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Swarms are the way the entity of the bee colony reproduces.
When a colony is thriving the space. They are in will begin to plug up with bees, brood and stores. The colony will then prepare to reproduce by raising new queens. Just before the cells are about to emerge the queen and a portion of the bees will prepare to swarm. The process essential divides the colony in 1/2
As bees for beekeepers this is not a good thing. We need the hive active with lots of bees giving you honey. If they swarm you lose your honey crop and all those bees.
Typically we go though the hive and Give them space. When one begins to think of our operation as having 2 operations. This year and the next. Next years bees are part of this years product.
Swarm prevention is a part of this years production. We need our production hives on the brink of swarming. To maximize your time input in this process we incorporate next years queen/nuc production. Your main costumer here is your outfit. The surplus is needed to augment other beekeepers operations. This give us a place for the effort spent to go. Bee products.
To prevent the queen from swarming. We need to provide enough space for the colony to work at maximum paces and efficiency. Bees need space for bees, brood and stores. We will get for our efforts. Bees, brood, and stores.
The amount of space depends on the timing of your next visit. How much time you have to actually look at the hive. The less time the smaller the cues and the greater the risk of missing serious problems. You need to look at your brood. Each frame is a slice of the nest and it tells you so much.
At beemaster.ca we recommend and teach students to look at every frame in your hive. The more frames you look at armed with a growing knowledge. The more quickly you analyze the frame for how the bees are doing. See hive evaluation for more detail.
The more you look the more your eye will see.
We track the number of each type of frame. Bees, brood, comb, foundation, honey. Although we don't track pollen it is good to note the amount of pollen stored. For swarm control though we are looking for an optimum box. 2 full frames of honey on the outside of the nest. The number of comb/foundation 'space to lay' the frames of brood we want to see eggs, larva of all stages capped brood.
Keeping in mind that a frame of capped brood will soon be 2 frames of bees and a frame of comb. I like to maintain 2 to 3 frames of space per box for a week. So you can take away honey and/or bees and brood to maintain that number.
This resource can be used to boost hives that need the help. To make your planing and production you want all the hives the same size. The excess will become next years operations.
We like to use the excess brood to create nuces that will create a new queen from our best hives. We aim for 1 single for every main we go into winter with. This is about 2 times the number of queens you plan for next season. With the current 40 to 60% losses being expedience because of agricultural practices This you allow you to maintain your planed hive size.
Because we use the hive evaluation system we can plan what we may expect to see on our next visit to the yard. The data base contains all the frames active in the operation so we know just what is there and what we can make from it on our next vist.
Last Update July 14, 2017