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 9, 2013


over crowded hive
Over wintered colonies had been on a slow build up with many beekeepers not dividing the colonies. Now many of the same colonies that three weeks ago were just ok,  now the populations have crept up and the bees are starting to hang out the front of the hive. This coming week the temperatures will be in the 80's and swarming will kick into high gear.
 There are a few choices for swarm control:
  1.  Divide the colony, make a new colony with a new queen. This will lower the population but a beekeeper still has to look for swarm cells on a 10 day schedule.
  2. Divide the colony, leave the divide queenless for 24 hours. Add the divide on top of a package uniting them with a sheet of newspaper between the boxes. A 1/4" slit is cut into the newspaper. The bees will chew through the newspaper and as the hole gets bigger the bees will start going into each others boxes slowly getting used to each other.This will make the package much stronger and it will probably be a good honey producer.
  3. Switch the strong colony with a weak colony. Move strong hive A to the location of weak hive B. Weak hive B is moved to the location of strong hive A. When switching hives the whole hive is moved. The field bees fly out to forage and come back to where they think they live. The result is the weak hive gets stronger and the strong hive gets weaker.
Swarm control is a must on overwintered colonies. Checking for swarm cells on a no more than 10 day schedule. Entrance reducers should be removed. If a beekeeper is using a Varroa screened bottom board, the slide bottom should be removed. Any colony with a queen over one year old is much more likely to swarm than a colony with a new queen. All hives can swarm, overcrowding, hot weather, no pollen or nectar coming into a colony, poor air flow in a bee yard can contribute to swarming. Now is the time to be diligent on swarm control. The nectar flow is on the horizon probably about three weeks out. This statement sums up swarming. Swarming leads to no excess honey in a hive. Swarm controlled leads to a bumper honey crop.