NZBF: What else could I have done?

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Josh

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so.... turns out it's not the end of swarm season.

Despite one hive having an unused honey super, and space with a QR hive.... a dozen "swarm" QC seen across the second brood box. Hive strong and QR so presumably feeling a bit cooped up with all the rain and decided to do something about it.

Used frames to boost a possibly queenless hive and make a nuc.

Then next hive had 4 supercedure cells.... maybe🤞. So took a nuc off that one too, just in case.

Busy for just 4 humble hobby hives... makes me appreciate the work commercials put in
Bother, just got the heads up that the hive swarmed despite. In hindsight I should have made more of an effort to find the queen to put her aside in nuc box. Oh well.

Assuming it’s the hive I think it is; will be checking this evening.

What I did 4 days ago;
1. Checkerboarding
2. stripping out a nuc
3. moving frames to a queen less hive

2 weeks ago (before a full week of rain)
1. with no sign of queen cells
2. a fresh super added only 2 weeks earlier,

anything else I should/could have done?

This same lineage swarmed last year, might need to invest in new genetics.

What else should I do now? I’m thjnking;

1. Remove all remaining queen cells.
2. Check the other hive that I thought was superceding (maybe all my efforts worked, and the hive I thought was ok, wasn’t)

Thanks in advance
 

yesbut

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If I think there're swarming signs I put a couple of totally waxless wired frames into the middle of the brood. Seems to knock the leaving urge...
 
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Josh

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If I think there're swarming signs I put a couple of totally waxless wired frames into the middle of the brood. Seems to knock the leaving urge...
Got a few of those, helped by the fact my first attempt at embedding foundation has had mixed results
 

Mummzie

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I think at this point if you want a honey crop, reducing the strength of the hive is not the ideal solution. (but nor is swarming)
I will be interested in what the old wise heads have to offer.

Can you offer a full description of the hive makeup ie ? frames brood /? pollen /?foundation or drawn.

What colour are your drones?
 
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Alastair

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What I did 4 days ago;
1. Checkerboarding

If you mean checkerboarding of brood, that can be counterproductive. It has been found that before swarming the level of queen substance in the hive reduces, and this may be in part or in whole the reason for production of queen cells. Checkerboarding also reduces the level of queen substance to the checkerboarded frames.

Swarm control is different depending where you are, as a rough rule the further south, the easier. Some northern beekeepers don't even bother trying they just let it happen.

Your weak hive that swarmed, some hives will just go ahead regardless. It can be prevented but the work involved may be pretty intense. Now in my old age as I'm getting tired and lazy, I have a rough and dirty method for hives that I can see will swarm pretty much regardless. I kill or remove the queen, and just leave 2 of the swarm cells. That knocks swarming on the head for probably a good 6 weeks, and up here anyway, those hives will still go on to make a good crop.
 

Josh

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If you mean checkerboarding of brood, that can be counterproductive. It has been found that before swarming the level of queen substance in the hive reduces, and this may be in part or in whole the reason for production of queen cells. Checkerboarding also reduces the level of queen substance to the checkerboarded frames.

Swarm control is different depending where you are, as a rough rule the further south, the easier. Some northern beekeepers don't even bother trying they just let it happen.

Your weak hive that swarmed, some hives will just go ahead regardless. It can be prevented but the work involved may be pretty intense. Now in my old age as I'm getting tired and lazy, I have a rough and dirty method for hives that I can see will swarm pretty much regardless. I kill or remove the queen, and just leave 2 of the swarm cells. That knocks swarming on the head for probably a good 6 weeks, and up here anyway, those hives will still go on to make a good crop.

Thanks for the explanation and tips to try next time @Alastair

That’s awesome advice, and I’d never considered the “diluting effect” of checker boarding.

It was my strong hive that swarmed, little bug’r was supposed to give some honey this year. Oh well.
 
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Josh

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So been doing some more reading about swarm control & swarm prevention.

My finding of swarm cells (about 1 doz at bottom of frames) which were capped probably explained why I couldn’t find eggs or queen. Swarm had already happened. Prevention failure despite space, food and fourtnightly checks. I honestly didn’t think the hive was at capacity.

Failure to realise I should have been in control mode, so I didn’t do enough. (Ie take off a nuc if i find the queen, remove all bar 1 queen cell, and have the hives checked in another 7 days to repeat the process)

The swarm my mate found may have in fact been a secondary swarm.

Lessons learnt.

1. Plan to school up my friend to help with hives when I can’t be there (ordered myself a new suit, he gets my last one (but small 😅))
2. Have a prophylactic swarm prevention program
3. Set up spring swarm trap(s) around the apiary.
4. Consider some better queen culture (any and all recomended suppliers appreciated)
 

Josh

Gold
953
696
Christchurch
Experience
Hobbyist
So been doing some more reading about swarm control & swarm prevention.

My finding of swarm cells (about 1 doz at bottom of frames) which were capped probably explained why I couldn’t find eggs or queen. Swarm had already happened. Prevention failure despite space, food and fourtnightly checks. I honestly didn’t think the hive was at capacity.

Failure to realise I should have been in control mode, so I didn’t do enough. (Ie take off a nuc if i find the queen, remove all bar 1 queen cell, and have the hives checked in another 7 days to repeat the process)

The swarm my mate found may have in fact been a secondary swarm.

Lessons learnt.

1. Plan to school up my friend to help with hives when I can’t be there (ordered myself a new suit, he gets my last one (but small 😅))
2. Have a prophylactic swarm prevention program
3. Set up spring swarm trap(s) around the apiary.
4. Consider some better queen culture (any and all recomended suppliers appreciated)
2.0

Better swarm prevention. Previously I would box swap (if overwintered with two, or add a box if single). But I’m going to also consider routine frame exchange (take out old laterals and add new central).

And walk away nucs or vertical splits for boomers that are caught in time (ie uncapped queen cells)
 

Josh

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Reading back through the diary, this lineage swarmed on me last year too…. Further strengthening my resolve to import some new genetics.
 


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