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What do I do if a swarm of bees turns up?

If you have a swarm of bees - DON'T PANIC. The first thing to check is if they are honey bees. If they really are honey bees then ring your local beekeepers association. For more details on how to check what you have got and get help see our swarms page.

If you live near to Bridport in Dorset then you can ring us on 01308 423808.

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Artificial swarm

Pagden, Heddon, Demaree, Snelgrove: so much choice if you want to artificially swarm. Though as we have WBC hives the choice is simplified. No messing about with special boards or stacking broods on supers; with WBC it has to be Pagden or a version of it.

Yesterday we planned our hive inspection, carefully reviewing a number of possibilities and what we would do for each scenario. In short these were variations on a) giving the queen a bit more room to lay in or b) artificially swarming because the colony was already in queen production mode. We had got all the necessary kit together - additional frames and boxes to meet all contingencies and a spare hive if we went Pagden.

Ross and Sarah examine the frame Ross and Sarah (about-to-have-bees folk from the recent course) had come over so that we could show off to them. Actually they have opted for Nationals (with a nod to tradition in the way of a gabled roof!) and we had some queen excluders etc that were amongst our various purchases of old kit. And whilst they were over we had a look at the bees (giving us the opportunity to show off about them!!)

The colony is very strong and the queen is laying well, but she has been pretty much using the first four frames as the brood nest. When we opened up it was clear there were a lot of bees. Nearly all the foundation on the new frames was almost fully drawn out. The queen was laying on six frames, but there were a number of good, uncapped queen cells with larvae. We decided to artificially swarm them. Possibly a bit of a rash decision and perhaps we were not fully in command of all the facts needed to make a decision, but it's is what we had planned to do if we came across this situation.

We basically did what I thought I remembered doing 20 plus years ago, with memo prompters from Hooper and a vague outline from the course.
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Posted by David on Sunday 11 May 2008 - 23:45:48 |printer friendly