Last year my bees swarmed on me, and I was determined this year to be on top of things. But this time, the buggers went a week earlier - seriously the very first warm day after winter; it was raining and cold almost every day prior to that…
Realizing this was my chance, I ducked inside for some quick research, then here’s the rest of the day:
- Suited up
- Grabbed a spare box, removed some frames and scooped them all in (looked like a fairly small swarm).
- Confirmed queen was present by bees behavour
- Went for main hive inspection. They’d run out of space again, and built come and honey in the roof cavity.
- Flow frames appeared about 50% capped - but capping was missing from some of the middle of the frames, I guess indicating they had gorged on some.
- Removed ‘Ideal’ box, for later processing (I’d had this on all winter, to give the bees more room, but it appears it just allowed them to grow a bigger colony). NB: Queen excluder is below the Idea box.
- Inspected lower brood box. Looked ok… Checked for and destroyed ALL queencells (I’ll come back to this). I didn’t check for eggs or much else, but will do another inspection soon.
- Removed 3 frames of brood (covered with bees), and placed into spare box with the swarm; added back 3 clean frames.
- Rebuilt main hive (without Ideal box).
- Cut and processed pure honeycomb from the ideal frame (Got at least 4kg of pure comb, and hand extracted (quite literally) about 1.5kg of runny honey. Messy stuff.
- By now it was almost dark I was too stuffed to cook dinner, so pizza it was, before cleaning up the mess.
I think I was lucky… but any tips, did I stuff it up?
Even after the swarm, the hive was absolutely chockers with bees and honey. I removed all the queen cells, as I didn’t want bees casting in subsequent swarms (at least not straight away). I don’t know if this was good to do (perhaps a risk); but I assume that the bees will create more queen cells now; giving me a couple of weeks breathing room - the colony certainly appeared strong enough.
Is this ‘strategy’ likely to reduce the tendency of new queens to cast swarm, or will that make no difference?
I’m also kind of hoping bee numbers will also reduce a bit by then; I’ll do a Flow frame harvest, and they’ll be right for the rest of the season. Wishful thinking?