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Author Topic: swarm in july  (Read 2445 times)

Offline Bee Whisper82

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swarm in july
« on: July 07, 2009, 03:42:23 AM »
I had a hive swarm yesterday :shock: I was told that swarming season was over.  I have a hive body and a shallow for brood then I have the excluder and a honey super.  I thought this was enough room but I guess I was wrong.  The question is:  is there anyone that can maybe tell me what went wrong and to tell me what I could have done to prevented this from happening.

Offline Jim 134

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Re: swarm in july
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2009, 07:08:58 AM »
Did the bees read the book  :? :?

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Offline BjornBee

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Re: swarm in july
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2009, 07:21:58 AM »
What went wrong?  Absolutely nothing. Why is it that beekeepers think something went wrong when a hive is healthy enough to swarm? Weak, sick hives do not swarm. Healthy populated ones do!

What can you do to prevent this? Absolutely nothing!  There are things you can do to lower your swarming rate, like use first year queens, expand and keep adequate room for the queen (Notice I said for the QUEEN...which is different than having a bunch of empty boxes on top), use entrances above the excluder, among other things. I've seen five frames of bees in a ten frame box swarm after a few weeks after starting from a package.

Anyone telling you they can stop swarming due to a type box, type of queen, or some management "trick" is full of themselves. So lets get through that first. Then you should move onto learning what you can do about swarms in lowering the rates of swarming.

FLOW dictates much more swarming than about anything else. Bees are programmed to perpetuate their species in times of nectar production. Insects being insects, and if you know what a bell-curve is, than you will always have the oddball swarm at odd times. But you probably still have some sort of flow happening, or these bees just got a late jump on the swarming season.

Remember swarming is the hives way of superceding the queen. Nature dictates that almost all hives requeen themselves every year. They seek out young queens and play the best odds in their favor.

We can fool some of the hives some of the time, but can not fool all the hives all the time.  :-D

Losing or having a swarm is no indication of one's beekeeping skills or knowledge.
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Offline JP

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Re: swarm in july
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2009, 09:10:36 AM »
Hives swarm for a few reasons and some of it we can control, or try to, and there are times that they just decide to do their thing.

Its virtually impossible to answer your question ( is there anyone that can maybe tell me what went wrong and to tell me what I could have done to prevented this from happening.)

As for time of year and swarm season being over, this doesn't equate, as long as queens are laying, they have resources and temps are adequate, they could swarm later than you think they should.

Reproductive swarms happen early spring and throughout spring. This is nature taking its course, bees perpetuating their species, its normal and healthy and a good thing. As they build up and gear up for reproductive swarming you could add space and or do splits, which could very well keep many hives at bay.

As the season progresses we often run into crowding issues, either there are way too many bees and not enough space or there is enough space but the broodnest has become honeybound. If we don't free up space for the queen to lay, we are asking for them to swarm. If they are congested, they will gear to swarm, adding extra space to allow for hatching brood and congestion may curtail the need for swarming.

Absconding occurs for a variety of reasons, some of them we cannot understand fully. Some of these reasons are intense heat or other weather issues, ants and other critters and sometimes they just decide they don't like the set up.

I also believe that bees will sometimes swarm from one location to another to capitalize on better resources.

All in all, there may be several reasons why your hive swarmed, but usually the answer is congestion of some type.

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Offline charles

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Re: swarm in july
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009, 09:43:16 AM »
I'm starting to think that swarming is an extremely good thing for a hive. Obviously, a swarm in which a new queen resumes in the previous location would not be terribly harmful for the beekeeper. First, you get a new queen free of charge and with very little laying lag time. Second, you get a break in the brood cycle which greatly reduces your varoa population. Third, you may possibly be able to capture your swarm and get a free hive, even if you don't fake the swarm by doing a split. And fourth, at the very least, your hive can congratulate itself on having reproduced. Think of it as a prize dog producing a fine litter of puppies. It speaks well of a beekeeper to have taken such good care of his hives that they see fit to spread their health and vitality to the environs. The environs benefit too, as now they have another hive to join in the pollination, whether or not you get to claim them as an "owner".

No, swarms are a cause for celebration, not second-guessing. You've done something very right, not very wrong.
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Offline qa33010

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Re: swarm in july
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2009, 08:39:53 PM »
    The only problem that I have been told of with late swarms is that, depending on where you are, determines if they can build stores enough to make it through winter and early spring build-up. 
Everyone said it couldn't be done. But he with a chuckle replied, "I won't be one to say it is so, until I give it a try."  So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin.  If he had a worry he hid it and he started to sing as he tackled that thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.  (unknown)

Offline kathyp

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Re: swarm in july
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2009, 08:59:13 PM »
Charles, you get the same by splitting and you don't have to worry about chasing a swarm.  swarming is a natural thing for a hive to do.  it is not a good thing for the beekeeper if it reduces the size of the hive and you get no surplus.  if you stay on top of things, you have a chance to increase your yard size and get the benefits you mentioned.  of course, you can stay on top of things and still have your hives swarm.  bees do tend to have a mind of their own  :-D

qa, feeding is the only way.  i have quit taking swarms but i am looking at one i picked up 2 weeks ago and i can see that i'll have to feed it or it won't make it through winter.  short season here.  depends on where you live as to when it's late for picking up swarms.
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