November 21, 2014

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...]

Swarm Catching: A Fun [Club] Opportunity?

Carefully trimming the swarm-occupied branch into a box

We're now just a month away from the kickoff of our honey bee swarm season in Maine. With a little preparation, and the right attitude, we can have fun rescuing some of Mother Nature's most healthy, robust colonies. Without our help, they are probably in for a short lifespan as a feral colony in a small tree, your neighbor's attic, or even worse, stuck out in the open come late … [Read more...]

Reflections on 2010

A honeybee found with deformed wing virus and Varroa mites.

The past year presented several valuable lessons to beekeepers. For example: bees should be managed according to weather conditions and plant phenology, not calendar date; monitoring Varroa is crucial since mite populations can explode under certain circumstances; and the timing and choice of Varroa treatment can have variable outcomes. Also, reading pesticide labels is imperative!   In … [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...]