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Michael Bush's anti swarming suggestion


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I'm running my two main hives as singles this year, with queens of unknown vintage. I'm very aware of the swarming potential . Bee "guru" Michael Bush amongst his voluminous writings suggests as an anti swarming measure placing an empty frame - no foundation - into the brood nest, claiming it takes the bees minds off swarming for a while. I did this with the busier hive a fortnight ago, now the empty frame is nearly fully built with drone & worker brood & nectar. I've just moved two full frames of brood ( minus the Q in theory) above an excluder, and put two empty frames in their place.

 

Does anyone here do this empty frame bit as a matter of course ?

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Timing is key

Keep the bees busy before they get interested in swarming and they will stay home.

However once the bees have started making preparations to swarm then your on the back foot trying to get them to stay home. A good nectar flow will also beep the bees busy and at home.

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. I did this with the busier hive a fortnight ago, now the empty frame is nearly fully built with drone & worker brood & nectar.

hard to say, you have nectar coming in so they generally won't swarm as much anyway.

 

putting in an empty frame without some flow on, means they won't draw it, if they do draw it they often won't use it for brood rearing and that limits laying room which can cause swarming. it does depend on setup and conditions.

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It does not stop swarming. It has a different purpose.

It was used around the world before varroa become popular.

What Trevor suggests to use it for drone culling is effective however commercials do not like the idea to visit the hives specially in time to cut out the combs.

 

This "blind frame" or "built up frame" or "drone removal frame" or you can give a new name to it if you like so is called in some parts of the world as "the mirror of the hive".

 

I use it only in strong hives. When you use it in a weak hive the bees will build the comb but not necessarily with drone cells. I had to experience on my own hives when a blind frame was built fully with only worker cells(it was a beautiful frame).

 

In your case Yesbut, the colony does not have a good balance in between workers and drones. In normal situation a blind frame should not have worker cells.

 

If you have honey in this frame it simply means you do not have enough room for storage. Run Yesbut!!!! and add a honey super, butyesbut wait...

 

If this frame has a QC on it it means the hive prepares to swarm so you have to check all frames in the brood nest.

 

When the bees do not build comb in this frame it means you do not have honey flow.

 

Normally the frame is built fully with comb (drone cells only) and nailed with eggs/larvae within a week. Within anouther week everithing is capped so is time for culling.

 

Some bks like to put this frame at the margin, others in the middle and I like to follow the brood. This means as my blind frame will be next of the last brood frame.

 

As I said I will use it only with strong hives so this means two boxes of brood and this frame will be in the top box.

 

An effective method to prevent swarming is the Demaree method. However Mr. Demaree presented his method to the public 120+ years ago when nobody used chemical treatments in the hives.

 

The varroa treatments leave chemical residues behind in the comb. If the bees store honey in those combs and the bkper extract it the labs can show those residues in the honey. This is why the commercial honey is tested in labs. Especially treatments based on amitraz, coumaphos leave the most of the residues, but I think every treatment leaves residues behind(chemical or non chemical). The non chemical treatments are used in organic bkping so their residues are okay for human consumption.

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