Swarm Management for new Beekeepers

New Beekeepers who are successfully over wintering hives for the first time are likely to see their overwintered colonies build up strongly on the early spring nectar flows.

Unfortunately strong overwintered colonies have a natural tendency to reproduce by swarming.

A new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees, a process called swarming. In the primeswarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen.
Swarming (honey bee) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Really Simple Queen Introduction

Queen introduction is fraught with anxiety – A good queen honey bee is pretty expensive as bugs go and of course you don’t want to take any chances with it. I think I’ve tried most of the common tips – push in cages, making the hive queenless for some period of time, etc. But here is the thing – what really works best for me is a standard candy release. Whether you are making a split, fixing a queenless hive, replacing an old queen or drone layer, installing a package, or dealing with a laying worker hive – this simple method works the same for all. It’s almost fool proof if you follow the simple rules.

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Bee Keeping Basics – Inspections

Inspections

During the bee keeping season (March to November) you need to do weekly inspections.  The purpose of inspecting your hives is to keep them healthy and strong by heading off problems as early as possible before they become a big deal. And especially to avoid colony failures – dead outs.

Upon examination of a hive which has failed you might find that it is infested with hive beetle or wax moth larva, or that it is completely devoid of food stores.  This might lead you to believe that those were the cause of the failure, but chances are that they were just the last of an unfortunate series of events which started much earlier –  Which usually went undetected because the hive was not inspected regularly enough.

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A Year in the Life of a Wild Honey Bee Colony


honeybee-goldenrod01

A honey bee super organism – or colony – has the same basic needs and drives as any other organism except that it is made up of as many as 60,000 individual bees.

brood
In late winter and spring a hive will begin to produce large amounts of brood in preparation for swarming.

A new colony is born when an existing colony – which usually lives in a cavity such as a hollow tree in or near a forest – issues a swarm.  Preparation for swarming begins in late winter through spring when brood production and hive population increases and pollen and nectar become plentiful because of the blooming of trees and other flowering plants. Healthy colonies in the region will also start producing drones at this time.

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Installing Package Honey Bees

Soon your bees will finally be here – a most joyous occasion for new bee keepers especially. No doubt you have been studying up on how to get package bees into their hive, and already have some idea how to do it, but just in case…

Of course you already have your hive equipment all ready assembled, painted and hopefully in place in your future bee yard ready to receive your new BFFs.

If you are using a Screened Bottom Board – close it up!  Packages or swarms often abscond when installed in hives with open bottoms.  Once they have some comb built and brood going open it up if you want to, but keep it shut until then.

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Register your Bees!

Now that you are a bee keeper you are required by law to register your bee yard.  Don’t worry – it’s free, easy and it (probably) isn’t a government plot to take away your stuff.

If you’ve been a bee keeper for a while you might want to take this opportunity to update your information.

The Apiary Act of 1995 includes a section on registration of apiaries.  In the Apiary Act, new apiaries are required to be registered with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.  These apiaries are required to be re-registered every 3 years.  The list of registered beekeepers and apiaries is maintained by the State Apiarist and upon registration, the beekeeper receives a unique registration number.  This number is the beekeeper’s personal registration number and can be used to brand hives and equipment.  Registration cards are available from this office, County Extension Agent offices, your local beekeeper association or this website.

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