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Jan le Roux

NZBF Swarm Season 2015 (Wellington)

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Is there anyone with knowledge on the Wellington region, that can give me some insight on when the Swarm Season in Wellington will be expected to start and end?

//Jan

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Any time from now until late summer

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Hi Jan,

It also depends on how good the bee keepers are at preventing and controlling swarms from their hives.

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It's all a bit moronic, dichotic or something this swarm business. Half the beeks in the place are desperately seeking swarms, while the other half are desperately (or supposed to be no names eh DJC) trying to prevent swarms. I've always felt swarms are a good thing, they allow the bees to get on with their reproduction as God intended, and they save beeks a lot of angst.

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.... and they save beeks a lot of angst.

...and provide other beeks with a lot of excitement.

 

@Jan le Roux if you get the chance to be involved in swarm collection, jump on it!

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It's all a bit moronic, dichotic or something this swarm business. Half the beeks in the place are desperately seeking swarms, while the other half are desperately (or supposed to be no names eh DJC) trying to prevent swarms. I've always felt swarms are a good thing, they allow the bees to get on with their reproduction as God intended, and they save beeks a lot of angst.

 

There is another way of looking at swarms:

 

only a small percentage of swarms survive for a year

they can spread disease, we had one case of AFB in a collected swarm last year, that I know about

cause distress in neighbours and local council (I'll be covering it in my book)

can cause death of the colony from subsequent cast swarms

cause inability to store enough honey, so none can safely be taken off by the hobby bk

 

I think the problem is that hobby bee keepers are using the wrong hives, and many hobby bee keepers don't have the knowledge and equipment to prevent swarms with the hives in use at present.

 

And commercial bee keepers have the benefit of preventing swarming by their splitting of hives.

 

Despair, wrong methods and wrong hives can be handled, and sympathetic prices for bees would be a good way into bee keeping.

 

Just my 1000 cents ...

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Is there anyone with knowledge on the Wellington region, that can give me some insight on when the Swarm Season in Wellington will be expected to start and end?

//Jan

I'm just up the coast (Kapiti) and for me swarming season is yet to start here.

I would say that it is really close for some hives as they are strong and full of brood with plenty of drones and queen/play cups appearing.

The current warm patch of weather will probably be the trigger and I'll start hearing of swarms in the next day or two.

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I think the problem is that hobby bee keepers are using the wrong hives, and many hobby bee keepers don't have the knowledge and equipment to prevent swarms with the hives in use at present.

Could you define "wrong hives" please.

 

Admin edit: quote box added for reference

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Bee keeper with only one box Full Depth, excluder and honey supers ...

 

Which is what many people are told to use.

 

How would you advise them to prevent swarming ?

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I have always and always been told to have a least 2 brood boxes.

 

I would advise them to add another brood box or if their were already swarm cells to split.

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Agreed about 2 brood boxes. But many don't.

 

If swarm cells are already present, a simple split may not work, and many people can only keep a small number of hives.

So, prevention is much better than trying to control a hive which has decided to swarm.

 

Or if one is a hobby bee bee keeper, using all 3/4 One Size Boxes makes life so much easier and fun.

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Or if one is a hobby bee bee keeper, using all 3/4 One Size Boxes makes life so much easier and fun.

I wish someone had told me that before I started. I've subsequently got a shoulder injury and lifting is such a pain in the yaris. Its definitely taking the fun out of it and I need to change things around a bit.

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@Grant I agree this is a big problem, and I was so lucky to get advice from Bill Ross and this forum to use 3/4 boxes only.

 

And its quite easy to convert FD to 3/4 and not lose all the bees and honey stores, only takes 24 days (clue ?) if you have a couple of 3/4 honey supers handy, preferably used.

 

And then the table saw to cut down the boxes (leaving the rebate firmly attached), and new 3/4 frames which should be drawn quickly as you keep the entire work force.

And the bees seem so happy ... like the bee keeper.

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@Grant I agree this is a big problem, and I was so lucky to get advice from Bill Ross and this forum to use 3/4 boxes only.

 

And its quite easy to convert FD to 3/4 and not lose all the bees and honey stores, only takes 24 days (clue ?) if you have a couple of 3/4 honey supers handy, preferably used.

 

And then the table saw to cut down the boxes (leaving the rebate firmly attached), and new 3/4 frames which should be drawn quickly as you keep the entire work force.

And the bees seem so happy ... like the bee keeper.

Same as @Grant . Wish I'd known . The table saw is the easy but. It's the investment in all those frames that's a bit hard to stomach

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Yes, problem with volume - how many hives ?

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Yes, problem with volume - how may hives ?

Oh I think there are roughly 100 boxes full, half plastic, half drawn wax:(, so 1000 FD frames give or take

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Eek.

 

Actually, the conversion keeps all the bees and the boxes, when cut down, but retires the frames when their honey stores have been moved into the new frames. And you will need more 3/4 boxes with 3/4 frames. But you will need to replace those 1000 frames with 3/4 which is 2-3 K ... mmm

 

regards,

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Eek.

 

Actually, the conversion keeps all the bees and the boxes, when cut down, but retires the frames when their honey stores have been moved into the new frames. And you will need more 3/4 boxes with 3/4 frames. But you will need to replace those 1000 frames with 3/4 which is 2-3 K ... mmm

 

regards,

Yup. There bees the problem. ;)

Still, it's good that good people like yourself are now making it clear.

New gear, should my hobby expand further, will be 3/4, no question. Thanks :)

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I bought more 3/4 gear this season, it's certainly the way I'm going they are a lot easier to work with...(y)

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I wish someone had told me that before I started. I've subsequently got a shoulder injury and lifting is such a pain in the yaris. Its definitely taking the fun out of it and I need to change things around a bit.

i'm sitting here with both shoulders rather sore. early season "break in" ;)

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Bee keeper with only one box Full Depth, excluder and honey supers ...

 

Which is what many people are told to use.

 

How would you advise them to prevent swarming ?

there is good reasons for single FD brood box. but you certainly have to keep on top of swarm control.

but even with doubles you still need to keep on top of it.

just because you have double does not mean they won't swarm.

 

part of it is matching hive size to your aera, honey flows, build up rates etc.

the other part is being able to throw out your system and do what ever the bees require.

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Thanks for all the info and feedback. I will get my trap out during the next week and report back if I cath anything.

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Same as @Grant . Wish I'd known . The table saw is the easy but. It's the investment in all those frames that's a bit hard to stomach

 

I converted to 3/4 over 2 winters. Removed the bottom box, cut it down to size. I also bought some bottom bars and cut the frames down (both plastic and wood). A little tricky putting wooden bottom bars onto plastic frames but heck they're all still in use.

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I converted to 3/4 over 2 winters. Removed the bottom box, cut it down to size. I also bought some bottom bars and cut the frames down (both plastic and wood). A little tricky putting wooden bottom bars onto plastic frames but heck they're all still in use.

Yes I'd thought of cutting the plastics down. In the mean time , I'm making 3/4 boxes to use above the third FD box as a compromise, and ordered 3/4 frames to go in them before I butcher anything

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