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Honeybee swarms – what to do

29th April 2010 @ 8:08am – by Campbell Ward
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We are now in the time of year when honeybees tend to swarm and they insist in doing so, despite all the efforts that our beekeepers take to discourage them! 

It is, after all, a natural event and even gives a beekeeper an opportunity to increase his stock, an opportunity that many keepers welcome.

Bees have been in decline over the past few years for reasons that are not really understood. Certainly many stocks have been weakened by the Varroa mite and although most keepers take steps to control mite infestations, many have lost several of their hives.

Only a few people in the Audlem area keep bees but several more have expressed an interest in doing so. A swarm in May and June can be easily hived to form the nucleus of a new colony or expand an existing keeper's stock. But often a swarm is lost and honeybees seldom survive outside a hive.

If you see a swarm you can help by immediately phoning one of us on the attached list. Let us know where it is and we will try to offer the bees a home.   Don't approach or disturb the swarm. Just give us a call. We have all the equipment:

  • John Jones 811643 or 07913 091873
  • Campbell Ward 812070 or 07964 753637
  • Jack Wright 811365 or 07974 464363
  • Jon Crouch 812447 or 07799 525122
  • Jane Marshall 811330 07942 821275
  • Barrie Hufton 07971 245225

The theory is that the swarm will move into the skep for protection; then allowing the keeper to easily transport them to a new hive. But when things don't go to plan, John Jones has been heard to declare: "These bees haven't read the rule book!" He likes the challenge of capturing a swarm. "Why else would I keep bees!", he says.


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