Why do swarm prevention?

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mischief

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Playing devil's advocate here.....
Why do swarm prevention?
why not let bees do what they would naturally do?

Do we really need to be so constantly in control of everything?
What would be the worst outcome if they were allowed to do what They want to do?
 

Bron

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Playing devil's advocate here.....
Why do swarm prevention?
why not let bees do what they would naturally do?

Do we really need to be so constantly in control of everything?
What would be the worst outcome if they were allowed to do what They want to do?

What yesbut said + because we’re beekeepers, which the name says it really.

Bees can’t survive long untreated and unmanaged. Also they could become a public nuisance which in urban areas does a disservice to anyone who is managing their colonies. There’s enough hassles out there for people doing the right things the best they can without letting bees swarm.

Be a beekeeper, or get a nice fountain or a bird bath as garden ornament.
 

tommy dave

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Playing devil's advocate here.....
Why do swarm prevention?
why not let bees do what they would naturally do?

Do we really need to be so constantly in control of everything?
What would be the worst outcome if they were allowed to do what They want to do?
swarms die eventually from varroa. In the meantime they cause hassle for people and (rightly) give beekeepers a bad name.
If we let bees to what they would naturally do then we wouldn't treat for varroa either = dead beehives...
 

Mummzie

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Playing devil's advocate here.....
Why do swarm prevention?
why not let bees do what they would naturally do?

Do we really need to be so constantly in control of everything?
What would be the worst outcome if they were allowed to do what They want to do?
where do you think swarms would end up if an urban beekeeper ran that policy?
 
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Swarming is natural behaviour for bees and their form of reproduction so why do we interfere with it.
Apart from public nuisance and varoa that others have talked about you also have the loss of honey production both from the depopulation of your hive and competition with feral hives. Reproduction is also pretty dangerous to hives and even before varoa the survival rate of swarms was not high. Many hives that swarm also end up hopelessly queenless and die without intervention. This gets even worse when they swarm later in the spring, usually sometime in November and when these great big strong hives go they tend to follow-up the initial swarm led by the old Queen with after swarms led by virgins and in many of these hives you will end up with a handful of queenless bees. A good spring flow followed by a dearth period can lead to very difficult swarming conditions that are very hard to stop.
I can't prove it but I'm pretty sure that when bees swarm in an apiary situation they tend to gather up a lot of the other bees flying around the same time and when a good portion of an apiary swarms you can end up with not only a whole lot of weak and often queenless hives but also the hives that didn't swarm have lost most of their field bees as well.
Many years ago we used to also do a lot of mini mating nukes and often if you didn't cage the Queen's within a few days of them starting to lay they would swarm with multiple units and queens all ending up in little swarms with up to 10 queens.
Note. Queens should ideally not be caged before they have sealed brood at the very minimum. The queens from those mini nukes were not the best.
Rather than managing hives to prevent swarming I think it is better to manage hives in such a way that they think they have swarmed and thus need to build up their resources for the next swarming season
 
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when i first started it was very minimalistic beekeeping.
however one issue was hives that would end up very weak and even dead due to swarming. some would swarm so often they end up with so little bees they would fail.
then you have to catch the swarms, land owners don't like to see the hive fly away. swarms land in places where they become a problem that has to be dealt with. there is time taken up catching and dealing with them.
its almost as much work as swarm control and you loose out production wise and hive numbers.
 
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mischief

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The worst is they could establish an AFB distribution centre if they had undedected or subclinical infection when they left the hive.
Ok, so this year, I get my hives checked out for AFB as I usually do and if all goes to plan, they pass that check ....done by an experienced, ethical person. Now what?
 

mischief

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What yesbut said + because we’re beekeepers, which the name says it really.

Bees can’t survive long untreated and unmanaged. Also they could become a public nuisance which in urban areas does a disservice to anyone who is managing their colonies. There’s enough hassles out there for people doing the right things the best they can without letting bees swarm.

Be a beekeeper, or get a nice fountain or a bird bath as garden ornament.
I'm told, although I havent yet checked this out, but, those that proscribe to the biodynamic principles, allow their bees to swarm, when and if they so choose to do so. How would this not be 'beekeeping', if it is in fact working with the natural processes of the hive?


Beekeeping is just a name and to be honest, appears to me to be rather over rated. For example, I have had a dog longer than I have had bees, but I dont go around calling myself a dog keeper.
People who have a house cow, dont go around calling themselves hobbist diary farmers either.

Why cant bees survive long without being untreated and unmanaged? How come?
They have been on this planet longer than we have, how come they all of a sudden- time-wise 'need' us to care for them?

