Beautiful Swarm For The Beehaus
I had my first swarm of the year.
It was 16C, so I went down to the allotment to do a quick 12 noon scan for a swarm. 80m away I spotted that a fence post in the farmers field was a darker colour than the other posts and wider at the top. As I approached it was clearly a swarm. It was very contained, just a few bees flying around. And very calm, the bees did not bother with me at all. It was a classic, beautiful swarm.
Catching The Swarm
I quickly got my nuc box, brushed half of the bees in, moved the box 10m to behind the gates (safe from the cows), grabbed a few handfuls of the remaining bees from the post and placed them on walkway up to the nuc entrance. 10 minutes later all the bees had left the post and made their way to the nuc.
I later transferred the swarm to full hive body and fed a thin syrup.
Ready For The Beehaus
I have mentioned before that the team at Omlet are providing me with a Beehaus (thanks again). The Beehaus is wide, has 2 entrances and allows for 2 separate colonies.
With 2 colonies facing in opposite directions I am ready for the Beehaus. The plan is to put both colonies in the Beehaus, whilst keeping them separate. Exterminate the old queen and then combine the hives with the new Queen (the hive on the left is the one that swarmed and will have a 2017 queen). I am hoping this large colony become a honey factory with possibly 20+ frames of brood by end May that will become foragers during the main nectar flow in July! I am ever hopeful!
I wrote a review of the Beehaus some years ago, or you can go direct to the Beehaus website. It’s a super duper hive. With an aching back the day after my swarm exertions, I am looking forward to using this ergonomic hive. It will also make swarm management easier.
My Swarm Management Approach This Year
I hadn’t managed to find a convenient time (due to cold weather when I was free) to practice any swarm management on this colony that swarmed. I was also hoping that the cold weather would delay any swarming till a bit later in May. With my allotment hives, I have given them additional supers below the brood box and am planning to split the 2 strong ones ASAP. The colony which I had to emergency feed is struggling somewhat and no where near swarming.
Videos Of The Swarm
I also took a series of 4 video clips:
Part 1/4 – Found Bee Swarm On Fence Post
Part 2/4 – Some Bees In Box Others Remain On Fence Post
Part 3/4 – All The Bees Find The Nuc Box
Part 4/4 – Close Up Of Bees Going Into The Nuc Box
Fantastic swarm. And early enough in the season for both swarm and parent colony to hopefully produce you a surplus crop of honey. You may be interested to go to The Suffolk Wildlife Trust Facebook page where I have posted a swarm I recently retrieved.
Dear Roger. I have been following you since you first started. I live in Majorca and originally purchased a beehaus secondhand via the talking with bees.com site. I found it fairly difficult to get a colony started in the beehaus mainly because the frames are a different size to the normal Langstroth frames that everybody uses here in Majorca. In the end because of these in compatibility issues, I gave away the beehouse and have now started using standard Langstroth hives. During all this upheaval I unfortunately lost the Queen and last autumn meant that I was bee less. However last month I travelled to the Spanish mainland and picked up a nucleus of bees and now have a colony firmly established in the new Langstroth. I hope that you have better luck with the Beehaus and I will be interested to hear how you get on with handling the different frame size problem. Good luck and happy swarming. Best regards Pete.
Glad you are having some success now.
The Beehaus takes 14×12 frames that are pretty standard in the UK and all my hives are 14×12. I won’t have any frame size issues. Quite a few people on my blog already have Beehaus’s and are in search of more, second hand. I think it will be a good experience with the Beehaus.
Ahhh. Ok. Brilliant. Sounds like I should have done more research before carrying my beehaus home to Mallorca via Easyjet. ?
Perhaps i don’t write good English but i have a question. I think the swarm carries the old queen and the new one stays in the oldest beehive? May be i don’t understand it well can you explain?
Greetings Ria (The Netherlands)
I think I can explain, but Roger may correct me!! He is eventually going to to join his swarm into the colony that the swarm swarmed from. The colony that swarmed will have made a new queen. He will kill the old queen from the swarm and then join the 2 together. Hope I’ve got it right. Pete.
Correct. Thanks for replying.
I wonder if the bee cosies warmed them up early and led to increased bees hence swarming so early in the season – I’ve head they may start to lay earlier with a cosy on. Still, you’ve caught them well and a low lying post (just like the textbooks!) to boot, rather than something out of reach! Any ideas which hive they swarmed from roger and have you spotted the (marked) queen yet?
Hive on the left mate. It’s in the text. ?
It’s all getting a bit confusing in My Apiary.
The swarm – I think this might have been headed by a queen that stopped laying – hope to find out tomorrow. Have put frames of eggs in both hives from other hives.
In the allotment hives – the bees seem to have got confused and during my manipulations I think bees from 2 hives have entered what was my weaker colony but now looks bursting!