I have noticed that one company who supplies the poly boxes have some accessories, one being a Queen Trap System to prevent swarming. In years gone by people used to clip one wing of a queen to prevent swarming, I don’t know if people still do that. Any thoughts on the Queen Trap System?
Many people don’t clip Queens wings as sometimes the hive (workers) may supersede her, as she (Queen) is defective. Personally I think it is cruel.
Some clipped Queens can fly but not very far
Hi Valli, in the edition of the abc to xyz of bee culture that I have (it was published in 1978), they talk about it, I’ve never agreed with the idea. I wonder what other people think.
Clipping the queen does not prevent swarming. What it does do is prevent you losing the bees that go with the swarm as they return to the hive when they realise their queen is not with them.
Hi Danger, that’s true, my main objection with either system is that they wont prevent the bees from preparing to swarm. My other objection to the Queen Trap System is that it also traps the drones. What I’m currently doing now is trying to prevent my bee from preparing to swarm. Wish me luck.
I’m actually the Victorian Reseller (Australia) of said system…
They are not meant to be a permanent solution, they’re best used in the first few weeks of spring on all hives in your apiary until you have your new queens to replace or you’re ready to split the colony. Then the queen trap system is removed so your drones can freely move, and the workers can clean the bottom board.
It is used to keep the colony from swarming for the first few weeks of the season
Some more information in this video: https://youtu.be/zpABWvjhY20
The Bunyip Beekeeper
I have the Bee Box Nuc. I didn’t know you could get all that stuff for the hives - I have a different Ploly hive and the top feeder is on both ends only the size of the 2 side outlets on yours If I have a plastic queen excluder can I just but the queen trap part??
Looks like I can - £15 from Modern where I got the Nuc from! Nice one
Oh for heaven’ s sake. Here we go again. During the swarming season the beekeeper has to be at home ( not on holiday in Spain, or antipodean equivalent) Swarming is easy to manage if you understand what your bees are doing. It involves some box manipulation but is not exactly rocket science. No need for lazy practice and gizmos.
@dangerous I work as a live in carer often a month at a time, My last month turned into 10 weeks as my co worker broke her wrist. I can only come home an hour or so every other day when I have a break - I don’t decide when my co-worker goes on holiday
Anything that traps queens traps drones. A “queen trap” will rapidly become clogged with drones until no bee can get out. I tried them years ago.
Thanks William, that kind of clears that up. However, I’m guessing it wont stop the bees from “preparing to swarm” while the queen trap is in operation. My strategy is to try & prevent my bees from preparing to swarm & make lots of more bees & new queens in the process.
Well lots of time to inspect each hive once a week then.
So you reckon I’ll be OK? Thanks Dangerous
Yes. You can do a hive inspection easily in ten minutes. Just don’t try to look for everything at once. In the swarming season you need to look for swarm cells and eggs. Don’t bother with anything else. You don’t need sight of the queen on every visit. In the spring and autumn you don’t need to pull every frame. Check outside frames for stores and take a middle one out to find eggs. A favourite trick of commercial producers is to run a two brood box system with a shallow on top. Swarm cells are usually produced on the bottom bars of the top box so they get away with just tilting the top box up. 30 seconds a hive. You’ll be ok. Just check one box a day and go in with a plan of what you are looking for and why. From April to August you need to look in once a week. There are no short cuts.
I was worried if I was away a month again, it use to be 2 weeks but this new co worker goes for a month. Then braking her wrist on the handover day on way back to work, really threw a spanner in the works - I was exhausted at the end of the 10 weeks.
The next month I was recouping it took so much out of me.
I’m back to work in September but only 3 weeks this time
I went on an 18 day vacation… Checked the day I left… all good (so I thought)… The hive swarmed before I got back…
Valli said she could get back every other day for an hour or so which is fine. That is miles away from leaving your colony unattended for 18 days. Hardly surprising they swarmed.
During swarm season you can do a swarm control after which you can leave the bees for a month. do this on the strong hives, remove four frames of brood minus the queens, removing the frames with the most sealed brood, replace those frames with foundation, starter strips or whichever you prefer in a checkerboard fashion. If you have more than one hive to weaken out, do the same thing. Stagger all the frames with bees in strange boxes to make a new hive. Close them in for 3 days making sure they have stores & ventilation in the mean time. Place a branch outside the entrance before opening it. Place another box of empty frames on top of the new hive to cater for the population increase.
If I have to go away for more than a week I have a friend in Scouts I would ask him to come do a check, he has Hives as well