Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Swarm control to Major Tom....

Since the last post (far too long), the weather here in Ireland has been great.  Quite different from the last couple of years and it's all looking well.

As predicted by all the text books, my one-year old queenright colony started to show signs of swarming.  IT had survived the winter well.  To head things off before they swarmed, I carried out a variety of artificial swarm by removing the old Queen along with stores and brood and placing into another prepared hive.  It all went well and a few days later there were fresh eggs.  To cut a long story short, the original hive swarmed a few weeks later and the new hive showed signs of queenlessness.  Where did she go?

As it happened, I managed to capture the swarm in a corner of the garden.  It couldn't have been easier ~ about 12 inches off the ground!  A spare nucleus box was used to home the docile, lost girls.  I left them in the nuc close to where they had swarmed and I think it was this that maybe prompted them to take flight again.  Fortunately, I managed to catch them again as they had settled in almost the same location as before.  This time however I re-located the nuc to another position in the garden and they have stayed there contentedly since.   Yesterday, for the first time, there were eggs on one of the frames showing the new Queen had mated - what a relief!  I think that I will be uniting the nuc with the split hive which had contained the old Queen.

The original hive had a couple of Queen cells and practically no brood or eggs.  It is possible that there is a virgin here lurking but I cannot be confident.   

Now to look for Major Tom....... 

2 comments:

Kenzie said...

Sounds good. Both my two overwintered hives survived but the queens are long gone. I now have 4 hives (following a couple of unsuccessful artificial swarm splits) but very poor honey stores. Oh well. Sounds like you're doing much better.

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

I haven't had a swarm (yet) and I've been adding honey supers like crazy. Let's hope I can somehow avoid it. If they do go though I probably won't be there to catch them since the yard isn't at my home.