Hello, I realise we are still 6 weeks or so off swarm season but I was wondering what the demand for swarms is generally like. This will be my first spring and I have two hives. Should one or both hives swarm, is there plenty of demand for them ? I don’t care about money, I’ll be happy to give them away, off course to suitable beekeeper.
I think you haven’t had many responses, because many beekeepers would be scratching their heads at your question.
The first point of confusion for me arrives because most beekeepers do not want their hives to swarm. In fact, many of us go to great lengths to prevent it, by inspecting every week or two, and doing a split if we see queen cells. I also re-queen every year, as this lowers swarm risk, and I can’t afford to have an africanized queen take over my hive. If your hive swarms, you lose around 60% of the bees and most of the honey. Not good for most beekeepers.
Do you mean people wanting to take a swarm from you? In that case, I would say it depends. Some beekeepers will take a swarm away for free, but most would like to be paid. On the other hand, if you make a split, you can almost be certain that you would be paid for it.
I would suggest that you read about swarm prevention, then you can make your hobby pay for itself, rather than having to pay somebody to take unwanted bees away.
Thank you for attempting to answer my question, not sure what part is confusing. Of course I’ll attempt to prevent swarming but this is not always successful. In simple terms, are there usually plenty of people willing to take a swarm that has been collected ?
To answer your question simply - yes… free bees why not. but you neighbours might be a bit dirty if your bees land in their yard.
the amount of swarm call outs is massive each spring. it also depends on the type of bee. some like to swarm the 1st year and some like to swarm in the 2nd year.
with regular inspections you will be able to manage this quite well. if you see them breeding up and running out of room before spring arrives then good chance you need to do some management.
i have 3 hives in 1 apiary all 3 are managed different. 1 is just the brood box. no super as it started getting slimed with not enough bees. 2 hive is 1 brood and 1 super. this i will still do a management on in the coming weeks. 3rd is 2 brood boxes and 1 super. im currently raising queens from this and then will make nucs and get rid of a full brood box as part of the management.
Collected how? I am sorry that I am being so dumb about this, but when you “collect” a swarm, you have to do something with it pretty quickly. I used to collect them in a large trash can, and then have them walk up an old sheet which was draped from the ground to the higher entrance of an empty hive with frames of drawn comb in it. If you do that, they will usually stay and you can then sell them at your your leisure. If you leave them in the trash can, they will leave if they can, or die if they can’t.
So in simple terms, there are plenty of people around who will collect a swarm if you pay them. There are one or two who will pick up for free, but maybe not the same day. There are loads of people who will pickup a swarm housed on frames in a temporary nucleus box and pay for it (but not in my location).
I am suggesting that you have spare equipment to house any swarms, even if you don’t want to keep them.
Aloha Dawn, Jumped in because I have to say I have been having great difficulty with splits. Mainly because I am smack dab in my farm harvest . Also I can never get ahead of my equipment. With that said. I have this odd situation where I guess my bees are going to go to swarm to this bush. So far last year 2 swarms and this season 2 up until pre Hurricane Douglass. As I wait for my boxes to come tomorrow I had another swarm. Well I thought it was one and after 2 days of grabbing balls of bees at the base of the blue box I think I have 3 Queens. So to have stuff to catch swarms :LOL my last call as I hated to have them get smacked by the storm… So, first grab went into a 10 frame box I was just going to add to a colony on a 8 frame bottom board, using some cardboard to make up space. Then next grade I dumped into my cardboard nuc. Then the day the strom was to hit there was still more and I dumped them into what was my "redneck A/C So, today I scrambled to get more equipment here. So following the original post. I have swarms, I can collect and I thought to let them grow and sell some of these colonies. This may became a habit. The colony on left was a April swarm…