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Author Topic: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?  (Read 277 times)

Offline FlexMedia.tv

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How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« on: July 14, 2017, 09:46:54 AM »
Thanks to everyone on this forum, I caught my first swarm!



This is my second year of keeping and I'm proud of all my mistakes because I have learned from each one. I kinda went about it the wrong way the first year. I just raised the bees and let them do what they wanted to do. If they swarmed they swarmed, at least I was helping nature by helping make more bees.  I got 2.5 cups of honey from two hives but that was ok. Honey wasn't the goal. Well I just learned that the best way to help nature is to help bees make it through the winter and control swarming.

So, with my new hive (I built myself and it looks like a beat up abandoned home I don't blame any bee for leaving!...) I am looking for suggestions to keep these bees from leaving. I have several books and have done several searches but it's nice to have suggestions all in one place in one thread.

I have heard that a swarm that swarms tends to swarm again. Is that true? Bees need room or they feel like they should swarm. Sometimes a queen excluder will make them swarm. (have them, never used them) It's ok to destroy queen cells to keep them from swarming? (I have seen several but just let them be)

Also, just curious, is it the queen that decides it's time to swarm or does she listen to her advisers from the field? I've always wanted to know that! Thanks for all the suggestions. I try them all with this new hobby that's supposed to be less stressful than the day job. Ducking bullets, ducking bees..same thing! *Wink!*

Thanks,
Art
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

http://beekeeper.flexmedia.tv/

Eat honey, my child, for it is good. -Proverbs 24:13

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 08:19:09 PM »
Art,
Swarming is the only way for bees to reproduce. It is a natural part of bees. To expect bees to not swarm is not normal.

" It's ok to destroy queen cells to keep them from swarming? (I have seen several but just let them be)"
This is a good way to make your hive queen less. If the cells are capped, there is a real good chance your queen has left and if the queens are about to hatch, there probably are no viable larvae available to make a queen. Not good.

"Also, just curious, is it the queen that decides it's time to swarm or does she listen to her advisers from the field? I've always wanted to know that!"
The only decision the queen makes is whether to fertilize an egg (female) or not fertilize an egg (drone), and when to stop laying due to conditions.
The bees decide when to move up, where to place brood/honey, when to swarm and which site to move to.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Acebird

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 10:26:58 PM »
The normal swarming impulse is in the spring so if you lose one in the spring it is normal.  You are trying to fight mother nature at that point.  In the summer the bees should be in a make it through winter mode if the beekeeper has give the hive enough space for honey storage.  Of course there are exceptions.  Some of the darn fools will swarm in fall and that is just suicide.
Brian Cardinal
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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2017, 11:45:07 PM »
Art,
Swarming is the only way for bees to reproduce. It is a natural part of bees. To expect bees to not swarm is not normal.

But I feel so betrayed when they do! I won't take it personal anymore. *grin!* Does lack of space have anything to do with it? I always wonder why we don't start off with a couple empty supers on our hives as opposed  to waiting for the bottom to fill up before we add another.
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

http://beekeeper.flexmedia.tv/

Eat honey, my child, for it is good. -Proverbs 24:13

Offline FlexMedia.tv

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 11:49:27 PM »
The normal swarming impulse is in the spring so if you lose one in the spring it is normal.

Acebird,
All my hives swarm but I usually have a bunch left after they do. I did have 2 last year that swarmed and left the hives practically bare. I didn't like that!
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

http://beekeeper.flexmedia.tv/

Eat honey, my child, for it is good. -Proverbs 24:13

Online cao

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2017, 11:55:14 PM »
Does lack of space have anything to do with it? I always wonder why we don't start off with a couple empty supers on our hives as opposed  to waiting for the bottom to fill up before we add another.
It is more the lack of space in the brood nest than overall space in the hive.  The trick is to give enough space without giving to much.  The reason for not starting off with extra boxes is that if the bees cannot defend the space the SHB's and wax moths will take over.

Offline eltalia

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2017, 05:05:59 AM »

Does lack of space have anything to do with it? I always wonder why we don't start off with a couple empty supers on our hives as opposed  to waiting for the bottom to fill up before we add another.

... HUMANS thinking.
More is better type of line. Bees do not follow this whilst maybe (to us)
demonstrating different.

It is more the lack of space in the brood nest than overall space in the hive.  The trick is to give enough space without giving to much.  The reason for not starting off with extra boxes is that if the bees cannot defend the space the SHB's and wax moths will take over.

:thumbs_up:

Bill

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2017, 08:39:08 AM »
The normal swarming impulse is in the spring so if you lose one in the spring it is normal.  You are trying to fight mother nature at that point.  In the summer the bees should be in a make it through winter mode if the beekeeper has give the hive enough space for honey storage.  Of course there are exceptions.  Some of the darn fools will swarm in fall and that is just suicide.
Not necessarily her in Fl. If we do not get a cold snap, the Spanish needle and a few others keep blooming.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2017, 07:26:47 PM »
Shucks! finally did something right! I wait until a brood box fills up and I add a super. On two of my hives I have two brood boxes. I just added another super to each. This year I added a queen excluder for the first time. They both swarmed last year and this year anyway. Both are package bees.
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

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Offline FlexMedia.tv

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2017, 07:34:33 PM »
You know? That baseball bat size of bees left over from the swarm I caught? They are still there and its been a week. Is that normal? The hive I placed them in, 25 feet away is doing well.
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

http://beekeeper.flexmedia.tv/

Eat honey, my child, for it is good. -Proverbs 24:13

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2017, 08:50:44 AM »
You know? That baseball bat size of bees left over from the swarm I caught? They are still there and its been a week. Is that normal? The hive I placed them in, 25 feet away is doing well.
Yes. Sometimes they stay if they like the size of the hive.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2017, 11:23:30 AM »
Jim,
I'm sorry, the bees that stayed on the tree after I moved the swarm trap are still there. I thought by now they would have followed the queen to my hive or joined another hive by now. They are just hanging out where the storm trap used to be in a ball, about the size of a baseball. It's been over a week. I know I shouldn't be concerned but I would like to know why they are still there! Like, what if the queen is in that ball and I have I hive full of workers? I know, I know. Newbie paranoia right?
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

http://beekeeper.flexmedia.tv/

Eat honey, my child, for it is good. -Proverbs 24:13

Offline Acebird

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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2017, 05:54:30 PM »
It either has a queen or brood anchoring them there.
Brian Cardinal
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Re: How do you keep a wild swarm from swarming?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2017, 12:08:38 AM »
It either has a queen or brood anchoring them there.

I'll check them Wendsday and if they are still there, I'll be more nosey!
See my blog and watch me bumble through starting hives:

http://beekeeper.flexmedia.tv/

Eat honey, my child, for it is good. -Proverbs 24:13

 

anything