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Swarm Season 2019/20


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Well, it has started again.   From reading Facebook etc, their have been quite a few swarms in the Auckland region.   Yesterday, I caught the largest swarm that I have ever caught.  6.5

I don't have any scientific data. However, for my own piece of mind I always put swarms onto undrawn frames. I then always carry those colonies thru 2 full brood cycles (about 2 month from f

One for the day. Good Size Swarm. Filled a 10 frame box easily. Will add another box tomorrow.

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By my diary I'm not due a swarm until tomorrow. I have my doubts about that because the season is a wee bit later I think, plus my commercial yard man hasn't double Q'd this year so swarming may be a bit less likely.

And with just these two yards, there's $1600 worth of Q not been produced by someone....

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I had a hive go queenless (it’s likely I killed her by accident). It was a strong hive and getting big fast. There were quite a few emergency cells, so I made 2 splits with the best ones and left 2 nice ones in the hive. They’ll sort it out and the best queen will win right?

Yup, they sorted it out. What an idiot.

 

72ACA42D-F32F-48B4-BE11-15E24DDEA819.jpeg
 

It filled 6 undrawn frames easily and they are drawn out after a day - I went in to remove the sticks etc that went in when I cut the hedge into the box.

Edited by cBank
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23 minutes ago, cBank said:

I had a hive go queenless (it’s likely I killed her by accident). It was a strong hive and getting big fast. There were quite a few emergency cells, so I made 2 splits with the best ones and left 2 nice ones in the hive. They’ll sort it out and the best queen will win right?

Yup, they sorted it out. What an idiot.

 

72ACA42D-F32F-48B4-BE11-15E24DDEA819.jpeg
 

It filled 6 undrawn frames easily and they are drawn out after a day - I went in to remove the sticks etc that went in when I cut the hedge into the box.

Yes, bees just love to use that extra cell during swarm season . ‘ Why let it go to waste ‘ , I imagine is what they were thinking 

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26 minutes ago, cBank said:

I had a hive go queenless (it’s likely I killed her by accident). It was a strong hive and getting big fast. There were quite a few emergency cells, so I made 2 splits with the best ones and left 2 nice ones in the hive. They’ll sort it out and the best queen will win right?

Yup, they sorted it out. What an idiot.

I have made the same mistake .

At least you got the swarm .  The first swarm site is often accessible but the swarms move quickly into the top of the ratas here.

Sometimes swarms will start as before the  new queen hatches.

Not all the capped cells are any good  so it is tempting to leave two . You can sometimes tell by watching the bee behaviour around the cells .

In the two or three days before hatching the bees will be paying a full cell a lot of attention and ignoring the empty one .

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On 30/09/2019 at 6:43 PM, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Well, it has started again.  

From reading Facebook etc, their have been quite a few swarms in the Auckland region.

 

Yesterday, I caught the largest swarm that I have ever caught.  6.5 kg (approx 65000 bees).

I put them into a 20 frame hive and will add another box in a couple days.

All the best folks.

 

 

20190929_145716.jpg

Biggest swarm I cought was in 2013, it was a 20L bucket and a half on the second go and it took 2 full depth boxes to contain

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7 hours ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

No.  

Swarms must always go into undrawn frames, so that any AFB spores are used in wax building and not stored for baby food.

 

I agree. But I confess that while 9 out of ten in my swarm box are foundationless; so I don't even have foundation in there, I DO include one empty dry comb on centreline to get them started and provide an anchor. Thus 90% of the box is their own work.

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9 hours ago, yesbut said:

It's been mentioned many times on here that while there is a theoretical chance of swarms carrying AFB it's a very small chance and reduced further by making them use their onboard honey resource to build comb.

My mate Gav cough a swarm and it had foul brood

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11 hours ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

No.  

Swarms must always go into undrawn frames, so that any AFB spores are used in wax building and not stored for baby food.

 

 

@Trevor Gillbanks If one doesn't use undrawn frames for housing swarms, how long does it take for AFB to establish and/or symptoms are able to be detected? 

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Swarms can theoretically carry AFB but I have never seen it happen. For a start if a hive has significant AFB it is not going to be in a fit state to swarm. If it only has a few infected cells then the risk is probably not that great and while it is sensible to put them onto foundation I don't normally bother and have never had any problems.

 

The normal way that swarms end up with AFB is from them being put into already contaminated gear. I once had to inspect a whole lot of hives where the brood and queens had obviously been stolen from another beekeeper's hives. All the inspected hives had AFB and it wasn't from where they were stolen it was from  the old crap infected gear they had been put into. I knew the gear had been stolen but it would have been difficult to prove in court and at least the perpetrator didn't gain from his crimes and we found and burnt everything before it had a chance to spread to someone else.  I have often wondered how many AFBs came from when the crooks original hives died out.

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39 minutes ago, John T said:

 

@Trevor Gillbanks If one doesn't use undrawn frames for housing swarms, how long does it take for AFB to establish and/or symptoms are able to be detected? 

From memory I think 12.5 days is the earliest for visible afb symptoms to appear .. but this will depend on the queen, as it may be a swarm with virgin.. which will take longer.

Always afb check once the brood is capped  

 

to reduce the chance of your swarm bees feeding larvae with infected honey and initiating the disease please always use foundation for swarms. 

 

It’s industry best practice... simple as that.

 

They draw the frames out incredibly fast and by the time it’s drawn the Queen is usually laying up a storm. 

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3 minutes ago, Markypoo said:

Excellent. I caught a swarm Oct 16 last year and put it onto undrawn foundation. there is always a niggling thought that they could be an AFB risk.

 

I’m sure you will spot it on your regular inspections if it does show up. 

When we find afb on a pallet we usually find another one or two on that pallet, sometimes up to a yr later.. which is interesting because we full brood check risk sites ( where afb has been found) every round of the season. 

 

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I cought one about the same size yesterday just below one of my sites while I was on the track up to do supering, there were 2 hives developing swarm cells and the rest were too strong to aqualize so I done a bit of shook swarming and when I cought the swarm on my way out the holey bucket was 3/4 full. 

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Correcting a mistake
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