October 21, 2014

Being Prepared with a Swarm Kit

To avoid forgetting essential tools, I wrote the items I usually need in my swarm kit right on the lid of my tote.

The call came in from the Run of the Mill Pub in Saco about a swarm clustered on a sapling tree near the riverwalk. Once we arrived we realized all the people on the patio of the pub would be our audience for the afternoon. The plan was simple: Meghan Gaven was atop the stepladder and would push the little tree downward while Richard McLaughlin pulled the same direction with a rope. All I had to … [Read more...]

Now, This Is a Swarm!

Now, This Is a Swarm!

by Andrew Dewey When you hear the term “swarm,” what do you think of? A crazed ant mound in the summer time? The Dark Lord’s host emptying out of Mordor? A colony of honey bees that has decided to reproduce? Since we’re beekeepers, we’ll (briefly) explore honeybee swarms — focusing here on what happens when you are confronted with a swarming cloud of bees, and not with how to keep the bees from … [Read more...]

Preparing for Swarm Season

Front view of a hivebody-style bait hive for catching swarms; the vertical board is for nailing and/or tying to a tree trunk or other structure. The hardware cloth on the front entrance is there to prevent mice from moving in. PHOTO: ANNE FREY

Making Your Own Bait Hives Now that you’re finished with your winter of building and repairing supers, brood boxes and frames, think about the possibility of building bait hives in preparation for the May/ June swarm season. A bait hive is a swarm-catching box. I have captured some nice swarms in boxes set in trees, and it seems easier than answering a swarm call, which may come at an … [Read more...]

My Swarm – Maine Swarm Hotline to the Rescue

Honey Bee Swarm in Tree in Maine

Good morning every one! I want to take a moment and THANK the Maine Bee Swarm Hot Line and our group!   An extra special THANK YOU with much gratitude goes out to Erin, Philip, Larry and Fred. I happen to have Monday off, such a beautiful day, and our garage in need of paint. So, the project of the day had me on a ladder, painting and just plain enjoying the day. I had visited the bee … [Read more...]

Swarming Reviewed

Snelgrove Board (from beebitz.com)

During the last two years, there have been “swarming issues” among many new and seasoned beekeepers. In both 2006 and 2007, beekeepers reported swarms from hives established with packages and nucs during late May-June even though there was room for colony expansion. A number of beekeepers reported that the new hives issued swarms before the bees had moved into the second hive body. In both 2006 … [Read more...]