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Thread: Lots of swarms?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Boxford, Massachusetts, USA
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    221

    Default Lots of swarms?

    We have had at least 13 swarms so far this year from just two second year hives and four spring packages. Seems a bit excessive to me? There seems to be plenty of room in the hives for brood, and storage. One of the second year hives still has only recently filled out both deep brood boxes yet, but has swarmed at least twice. I don't think I am doing anything wrong, but maybe I am?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
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    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    I feel your pain. Myself and others in the Northeast have been plagued with swarms this year. Even hives headed with queens that were raised last summer have swarmed. I think it must be because the bees built up so early and suddenly this spring that we were caught off gaurd and once the bees start down the path to swarming, it nearly impossible to stop them. Some years are like this, although this has been the worst in my 32 years of keeping bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
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    798

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    I thought that I had finally made it through swarm season. I have had four swarms in last six days. With heat index around 110 I am not going in to find out what hives are casting swarms. Hopefully we will get a break in weather in a few days.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    I have even had month old nucs swarm on me. Tell me about it being a bad swarm season.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    El Sobrante, California, USA
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    3 in July....all from a single 2nd year hive[I think]. Have my eyes on the 'red' hive in my apiary; huge population, bees beginning to 'hang out' on landing board. Had a colony swarm last year in mid July; hope it doesn't happen again. That colony is doing well, 150 miles away, a year later; so a swarm in July in Northern CA is worth something...lol.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,862

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    Quote Originally Posted by adam@azapiaries View Post
    Myself and others in the Northeast have been plagued with swarms this year.
    Not this beehaver.
    32 years... The next time someone berates a newbie for having a swarm I am going to remember this post. Anybody can experience swarms, beekeepers and beehavers alike. I have been lucky.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Livingston County, NY
    Posts
    542

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    I have caught 13 swarms this year. 3 from my own yards. I couldn't say for sure but I would venture a guestemate that I have lost 20-25 swarms from my own. I have had 3 swarms that have exploded & swarmed again, one of which was so big it snapped a 1" branch that it landed on & filled 1.5 deeps.

    I am not seeing what I thought I would for honey production & posting questions about broodnest backfilling & no swarm cells (that I see).

    Is anyone else seeing this? In the NY area?
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,689

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Not this beehaver.
    Anybody can experience swarms, beekeepers and beehavers alike. I have been lucky.
    Acebird,

    Swarming is a natural occurrence of healthy, robust colonies. As you know, on average, there has been more swarming this year. Your colonies are either not very robust or you interrupted their development, beginning with your famous Friday the 13th split in April.

    Later on you posted that you divided things up again in another thread; you may recall the date of that intervention.

    Acebird, you have not "been lucky". You have been splitting/dividing up bees...
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    9,862

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    Acebird, you have not "been lucky". You have been splitting/dividing up bees...
    Oh, is that what it was?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,271

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    This was my first year to have my hives make tought winter and from may 1 to june 30 i've got 6 swarms till this year i never even seen a swarm.
    sure has been a fun year. I've found my swarms build qwickly i had a swarm i took on may2 swarmed june 30 .I went from 3 hives to 16 in 60 days.
    And all my hives had room in april but still swarmed i sure hope i learn better SPM for next year.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    I have been splitting and dividing so much I can't keep up with them.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,740

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    The op said:

    I don't think I am doing anything wrong, but maybe I am?

    Well do something different, and see if your results change. At least you appear open to change. We had one known swarm this year, because we did not do what we normally do with the outyard bees. It proved that what we normally do does make a difference.

    Crazy Roland

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    McDonough, NY United States
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    244

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    I'm in NY and just had a newly hived colony abscond. They weren't building at all for over a week and then took off. I caught them and moved the hive about 60 yards to a better location (more sun and with my other hives ). Two days later they are building out and the queen is laying. That was the second colony to abscond from that location.

