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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Dallas, Texas

    Default Low-Budget Swarm Control?

    I'm in a suburban environment and I basically only have the room and the money for a single box. It'll be a langstroth, which indicates its price. I realize a colony doubles it population each year, but that brings up an issue:
    1) How do I contain these newly born bees and prevent them from swarming without expanding the box, or buying another?
    2) In the case that they do swarm, how do I contain them and keep them without buying or expanding?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Medford, Oregon

    Default Re: Low-Budget Swarm Control?

    The only realistic answer I can come up with for either question with the given information is the following:

    You don't.

    A single box is not a long term hive. No healthy colony is going to live in a single box without swarming and once they're out, you're not going to be able to stuff them back in. You might as well just let the swarms go and give some fun to some other local beekeeper who will catch them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Hudson, WI USA

    Default Re: Low-Budget Swarm Control?

    I am of the opinion that bees don't double or triple in the spring they quadruple! If you want to keep bees in a single box without swarming there must be a way to do it, but you understand there won't be much honey.
    I could envisage you starting a hive on new foundation, and then selling most of it in the following spring or as soon as there are are four or five frames of sealed brood. Then leave only two frames with brood in the box and buy a new queen and introduce her. The queen should have her wing clipped to prevent her flying a distance if she did swarm.
    Another option might be to come to an understanding with a local beekeeper who wants to make splits. Offer to watch the box on your site until it reaches a certain preordained size then he could come pick it up and exchange it with a new split and so on.
    Neither of these options are run-of-the-mill, but Beesource attracts out of the box thinkers. Someone else is likely to come up with better options, and may diss mine... It is the nature of things.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA

    Default Re: Low-Budget Swarm Control?

    No....don't let your bees swarm, otherwise you are not a beekeeper, you are a pest maker.

    Manage your hive, if you keep it, it is your responsibility. In the spring as the bees start to build up you must keep an eye on them. Once they get to a certain size...filling more than 4 frames with brood on both the top and bottom brood box you will need to split them or remove frames of brood. The best bet is to find someone in your club or another beekeeper who is looking for a split. You can provide the queenless split for them, all they need to do is order a queen and they have their nuc. If you can't find anyone to take the brood you can remove the frames, shake off the bees and freeze them. Either way will knock down your hive and keep it from swaming IN THE SPRING. As the hive continues to build, you at this point need to start adding supers. If you continue to add supers, staying a min of one empty ahead of them they shouldn't swarm on your during the summer. As the fall hits and the bees start to slow down, you will notice the population decline as the queen tapers off her laying. Good strong hive going into winter.

    Many of the beekeepers I mentor have only one hive and those that really tend to their hives have no problem with swarming using these tactics. Also, how do you think commercial guys get the maximum out of their hives?? By allowing them to swarm? Really?
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    DFW area, TX, USA

    Thumbs Up Re: Low-Budget Swarm Control?

    Quote Originally Posted by drmanhadan View Post
    .......snip.....1) How do I contain these newly born bees and prevent them from swarming without expanding the box, or buying another?
    2) In the case that they do swarm, how do I contain them and keep them without buying or expanding?
    drmanhadan, each of the posters above is right in his own way. Perhaps, for the time being, you could make an observation hive and get your frames of bees from a local bee club member....?

    In 1976, I got my first hive of bees and kept it on a small lot in town for three years. I supplemented it with a queen and brood, housed in a NUC. The risk of a single hive is that a problem with a hive that could usually be solved with brood from a second hive is more difficult without the backup the second hive provides. But, it is doable with some risks.

    I recommend you visit your local bee club. You may find just what you need there with the backup your hive might need. Metrobeekeepers has a beginning class each month before their meeting in burleson.
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

    Default Re: Low-Budget Swarm Control?

    drmanhadan, your questions are roughly equivalent to asking:

    "I want to buy a puppy of a large labrador, but I'm only willing/able to give it the kennel suited to a fox terrier. How do I stop my labrador puppy growing out of the fox terrier kennel?"

    You've either got to realise that the labrador is not a suitable pet for you, or you're going to have to give it what it actually needs instead of just what you want to give it.

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