I will apologize in advance if this question has been asked before- I couldn’t find anything in the archives quite like it, so here goes:
Have you all observed any correlation between relative Spring swarm date and subsequent long-term overwintering success assuming one does not re-queen?
In other words, I am wondering if the earliest swarms of the season could generally be expected to come from colonies that started brooding up early (maybe too early) and thus are genetically predisposed to build-up before local forage is suitable?
As an example, the Kentucky State Beekeeper’s Association has published swarm date surveys the last two years, and in my county (McCracken) multiple swarms have been reported earlier than what might be considered the “normal” swarm season for our region:
2017- March 5th – 11th
2018- April 8th – 14th
By comparison, I caught two prime swarms the first week of May last year after setting my traps out in Mid-April.
My reason for asking is to question- is there any harm to have one’s swarm traps out by the date of the first recorded swarms (in my case the First week of March) or is there some anecdotal evidence that swarms caught at a particular point within the local swarm season are generally better adapted to the local seasonal progression?
From our forum, here are the general “first swarm” dates for Kentucky:
2007- End May
2008- No entry
2009- Mid May
2010- Late April
2011- Early April
2012- Mid April
2013- Mid May
2014- Late April
2015- Mid April
2016- Mid April
2017- Mid April
2018- Late April