    Any chance moving hives could effect swarming habits?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    9,862

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    Absconding and swarming are different.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,668

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    i'm no expert, but here's what i observed in my yard this year with swarms.

    coming out of winter, i had four established colonies, and five nucs sized 5-7 frames each.

    the nucs got one homemade patty with pollen substitute at the start of the season, the established haven't been fed at all.

    i had enough drawn comb to properly checkerboard one established colony. this one did not swarm and is it's way to yielding me about 120 lbs of honey. (even though it had to draw out two mediums of foundation, next year i'll have four mediums of drawn comb to give it).

    on the second established colony, i did a cut down split. i only took three frames, one honey and two with mixed brood. i got lucky with the timing on this one. the parent hive was successful at requeening, will yield 80-90 lbs and drew out two new mediums of foundation, giving me four mediums drawn for next year on this one too.

    those three frames of bees that were split out with old queen grew quickly. so far they have filled a deep, two mediums, and are starting to draw out a third. i'll probably harvest between 1 and 2 supers from them, and will have enough drawn comb to checkerboard them next spring.

    the other two colonies began swarm preps, and i split them. but i think it was because i added a medium of foundation between the single brood deep and the honey supers. plus, i tried opening up the brood nest with foundation. all in all, i think i disrupted the hive too much and they decided to swarm.

    four out of the five nucs swarmed during that four to five week period when everybody's bees were swarming around here. it started late march and ended early may. they all built out 1-2 mediums of foundation, but just ran out of room i think, and swarmed. it did seem like the nectar was coming in faster that they could build comb to put it in.

    i think i lost 3-4 swarms, but was able to catch 3 in traps. the earliest ones are going to yield some honey this year. all three captured swarms have built out one deep and 1-3 mediums.

    i'm now at 19 hives, but i'm going to sell the smallest one this weekend to help a new person get started in beekeeping.

    i think a colony around here would have to desperately overcrowded in the hive to issue a swarm at this time, not much forage available right now.
    Last edited by squarepeg; 07-05-2012 at 08:39 PM. Reason: sp
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    McDonough, NY United States
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    244

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    I know they are different (absconding and swarming). But either way, a group of bees is not happy with a situation and decides to leave. I was thinking if people are having hives swarm before they are full and/or overcrowded, then it is obviously a different issue at hand.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    '86,

    i'm like you, must be something about that specific spot.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    roland,

    just one huh? not too shabby. i haven't ruled out going to all one size boxes, (it would have to be all mediums for me though), and moving the capped brood above an excluder while moving the open comb back down. i think that's pretty smart, and you've got a few generations or so of proof. i'm kind of stuck with the one deep and medium supers for now though, and it has it's limitations.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,862

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    Quote Originally Posted by DamSutt1986 View Post
    I know they are different (absconding and swarming). But either way, a group of bees is not happy with a situation and decides to leave.
    Yes but they leave for different reasons. I don't think bees swarm because they are unhappy. Usually it is a happy urge for most animals.

    There could be three empty supers on top of a hive and they swarm. Because they think it is full. "They" are more concerned about the brood nest and not so much the rest of the hive. You have to make sure the brood nest is not full BEFORE they decide. After is too late.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    728

    Default Re: Lots of swarms?

    This over abundance in swarming has been long in coming and was predictable. Proof - many of us made swarm traps this past winter, myself included (12). There is an element in queen raising that was and probably will still be, neglected. It is the inherent swarming tendency of a race - carniolans more than others. It seems (OMTCW) that when beekeepers use swarm preparation bred queens or its cells that the swarming tendency is increased markedly over a short time in the developing hives led by those queens and their sisters. Admittedly, the temptation is great, beautiful ripe swarm queen cells just there free for the taking, to be used to requeen other weak hives. Most of us do it. Actually, such queens (OMTCW) create a greater swarming tendency among the hives. When I hive a swarm, I try to requeen it after observing it for a while. Blasphemy!!!! No, just a little wisdom gathered over 50 years of beekeeping. I do not requeen if I feel that they are "survivors". Take it for what it's worth. OMTCW

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