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Swarm season in Perth

In Perth, South West of Western Australia, when does swarm season generally end? Do hives keep swarming late into summer? When is the latest that queens can mate?

Hi Stefan, I’m a long way from Perth on the Sunshine Coast, however generally speaking if your colony is producing drones, that means you should expect that colonies could swarm. At any point in time we should be aware that colonies of bees are building up to that end. Spring time is the time when bees are most likely to swarm. However we can’t rest on our laurels just because spring is over. I’ve been called out to swarms right through summer & autumn up on the Sunny Coast. I’ve even caught swarms one week before winter officially starts.

The short answer would be, while the colonies are still producing drones.

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Thanks Jeff for being so kind to answer from 4500km away!

I was under the impression that they tend to swarm until early summer only. I guess, what I really want to know is whether a new queen will be able to mate if the hive swarms, or is split, late summer.

I think from your answer, that is yes.

You’re welcome Stefan. The answer would have to be yes. Up & over here I can split all year round & get queens successfully mated. It’s only when winters are like European winters where the drones get kicked out of the hives prior to winter that you wouldn’t expect to get queens mated.

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Depends a lot on your breed. Some breeds swarm more than others. I remember our Dawn saying something on that.
I have had bees now for 3 years and have not had a swarm yet. Touch wood. Perhaps it is also because I like double brood box hives which I believe are less likely to swarm.

Apart from the cold weather starts, early,mid or late Autumn and Winter, your hive can swarm at any time if the hive condition tell the bees “Its time to swarm so lets grab the old girl, some honey and we are out of here baby.”.

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Cheers for that. Mine should be, and look like ligustica but most are somewhat hybridised to some extent anyway these days.

Interesting that you mentioned the double brood box. I was reading and deliberating what I should aim for. My understanding is the commercial guys only use one, probably for efficiency. It looks like there are merits for using two brood boxes, and less swarming is one of the reasons why I’m inclined to do so. Mine haven’t even filled the first brood box, so I’m planning far ahead.

Yours never swarmed because you split them in time, right? Not because they never attempted in three years?

I did one split 2 years ago which was not very successful with one strong hive surviving. In April this year I swapped brood boxs to strengthen a weak NUK but other than that no special tricks.

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Into Autumn, I’ve done successful splits in Bunbury in May, not by choice.

There is a peak swarm season in Perth and it is coming to an end but want end for a long time.

Adam

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