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Two swarms in a week!


#1

We just had the one Flow hive, established late last year with a small nuc. We had our first swarm last week - and managed to catch it and install it in our second Flow hive that we had only recently set up. After sealing up the hive for a few days, we opened it up and both hives were completely settled and happy. We filmed the whole thing, and posted up a rough edit on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4By_XkgEdn4

Yesterday, however, the original hive swarmed again - a much smaller group this time. We managed to catch that one too, and have the new colony safely in a nuc box while we decide what to do with it. We think a third queen must have arrived while the new queen was still establishing herself and that triggered the swarm. The good news is that the first two hives seem to be happy - the bad news is that our numbers are down across our hives, so not sure how we will go for honey production this year!


#2

What was the reason for sealing the hive up for a few days?

Secondary swarms are extremely common, and are generally smaller than the primary swarm, so what you have is a secondary swarm, and you may find they swarm again still.

Did you undertake any inspections or swarm control methods before the swarming started? Are there still queen cells in the original hive?


#3

That was the advice we were given at the time - just to ensure the bees would stay in the new hive. We’ve inspected the hive now and confirmed no more queen cells.


#4

I wouldn’t seal up the latest small swarm (I don’t seal up any swarm). Most likely that is what is referred to as an “after-swarm” and contains a virgin queen. She needs to get out and mate.

Keep an eye on the population in the main hive; I’ve had hives swarm themselves out of existence.


#5

I don’t either. Sealing them up is just too problematic. It deprives them of water, the ability to ventilate etc.


#6

Thanks - I took the advice, and left the box with the new swarm open - all good so far.


#7

I have a little bit of advice now that the hives population is down. This only applies if you live in an area where SHB are present. Just make sure you still have enough bees protecting the brood frames so that the beetles cant lay any eggs in them.


#8

The best way to anchor a swarm is to give them a frame of open brood.