swarming queen question

Basic beekeeping, this is beekeeping after the first winter until about the third or fourth year. You are a beekeeper, but you still have a lot to learn. Talk about normal everyday beekeeping here.
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Rurification
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swarming queen question

Postby Rurification » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:17 am

Last year I had a Russian cross that swarmed. We caught the swarm. It was a big hive, so I also split the original hive to give them more space. Then each of the splits threw an afterswarm. I caught one of them and missed the other - then the one I caught languished and died last fall. That one queen gave me 3 good hives total - all are great layers.

The hive with that original Russian cross queen is the one that I think is going to swarm again this year. I'm thinking that queen just has a strong reproductive urge. I don't see that as a bad thing necessarily - it's how they're supposed to act.

Here's my question: When I select brood to make nucs with, do I want to avoid a predictable swarmer or is that something I should actively select FOR... or does it matter? We live on 40 acres in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a lot of woods and scrub, so I don't worry about them swarming into houses. I like the idea of bees who behave like bees should and reproduce the way nature intended. I also want honey.

Opinions?

p.s. I don't really think she's too 'swarmy'. Michael Bush defines swarmy bees as ones who swarm and swarm until there's not a lot left. These guys just swarmed and threw a single afterswarm each. Plenty of bees left.
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moebees
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Re: swarming queen question

Postby moebees » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:32 am

Sounds like a good one to me. If that hive has a bunch of swarm cells they could be put to good use if you can make up some nucs. Perhaps you could even solve your queenless hive problem.

You mentioned in your other post that you had give them room with supers but you may need to create space in the brood nest.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Dustymunky
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Re: swarming queen question

Postby Dustymunky » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:55 am

It sounds like the swarming is not a problem to you. I wouldn't worry about that trait then. I would look at other traits as the deciding factor. Definitely nothing wrong with using eggs from multiple queen mothers also, to keep diversity.


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GregV
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Re: swarming queen question

Postby GregV » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:32 am

I would definitely have your hubs build you 2-3 swarm traps.
Just set them up with good bait and keep around your apiary to catch your own swarms.
That's what I do. Let em swarm then.

PS: I'd let them do anything they want as long as they are TF (outside of uncontrollable aggression).

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Re: swarming queen question

Postby lharder » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:44 pm

For myself, I would be selecting bees for queens that swarmed later in the build up cycle rather than earlier, and responded to some manipulation to delay swarming.

So, if I had one hive that insisted on swarming in spite of my best efforts, I would let them requeen themselves, but wouldn't be taking extra cells from them. I would also reduce the number of swarm cells to 2 to avoid after swarming.

The boomer that doesn't swarm so easily, that I actively make queens from.

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Rurification
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Re: swarming queen question

Postby Rurification » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:32 pm

moebees wrote:Sounds like a good one to me. If that hive has a bunch of swarm cells they could be put to good use if you can make up some nucs. Perhaps you could even solve your queenless hive problem.

You mentioned in your other post that you had give them room with supers but you may need to create space in the brood nest.



Yes. Maybe I should go back into those last two hives and do a better search for swarm cells to transfer over. Wouldn't hurt.

Creating space in the brood nest. I can checkerboard when the weather is hot, but this time of year we're running 40s at night. I've been afraid to open it too much. Plus they have 2 supers over the brood box, the bottom of which they're using for brood. only 4 ish frames of brood in that super on each hive. [strange, how similar those two hives are acting this year.]
Robin Edmundson
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Rurification
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Re: swarming queen question

Postby Rurification » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:37 pm

Dustymunky - Very true!

GregV - We're working on the extra traps. I think catching your own swarms is a great way to do it. Hope that works for me this year. And you're right about tf bees. We'll take whatever we can get.

lharder - I had the same thought - I'd feel differently if it were June and they had filled me up a box of honey first. Since I do have a choice, I'll keep splitting the other boomer hive. But I won't worry if I get a couple more of these Russian cross swarms.
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Rosenda001
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Re: swarming queen question

Postby Rosenda001 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:29 am

I have no idea but I am really interested in it.
Last edited by Rosenda001 on Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:26 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Michael Bush
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Re: swarming queen question

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:12 pm

"For years our bee journals have been printing reams of articles on the question of a non-swarming strain of bees. It has always seemed to me there was a lot of time wasted advocating such an improbable accomplishment, because nature would hardly yield to an arrangement that in itself might destroy the species. If accomplished it would be tantamount to breeding the mating instinct out of domestic animals." --P.C. Chadwick ABJ, April 1936
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm


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