Basic Management -
1. Young queens usually do not swarm during the first year.
2. Good ventilation is essential. Thus, remove the entrance reducer for the strongest hives in April and gradually open the weaker hives as they get stronger. Note: A ¼ inch stick on back top of inner cover works well.
3. Add supers in the middle of April to reduce any crowding condition in the hive by using “drawn” comb, if possible.
4. Remove any “field force” bees by exchanging some stronger frames from one hive with a weaker hive. This should be done between the third week of April through May. Caution: Honey flow must be present so the bees will accept new hive.
5. Remove all brood frames and leave the queen with one frame of capped brood, honey, an empty “drawn comb,” and some “field force” bees then, make a split or division using a “double-
6. At the first week of April, place the brood and bees in the top hive body or super reverse hive bodies and ensure the bees are in the bottom hive body.
a. Reverse these hive bodies during the third or fourth week of April.
b. The temperature needs to be in 70’s, sunny, and with no wind to work bees in April.
How to Hopefully Prevent Honeybees from Swarming
Swarming occurs when the “resident queen” and more than half of the established healthy bees are ready to relocate to a new hive. At this point, the natural tendency of a crowded hive is to expand and divide the colony by swarming (leaving the hive). During this process, no surplus honey is produced and in fact, the bees that are ready to swarm will gorge themselves on honey that is need for the trip ahead. You job as “hive managers” is to hopefully prevent this swarming action and instead, “split” the anxious hive and keep your bees in the apiary.
NOTE: It is vital that beekeepers monitor their hives to hopefully prevent this natural action of swarming from occurring, or be ready to capture and hive the swarm from a tree etc. safely. Always have extra hive and equipment ready for this event.
1. Before opening the hive-
a. Tuck your trousers inside your boots or band them closely around the ankles.
b. Leave the inner cover on and lift the top hive body or super body.
2. Check for any queen cells-
3. Find the queen and place that frame in an empty brood box with a cover, so she will not be lost.
4. Remove one capped brood frame from the hive and place it in the new box.
5. Place the queen on a frame in the brood box of the current hive, so the “field force” bees will return to the hive.
a. The hive should now contain the following: one frame of capped brood, the queen, one foundation frame of honey, pollen, and an empty drawn comb or foundation for expansion.
b. Add a super or hive body, then a “double-
c. Place some green grass in “double-
6. Splitting the hive-
7. A producing queen-
8. Combining the hives-
a. Now, you can move new hive as a split and use the “newspaper” method to unite the hives.
9. Observing hive action-
10. As a precaution-
a. Thus, swap hives during the middle of the day when a strong honey flow is present, so the bees will not fight, this process strengthens a weak hive.
b. Equalizing the hive strength and the number of bees per hive helps to prevent (not eliminate) their tendency to swarm.
If you have any questions about preventing swarms, you can contact Tyree at email@example.com, or visit with him at one of our monthly meetings.
Honeybees will attempt to swarm at some point in the lifecycle from any active and thriving apiary, count on this process of survival happening. It is an inherent part of the honeybee’s nature, to multiply and preserve the colony and this act of survival comes in the form of swarming. There are several reasons why they leave a healthy hive, but in the end, it is time for the queen to relocate. In our human terms we call it “leaving the nest” and in bee terminology this equates to the same thing. The honeybee will determine when it is time to “leave their hive” and move on to a new location. However, there are ways to prevent swarming if the beekeeper is diligent in their hive inspections.
The following notes were taken on April 4, 2017, during the monthly Haywood County Beekeepers Chapter Meeting. Tyree Kaiser, with forty-
It became evident to this beekeeper that others could learn from Mr. Kaiser's demonstration, as he discussed the art of maintaining a healthy and vibrant beehive. His primary focus involved "splitting" over-
Finally, Mr. Kiser gave out some great advice about beekeeping to the members and visitors gathered that night, “Every time you attend a meeting or seminar, always try to learn one new thing.” His words helped me to focus on this very act and in fact, I learn many new things about beekeeping during every meeting or seminar I attend. Try it! You will find that learning about bees is a never-
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