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Maybe a stupid question but how do most of the big commercial beeks prevent natural swarming in the spring? Seems to me like a awful lot of hives to worry about.
 

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Some split like crazy after almonds to replace hives they've lost or sold. Others shake packages, this reduces the hive population and thus the swarm instinct.
 

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When I picked packages up a couple years ago, they allowed me to head out to the bee yards with them (at 0 dark 30). This particular commercial operation doesn't bother managing swarms. They carry a shotgun and when they see a swarm hanging in a tree, they shoot it out. The last thing they want is the swarm attracting the entire bee yard.
 

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They shoot the swarms? Are you pulling our collective legs? What happens when that happens - I'm trying to picture that.

Does it just blow apart the swarm so much that the accompanying bees get discouraged and drift back to their hive? Doesn't the swarm just reassemble on their queen (assuming she herself, isn't shot dead). I've heard of people shooting the swarm out of tree (severing the branch, so it falls and can be collected on the ground.) Maybe that's what you meant?

You win the night with the most astounding comment on the forum today!

Nancy
 

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The last thing they want is the swarm attracting the entire bee yard.
I was scratching my head after reading your post. Not exactly sure what this means either.

At least the shotgun wielding package producer doesn't need to worry about theft. This is probably just as effective as posting a sign, All Trespassers Will Be Shot.
 

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nancy
They shoot the swarms? Are you pulling our collective legs? What happens when that happens - I'm trying to picture that.

Does it just blow apart the swarm so much that the accompanying bees get discouraged and drift back to their hive? Doesn't the swarm just reassemble on their queen (assuming she herself, isn't shot dead). I've heard of people shooting the swarm out of tree (severing the branch, so it falls and can be collected on the ground.) Maybe that's what you meant?

You win the night with the most astounding comment on the forum today!
This got me to thinking on a purely hypothetical line.

So. I read from either langstroth or miller that if you see a swarm issuing, throw water on it and it will make them land. Makes me wonder if shotgun pellets might do the same thing. I don't know but it just got me thinking of possibilities. How would a bee see it?
Cheers
gww
 

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No, I'm not pulling your leg. When they're shaking thousands of bee's into 3 lb. packages and a queen ends up in a tree, 1 minute she'll have a couple pounds of bee's on her, the next she'll have several pounds. They take action as quickly as possible and they don't have time to mess with swarms by knocking them to the ground. They literally shoot the swarm to disperse it. I'm sure the queen gets dispatched on occasion. I took several pictures and videos on my visit to their bee yards and queen rearing yards. One of these shows a swarm collecting in a pine tree before it was dispersed.
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