BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Swarm calls

 #11385  by NigelP
 02 Jul 2021, 12:00
It's an interesting point Adam. I'd tend to counter by saying look at the inspections you did where you disrupted the queen pheromones etc and they hadn't swarmed by the next inspection.

I tend to regard it as a seasonal/weather issue with the hives that do decide to swarm all deciding to do so almost at the same time (usually!).
 #11387  by Patrick
 02 Jul 2021, 15:19
I think if there are too many disruptions they can indeed be induced to swarm. Maybe that’s the question, how many is too many?

The big but is that if it swarms you Go back to Start and don’t collect £200. No honey to speak of, potentially cast to oblivion or drone laying etc etc.

The commercial guys seem to work on the principle of low swarming queens kept young and playing percentages regarding time and numbers. Also many seem not so tied to honey production as most of us. I agree with Nigel regarding the importance of the weather. For me is the single largest swarming determinant- more than congestion or genetics.

So it comes down to as few as possible inspections and as many as necessary. I have just put the phone down to another swarm in a new flat roof that is irretrievable in my view. Maybe a feral colony that was left alone and gone for it anyway :D
 #11389  by NigelP
 02 Jul 2021, 17:04
What I can add is that bees with proven low swarming genetics (The Danish Buckfast I use for example) won't swarm regardless of the number of inspections. The last 2 Island mated queens I had went 4 years and were then superseded as they ran out of sperm.
My locals on the other hand are annual swarmer's and I see this trend reflected in many of my F2 crosses which now seem to pick up the urge to swarm annually.
An F2 that went to the OSR and had no inspections over a 5 week period swarmed multiple times ( as judged by number of emerged queen cells and lack of bees), whereas the 3 F1's I took (again with no inspections) didn't swarm. But bees being bees not sure this means a lot :D

There where no inspections because it was a 70 mile round trip........
 #11391  by AdamD
 05 Jul 2021, 12:37
I wonder if there is a statistical increase in the number of swarms, say, 6 days after an inspection? Possibly. However you are correct that there will be a swarming periods when many colonies decide to go, so the weather is the main driver - along with the genetics.
 #11392  by NigelP
 05 Jul 2021, 17:34
I see where you are coming from Adam but not sure I've ever noticed a similar trend with the bees I keep.
I tend to find the ones that intend to swarm mostly decide to do it within a few weeks of each other (with odd exceptions.......). But I can see that disturbance from inspections might cause a few more to decide enough is enough.
 #11393  by JoJo36
 05 Jul 2021, 17:48
I think that's where I've gone wrong!!
I've been checking every 3-4 days for swarm cells and did a demaree last week!! However I read that I left it too late to do so I've put queen back in original brood in both hives 1 & 2 today and I'm going to leave it for a week before I inspect again as the bees have scoffed most of the nectar they had put in a super above brood box so if I carry on like this I won't have any honey at all??!!
 #11396  by Patrick
 06 Jul 2021, 09:57
[quote="JoJo36" as the bees have scoffed most of the nectar they had put in a super above brood box so if I carry on like this I won't have any honey at all??!![/quote]

You will not be alone. The weather here is mighty frustrating this year and the short periods of coincidence of hot weather and nectar flow have been bookended by periods of windy, cold and wet. Late splits in the middle of the normal foraging season are never going to help. The lime trees are all in blossom here but not seeing insects on them in numbers - suggests either nectar is being e washed out or not really flowing. Three more weeks and that will be it for around here.

Last really bad years were 2012 / 2013, so it’s been a decent run in the last few years. As is the normal way of things, somebody somewhere will instead be enjoying their best year ever and good on them :) !