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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL
    Posts
    88

    Default Swarm or not to Swarm

    Was curious to know opinions on when a hive will swarm or not swarm. If the hive is not over crowded but getting close and you add a super with a QE before swarm cells appear, will the hive still potentially swarm? Trying to decide if I need to do a split or just let things bee.
    Mike Harrell

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    826

    Default Re: Swarm or not to Swarm

    You can add more space, and they can swarm...or not. You can split, and they can swarm...or not. Ideally you do everything before swarm cells appear, unless you are wanting to do splits. Bottom line...we TRY to out-think the bees, but really, they have an agenda of their own! Try to stay ahead of them...but truly, no guarantees. From a local perspective, I would be trying not to split this time of year (Rainy season...dearth...)November/December splits have worked well for me. The bees can force you into it, though! IMO only....add another super unless you see things different...

    What is your present set-up? In FL, it is way different. The most common set up is one deep (or two medium) for brood, then QE, and up to 3 supers. I pull honey several times a year to keep the supers at one or two...not comfortable with 3 yet (dang hive beetles and ants can undo a hundred pounds of honey in a couple days if you don't see a hive getting weak...)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,205

    Default Re: Swarm or not to Swarm

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    852

    Default Re: Swarm or not to Swarm

    Swarm impulse is a negative feedback of the Queen Mandibular Pheromone. If QMP distributes through the hive in sufficient concentration, swarm cells are suppressed. If not, then bees respond by generating swarm cells.

    Within that simple negative control, things get immediately complicated, as QMP can be diluted by a host of interacting factors. Crowding (less molecules of QMP to each individual), nest isolation ( an extended chimney with multiple entrances means some bees are isolated from contact with the queen and her attendants), and, of course, lack of vigor in the queen.

    Worker bees generate Juvenile Hormone (despite the name the level increase with age, and is associated with the conversion from house to forager). QMP and JH interact - the queen recieves a titer of JH from her attendants, and this informs her of the age structure of the hive. JH levels vary by the hours (lowest in mid-day). Low JH levels (driven by stress and crowding) suppress the house bee to forager conversion. This cohort of nest bees form the swarm core.
    This and a couple of similar papers have details:
    http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.160...urnalCode=ecen

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Swarm or not to Swarm

    BIM - I have 2 Deeps and added a QE and 1 medium super 3 weeks ago. They are actively building comb, but no honey yet. My main goal is to try and stay ahead as best I can. So far the queen is actively laying in both deeps. Thanks for the input.
    Mike Harrell

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Swarm or not to Swarm

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Got your book, read the information on your website. Still trying to really understand it all.
    Mike Harrell

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,205

    Default Re: Swarm or not to Swarm

    Entire books have been written just on the topic of swarm control. I find Walt Wright's writing on the topic very enlightening. You can find those articles here or you can buy them (last I asked) on print or on CD. There is a lot of difference in controlling swarming during prime swarm season and during and after the flow. Certainly letting them run out of room can contribute, but even if you don't let them run out of room they may swarm. If the QMP theory was true then I wouldn't have hives with three year old queens very often, and I do have them often. I see Snelgrove's book is on Amazon for $2,204.64...

    http://smile.amazon.com/Swarming-Con...arm+beekeeping

    Looks like ABEbooks has it for more like $12...

    http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Sear...and+Prevention

    That is one of the books dedicated to the topic and it is 110 pages long.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bozeman Montana
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Swarm or not to Swarm

    Just curious, if the qmp is what makes the hive react , have people experimented with adding the qmp ? Sorry Iam new and have a queen in alcohol ?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,205

    Default Re: Swarm or not to Swarm

    >Just curious, if the qmp is what makes the hive react

    QMP is necessary for a healthy productive hive. I'm not sure what you mean by "makes the hive react". If you mean a lack of it causes swarming, obviously it does not. It will set off queen rearing but queenless hives don't swarm. If you mean that an artificial excess would keep them from swarming, it would also keep them from replacing a failing queen.

    > have people experimented with adding the qmp ?

    I'm sure some experimentation has been done.

    >Sorry Iam new and have a queen in alcohol ?

    Which makes good swarm lure, especially when combined with lemongrass essential oil. I don't see any advantage to putting it in a queenright hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bozeman Montana
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Swarm or not to Swarm

    Thanks

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mount Airy, Frederick county, MD, USA
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: Swarm or not to Swarm

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Totally, utterly, completely OT, but it made me smile to see this link to Amazon and its support of Smile Train. One of my sons has a congenital cleft lip and palate, and even in this country of modern medicine, his care was complicated, and we face more surgeries. It makes me happy to see support for people with clefts who don't have access to medical care for this condition except via Smile Train.

    Anyhow...time to order that book and read over the winter...
    Newbee with three hives and two nucs, zone 6b

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