Swarming Control and Prevention
Notes on the Apiary Meeting of April 28th 2018
Swarming control is all about keeping your bees when you find queen cells being made. Swarm prevention is an attempt to stop or delay the swarming impulse.
As a beginner it can seem daunting, unfathomable or even intimidating, but the colony manipulations are all based on a simle set of rules.
- Remember the basic life cycle of the queen and workers.
- When moved, older flying bees will always fly back to the hive they know as home.
- The colony may be thought of as consisting of three parts:
The queen, the flying bees and the brood (including nurse bees). Separating one part from the other two will usually bring about a reduction of the swarming impulse.
As promised, Richard has put together some notes in the form of a PDF document which can be downloaded HERE.
Method 1 is for colonies where no queen cells have been found (swarm prevention) and Method 2 is for colonies where queen cells have been started (swarm control).
The diagram shows the layout of the Snelgrove board. The mesh is usually on both sides of the board to prevent physical contact of bees. The ‘doors’ need to be stiff to prevent accidental opening or closing. In Snelgrove’s design entrances were effected by cutting out a wedge. Pivoting doors have the advantage that they do not fall out, get detached or lost.
May is the time to carry out these types of hive manipulation as there is plenty of time for the resulting colonies to build up for the winter. You may even get a surplus.