What public nuisance do they cause?
How do they create a disservice to anyone who manages their colonies properly?
Why would this cause hassles for those who ' do the right thing'?
 

mischief

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swarms die eventually from varroa. In the meantime they cause hassle for people and (rightly) give beekeepers a bad name.
If we let bees to what they would naturally do then we wouldn't treat for varroa either = dead beehives...
I find it really sad that ill health is considered 'normal'. Be it us or our little friends.
As I pointed out earlier, bees have been here on this planet for longer than we have and yet only 150 years after we start 'looking after them', they now are at risk of extinction.
'nuf said.

where do you think swarms would end up if an urban beekeeper ran that policy?
Whats more important....policy or allowing a lifeform to experience and live up to its true nature?
 

mischief

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Swarming is natural behaviour for bees and their form of reproduction so why do we interfere with it.
Apart from public nuisance and varoa that others have talked about you also have the loss of honey production both from the depopulation of your hive and competition with feral hives. Reproduction is also pretty dangerous to hives and even before varoa the survival rate of swarms was not high. Many hives that swarm also end up hopelessly queenless and die without intervention. This gets even worse when they swarm later in the spring, usually sometime in November and when these great big strong hives go they tend to follow-up the initial swarm led by the old Queen with after swarms led by virgins and in many of these hives you will end up with a handful of queenless bees. A good spring flow followed by a dearth period can lead to very difficult swarming conditions that are very hard to stop.
I can't prove it but I'm pretty sure that when bees swarm in an apiary situation they tend to gather up a lot of the other bees flying around the same time and when a good portion of an apiary swarms you can end up with not only a whole lot of weak and often queenless hives but also the hives that didn't swarm have lost most of their field bees as well.
Many years ago we used to also do a lot of mini mating nukes and often if you didn't cage the Queen's within a few days of them starting to lay they would swarm with multiple units and queens all ending up in little swarms with up to 10 queens.
Note. Queens should ideally not be caged before they have sealed brood at the very minimum. The queens from those mini nukes were not the best.
Rather than managing hives to prevent swarming I think it is better to manage hives in such a way that they think they have swarmed and thus need to build up their resources for the next swarming season
Wow.
I actually like you answer. not just a knee jerk response. thank you.

What public nuisance?

How does this cause a lose of honey production? Do you know that to be the case or also quoting previous works?/personal experiences?

..'.competition from feral hives' ??? seriously? in this country where we apparently have no feral hives left cos they all died.

' swarms end up hopelessly Queenless?' do you know this or quoting?

" This gets even worse when they swarm later in the spring, usually sometime in November and when these great big strong hives go they tend to follow-up the initial swarm led by the old Queen with after swarms led by virgins and in many of these hives you will end up with a handful of queenless bees. A good spring flow followed by a dearth period can lead to very difficult swarming conditions that are very hard to stop.'

I was lead to believe that the swarm lead by the old Queen was considered to be a 'prime swarm' and that the hives that swarmed late in summer were the most at risk of failing. Cast swarms being those following the virgin Queens and so, being smaller in numbers.

I would like to know more about the difficulties in stopping swarms and the reasons for this given the conditions you have mentioned. (It does run contrary to what I have learnt to date.)


'I can't prove it but I'm pretty sure that when bees swarm in an apiary situation they tend to gather up a lot of the other bees flying around the same time and when a good portion of an apiary swarms you can end up with not only a whole lot of weak and often queenless hives but also the hives that didn't swarm have lost most of their field bees as well.'

I dont understand how this could be, but this is also something I would like to learn more about. ..Why would it leave a whole lot of queenless hives, for example? That doesnt make sense to me.
To me, it would indicate that all was not well with the apiary to begin with.

'Many years ago we used to also do a lot of mini mating nukes and often if you didn't cage the Queen's within a few days of them starting to lay they would swarm with multiple units and queens all ending up in little swarms with up to 10 queens.'

So mini nucs with newly mated Queens will swarm....naturally.
Interesting. Perhaps that was because the bees felt their 'home' was too small...?

'Rather than managing hives to prevent swarming I think it is better to manage hives in such a way that they think they have swarmed and thus need to build up their resources for the next swarming season'

But what if I think that they have the right to swarm? How would this negatively impact on the remaining colony?
 
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mischief

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when i first started it was very minimalistic beekeeping.
however one issue was hives that would end up very weak and even dead due to swarming. some would swarm so often they end up with so little bees they would fail.
then you have to catch the swarms, land owners don't like to see the hive fly away. swarms land in places where they become a problem that has to be dealt with. there is time taken up catching and dealing with them.
its almost as much work as swarm control and you loose out production wise and hive numbers.
Thank you.
I do like to learn from others personal experiences.

When you first started, was this pre-varroa/post-varroa?
 
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I can see where you are coming from "mischief". Just a little information on Varroa. The reason most of the swarms do not survive is Varroa is new to them and the bees have not learnt how to defend themselves with these critters. I am talking about AMM on Apis Milifera. The varroa jumped species from the Asian bee to the European bee and it will take a while for the European bee to live with the varroa. This is why swarms do not survive. I have seen pure AMM hives in the bush with no sign of varroa, not many mind you.
 

Alastair

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As I pointed out earlier, bees have been here on this planet for longer than we have and yet only 150 years after we start 'looking after them', they now are at risk of extinction.
'nuf said.

You have stated your problem.

What is your solution? Have you applied it, and did it work?
 
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I can't decide whether this was posted to learn about the pros and cons of swarming or whether it's a plant by PETA to try and get more ammunition to use on evil beekeepers.
Everything I have written is based on over 50 years practical beekeeping experience.
If you really want an in-depth lesson on how to keep swarmy bees then you can't go past some of the YouTube videos on skep beekeeping in Germany where they encourage the hives to swarm multiple times every spring. They need lots of swarms because they kill the best fullest skep hives at the end of the season. It's fascinating stuff and they actually interfere with the bees a lot more than I do.
This sort of beekeeping is more suited to late summer\autumn honey crops whereas New Zealand's honey crops tend to be late spring early summer.
 


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