Sorry for the rant, no excuse, just frustrated. Budweiser.
Swarms got the best of me last season and I really thought I had it under control this year. I did splits early, added boxes early, was more diligent in inspecting but, between weird spring weather and work, they got away from me again. I came out of winter with 12 hives from 16 (doubled from 8 the previous year due to swarms). One loss can be attributed to an apparent mite issue (absconded), one to starvation, one to "no queen" and one to small hive beetles. I'm pretty sure, at this point, that nearly every hive that came out of winter this spring has swarmed. Some two or three times. So now I have 23-24 hives, nucs, splits etc.....on my .25 acre lot in the middle of a small subdivision. I'd say 6-8 swarms have left the property to populate the surrounding area and my neighbor down the street had probably caught 2-3 of our swarms. (beekeeper also) I'm pretty sure we'll soon be the test case for a some sort of beekeeping ordinance if we don't take action soon. 50's, rainy and cool today. Supposed to be 80 tomorrow. Swarmageddon and I'm working till 3. A couple of my "surviving" hives now seem to be queenless due to swarming. Luckily I have plenty of resources to keep them going. Also ordered a few new queens.
I've probably removed 60-80 capped swarm cells from various hives. I've been able to use a few and lend a few to the neighbor but, most get damaged and go to the chickens or, regretfully, tossed. I carefully took four out from one hive last week. Not sure why. I'm about out of equipment and patience. Within 15 minutes 3 queens emerged from those cells.
So, I guess, as an explanation for my post, was that I was expressing a possible revelation that catching all these swarms and adding them to my apiary is only adding to my swarming issue.
The comment on mite control. I've been working with formic pro and apivar the last few falls for mite treatments and the weather never seems to cooperate. I think I'll try something different this year.
The comment on swarm traps and "swarm commander" speaks for itself I guess. I have three traps set up in my yard with swarm commander and have not once had a swarm take residence.
And the last comment was that it seems that swarmy hives that go queenless for extended periods of time don't have huge mite issues. You just don't' get a whole lot of honey.
And now a short swarm story. I had a swarm go up into one of our cherry trees on Sunday. Around noon. I was sunny and warmish....(low 60's)....and then it got very windy, cloudy and eventually some rain. The wind was blowing so hard it was continuously dislodged bees from the swarm. Got down to 40 both Sunday night and Monday night. Monday was gloomy, rainy and cold. On Tuesday the swarm decided to move but, it didn't get far. It ended up in the road right in front of our house. A huge carpet of bees on the road with hundreds circling in the air. When I got close to it you could clearly see that the bees had formed a circle on the pavement and were moving in a counter clockwise direction around the center of the circle. After a few minutes of looking/moving bees I was able to find the queen nearly in that center of this circle. She was moving but not flying and I couldn't tell if her movements were due to the workers or of her own accord. I went and got one of my ineffective "swarm traps" and set it up right on the outer perimeter of this moving circle of bees and they almost immediately started going to the boxes. About five minutes later a large number of bees had gone into the box. I eventually re- located the queen about a foot from the entrance. I was able to scoop her up and place her in the box and within 15 minutes all the bees were in the hive. I found it very odd that, without any real encouragement they all went so willingly into the empty hive. Desperation maybe?
So, I wonder about the health of the queen. She seemed to be fine. Was walking fine. Didn't/couldn't do a real bee "physical..." But, she wasn't flying. Another worry.
So, something new and interesting nearly every day.
No more rants. If anybody has any ideas or experiences with controlling swarmy hives, what to do with multiple capped swarm cells without a lot of equipment and thoughts on apistan for mite treatment please let me know.