Colony growth and extra long winters

Hi there! I’m of course completely new at bee keeping. My unit is on the way. :slight_smile: I watched the latest video and loved it. The topic of swarming came up, and that bit I find worrisome. My question would be, what does one do with the extra bees? Buy another unit? lol I’m so green at this I’ve no ideas at all. But, it is my only concern really, except that the winters where I live are quite long. People have mentioned that they will do fine in the north of Canada, but nobody really mentioned the “length” of the winter. This varies quite a lot in Canada. Where I live is November to perhaps May or June before anything blooms, or even later. How does one handle that long winter?



I would not put any be used in your hive until late winter and early spring. I would not put them in right now.

You will start out with a NUC I’m assuming with just a brood box, do not put your flow frames on top until they are busting at the seams in the brood box

Bees need to swarm it’s the way the colony reproduces. The beekeeper can control this to keep all the bees and make sure of a crop. You will at some stage need to split the colony. Whether you do it to prevent s swarm or react when swarm preparations are made is up to you. There are pros and cons with both. So you will need double the kit. Two colonies are better than one. One will support the other if you get problems.
The following year your two colonies will need splitting but you do not need to go on ad infinitum. The splits can be reunited, sacrificing the older( usually) queen.

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Don’t wait until its bursting with bee’s they will swarm give them more room before then, I listened to what people said about leaving the flow frames off until the brood box was bursting and before they filled all the frames they where off I had four swarms from one hive this year. I will be on double brood next year to give them more room and maybe get some honey.

You must have Swarmiolans, err Carniolans :slight_smile:

The advice to wait until the box is mostly full is given to protect the colony. If they have too much space to defend, they can quickly be overrun with wax moths, robbers, wasps, ants etc, especially if you don’t reduce the entrance and you put a box of foundation filled frames above the existing one. That creates a lot more work for the bees as they move everything around to start using the new space.

However, if you can’t inspect your colony every 5-7 days, you are at major risk of swarms if you wait for the box to be 80% full. Also, if you don’t inspect carefully, shaking bees off each frame, you will miss queen cells, for sure. Bees love to hide them. I think it is deliberate sometimes. Actually it is more likely that they are keeping the queens inside the cell until they are ready to leave.

So, I am sorry that you lost bees to swarms, but the advice is good advice for most people.


Did you spot the first swarm?
If you did you should have reduced the queen cells to one then they would not have swarmed again

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Yes I removed any queen cells after the swarm, the queen successfully mated and was laying but every time they built up in numbers off they went again. I’ve had four new mated and laying queens this year and they all left? I visited a club members apiary on Sunday he is using double 10 frame langstroth brood boxes has 5 to 6 supers on and has 10 hives and hardly had any swarms what a site to see. I think more space for me is the way forward and hope for more luck next year, thanks for your support.

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Ahhh swarmy bees then…you need new stock

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Hi Dee,
I live in mid Wales do you think the bee’s them selves are the problem?

If they are Carniolans they would need that double brood box. That might be the problem. Prolific queens need active management