, Principles and Practices" is available by sending a request to:
    waltwright_ at hotmail dot com
    The underscore IS necessary. The at and dot are spelled out to fool the bots and spiders.

    I will reply with ordering instructions.

    Ad content over.

    Roy, for me

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,162

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by naturebee View Post
    If they are Russian bees, according to beekeepers having kept Russians in my area, it is normal for them to do that.

    Joe
    I have not experienced that myself and I have had some since 2000.

    As to multiple small "after swarms"... these are usually headed by virgins; if they leave within a short period of time relative to the prime swarm. There are several literary references to this behavior, but I do not recall what they said the cause was, however I do recall these books were written long before the importation of Russians.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
    Posts
    4,074

    Default

    The quickest way to stop that behavior is to split the hive into as many nucs as you have queen cells. Once the queens have hatched and mated, you can recombine, usually about 3 weeks. Never cut out capped queen cells, as you will in most cases end up queenless.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    If they really swarmed everytime they had enough honey and enough bees, beekeepers would never make anything, so that statement is patently untrue. Many, many hives don't swarm under those conditions. You can build monster hives with lots of honey and not have swarms.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,071

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JBJ View Post
    I have not experienced that myself and I have had some since 2000.
    ,,,Russians.
    Perhaps, as in varroa and other disease, different breeds respond differently depending on the environmental influences. And you can be assured that many times, beekeepers do not even realized that their hives have swarmed. I have heard from several persons that have kept Russians in western PA that they swarm too often. One person in particular, stated during about 2 months of mostly rain, cursed up a storm about his Russians after he watched them swarm 5 times in those 2 months. Thatís how russians respond to my environment.

    Russians do have a place in areas that have one strong flow, such as the far north. But in areas such as mine, which are made up of multiple flows and luls, Russians appear not to do as well as the established strains.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBJ View Post
    As to multiple small "after swarms"... these are usually headed by virgins; if they leave within a short period of time relative to the prime swarm. .
    This is true, but perhaps its not the queens one should be worrying about, itís the bees. You are loosing about 1 to 2 pounds of bees with every after swarm, and 3 to 5 pounds of bees with every prime swarm cast.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBJ View Post
    There are several literary references to this behavior, but I do not recall what they said the cause was, however I do recall these books were written long before the importation of Russians.
    This is true, but in the case of Italians for example, they will have an urge to throw one prime swarm, and rarely will they after swarm. This urge, is easily suppressed in the Italians with swarm prevention, and is usually sufficient to quell the urge for the season. But with Russians, it appears you must continue efforts to suppress swarming, as the urge is not easily suppressed with a single manipulation

    (at least, this is what others including myself in my specific area have observed)

    Best Wishes,
    Joe

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Limestone, Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Default

    The first couple of years that I kept bees, they swarmed each spring. Now, I split the colonies which I want to use for increase before they make swarm preparations (early March in my area) and I shook swarm the rest and make a pretty good honey crop from these colonies.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads