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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Sunday, June 7, 2020

Swarming and the weather

Huge swarm, close to the ground. Easy to catch

Swarm cells can be anywhere. Always look down on the top bars for swarm cells.

Capped and uncapped swarm cells
Swarming has really kicked into high gear. The warm weather, high bee populations and tomorrow will be in the 90's. All of these can lead to the production of swarm cells.
 The only way to beat swarming is by checking your bees weekly for swarm cells. If you aren't checking for swarm cells in all the boxes every seven days and the timing gets longer than that, a swarm can happen. All the boxes need to be checked. Any uncapped swarm cells should be removed. If you come across capped swarm cells you may have been too late and the hive has already swarmed. Don't remove capped swarm cells. That may be your new queen.
 The result of a hive that has swarmed is no eggs or young larvae. As older house bees come of age for foraging, it is very common that the brood box will be packed with nectar. A swarm hive queen won't start laying eggs for about three weeks. In that time the bees may fill the open cells. Now the beekeeper may have a dilemma of a honey bound hive. The only way to fix this is to spread nectar bound frames to other colonies or to extract the nectar to give the queen a whole deep brood box for laying eggs into.
 Everyone should be removing their entrance reducers by now. The bees need ventilation with the increased hive populations.
  Supers should be on all overwintered colonies.
 Package colonies, once the bees have finished drawing out their brood boxes, the beekeeper should do a full reversal. Top box to the bottom, bottom box to top. The reason for this last reversal is to bring frames with pollen to the top. The bees will fill these pollen frames and empty brood cells with honey for their winter stores. Next February when the queen starts laying, as the bees consume honey in the top box, the bees will expose pollen. This pollen will be used for feeding larvae. If the bees don't have this pollen, production of brood may be delayed.
 If the new hive finishes their top box more towards the end of June it may be too late to do the reversal. If the top box is very heavy with honey, do not do a reversal. It is too late, the bees have filled the box with honey and that is the bees winter honey. To supplement pollen on these colonies, pollen patties should be put on these colonies around the third week of February. Normally pollen patties are put on colonies around the first of March.
 The nectar flow is right around the corner, keep the bees from swarming and there should be some honey in the supers.

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