Swarm season

Lots of swarms this year. I’ve only ever had one swarm (helps to mark your queens so you know this!!) which I was able to hive. But this year was different.

The bees had built up quickly, did not suffer from a late cold snap that came after a warm-up, they had food (I had to supplement because you would be AMAZED how quickly they can eat 3-4 lbs of food when brood rearing has begun).

I had located all of my marked queens during a mid-April apiary inspection.

The Taranov method was used for my so-called “little” hive when I saw swarm cells. Little did I know that the other colonies were making similar plans. The issue was the weather. Since I work and really only have weekends available for inspections (and that time can be restricted to because of family activities), I try to take advantage of nice days by checking one or two colonies after work. Unfortunately, it was either rainy, windy, or cold, or some combination of that on most days I’d have time to check them. But then we would have decent mornings, less pleasant afternoons. Seemed like I couldn’t win.

But the bees still collect their food, raise brood and if they get congested they make swarm prep regardless of spring weather. Two weeks before the swarms started was the last time I was able to go into brood chambers. All of the marked queens were found, I saw a couple of queen cells in the colonies that still had  2015 blue queens, and figured they were superseding and that was fine with me.

Notes for self:

To date there have been 8 swarms, majority with virgins. Unfortunately, we had quite a bit of rain and I worry that the virgins weren’t able to mate.

Swarm dates:

April 27, April 30 (orange hive), May 1, May 4, May 8 (landed on elderberry, from pink colony based on scale–saw eggs), May 9(two swarms–one from pink again, gave to Brad), May 14 (aqua hive-gave to Larry T.)

May 14:

Checked the colonies (all but the orange one) and cut out all swarm cells. Capped queen cells were given to the new swarm colonies if no eggs were found.

Pink (scale hive)–left one capped queen cell, did not see a queen or evidence of one.

Aqua hive- Two virgins, all capped queen cells removed

Taranov swarm on top of Aqua–laying yellow queen

White hive– no eggs, added queen cell (there was a queen here before, maybe out mating?)

10-frame nuc–no eggs, added queen cell

Purple hive–had marked this queen before saw eggs–she’s no longer there (bad move on my part?) –added capped queen cell.

Chicken coop–2 queen system, each with a laying yellow queen (woo hoo!)

2 cardboard nucs– no eggs, added queen cells, threw in a virgin into the nuc closest to chicken colony.

I have 3 laying queens: in the two queen system by the chicken coop and the Taranov swarm on top of the aqua hive.

PLAN: 1. Check orange hive

              2. Recheck of colonies with no laying queens and combine as needed next weekend.


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