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New Bee

Joined: 27 Jul 2014
Posts: 8
Location: sussex

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:34 pm    Post subject: swarms Reply with quote

hi collected our 4th swarm in as many weeks should one go through the original hive to make sure there are no more queen cells? I had hoped not to be interfering with them too much but the neigbours are getting panicky. Presumably the new hives will not swarm this year? or is that wishfull thinking and is the old queen still in the original hive do you think?
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Joan

The original queen leaves the hive with the first (prime) swarm.
I would suggest that it is unwise to tamper with any further queen cells in the hive now as you may leave the hive queenless.

If we have an exceptionally good summer, then it is possible for the prime swarm to swarm itself in 6-8 weeks but it is very unusual for this to happen. The after swarms or casts are even less likely to do so. In the future, your best bet is to split the hive before it swarms or a few days after the prime swarm emerges, remove all but two of the queen cells in the hive. It's useful to make up nucs with the combs they are on so that if the 2 queen cells you leave both fail for some reason, you have a spare queen to fall back on.

Unfortunately, if you have near neighbours who are edgy about swarming, you are probably going to need to rethink your minimal management strategy or relocate them to an out apiary. Unless of course you can educate them to see the wonder of a swarm rather than fearing it.

If you have already caught 4 swarms from the one hive it is unlikely that there will be any more.... maybe one last tiny one as a worst case scenario but almost certainly not.

Many congratulations on catching all those swarms though!
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

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See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.