Hello, I have never used a forum before so please excuse any mistakes. We had our main hive swarm, we caught the swan and it’s going well. At that time we checked the hive and there was a lot of brood and a number about 8 queen cells. This same hive swarmed 11 days later we caught the swarm again. This time however we noticed that there was only a small amount of of brood, and only one queen cup. I’m thinking that this would be a good time to introduce a new queen, thanks for your time
Yes, this is good time to replace a queen. I would also advise to replace queens in those swarms if you still have them. I strongly believe that swarming behaviour as a genetic trait, no matter how natural it is, should not be tolerated by a beekeeper. Same as excessively defensive behaviour. Try to find find a queen breeder who is serious about their stock improvement and get queens from them.
Why do you want to introduce a new queen?
All bees will swarm, sooner or later, if you don’t take measures to prevent it, some strains less than others but it’s natural behaviour.
These PDFs are essential reading for any beekeeper and should answer your questions.
Thank you for replying
Only it could be quite a big difference between “sooner” and “latter”. Look at the data from Bee Institute of Celle from their work on improvement of German bee. They managed to reduce swarming tendency from 54% to 8%. And F. Ruttner in his book Breeding Techniques and Selection for Breeding of the Honeybee says it was easiest trait to improve. What such improvement means for a backyard beekeeper with two hives? It is going from annual pain in the neck to event which have a chance to happen every five years.
In the past I had bees from another improvement program. Swarming was not something to care about much. I could have one swarm from score of hives once in several years. Big deal.
But what happens when people catch swarms and create colonies based on queen which came with the swarm? Most likely they select a strain of bees with high tendency to swarming. Then such colony spreads this genetics around.
And, are those money saved on buying a quality queen really worth all that time need for swarm prevention measures every year?
Thanks very much Jim it’s really interesting