This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Caught a swarm last night

Swarming is happening right now. The warm weather is making colonies explode with bees. Colonies that two weeks ago looked a little weak, have increased their populations and have added to over crowding in the hive. This over crowding is made worse with the warm temperatures and has put swarming into high gear on overwintered colonies.
 Beekeepers should be looking for swarm cells. What do swarm cells look like? Click Here. Uncapped swarm cells should be removed. If capped swarm cells are found, the bees could have already swarmed, so capped cells should not be removed. That can be the hive's replacement queen.
 If you can get a new queen to purchase, the hive recovers much quickly by removing the swarm cells and installing a new queen. But, you need to make sure you are queenless first. No eggs in the hive can be an indicator plus much less activity at the entrance. This decrease activity usually means you have much less field bees in the hive. It is the field bees that leave in a swarm.
 If you find swarm cells in a hive, it also works well to move the frame with the a cell and adhering bees on the frame, into a five frame nuc box. The swarm cell will hatch and fly out to mate. You may have a new queen that you can use if needed, in about three weeks.
 My wife got a call last night of a swarm at a farm about a mile from us. She took a nuc box down and set it next to the swarm. The swarm was on a short pine tree about four feet tall. So it was right next to the nuc entrance. I got home an hour later and we both went down to see if the bees had moved in.
 The bees had not moved in and needed some encouragement. I put the open nuc box under the swarm, removed a couple frames. Bent the tree slightly and gave the tree a shake. About 80% of the swarm fell into the nuc box. I then put the frames and cover back in the hive. There were many bees on the ground. I put the nuc right next to the mass of bees on the ground. The bees on the ground just started to march right into the nuc. I will pick them up this morning by 6:30 am.
Easy swarm to catch

We started with a two high nuc, because bees usually will not move into a single nuc box on their own. The cavity size is too small. But they will move into two nuc boxes. In this case, I removed the second box and shook the bees into the single nuc. This worked great. I will move the hive to a new location and put a feeder pail on the hive. Hopefully they will stay. This nuc box worked great. I have a permanent entrance cleat closing the main entrance and the box is attached to the bottom board with hive staples.. I added a steel disc for the entrance. I drilled a 1-7/8" hole for the entrance. When I go get the nuc, I close the wheel to the ventilation setting and easily move the bees.