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.
beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf