I just realised that it’s been a week since my last post, so I wanted to get a quick update in.
Yesterday I boxed up the ninth swarm from my own colonies. This was a much smaller swarm, and was close to the hive from which I think the previous swarm came. The timing is about right too, with almost a week elapsing since the prime swarm came out. Having finished, I got a call to tell me that one of the colonies that I manage had swarmed.
What was interesting for me was the appearance of the individual bees. The previous swarm had a mixture of types, whereas this swarm seemed to have a higher proportion of the ‘Buckfast’ types in it. The question that this poses for me is whether or not the different patrilines within the hive have a tendency to separate during swarming.
Swarm nine was particularly easy to house, as it was on a small branch, at below head height. The queen was large, and orange, and should be easy to spot if needed.
Before I managed to get a few mouthfuls of tea down, I got a call to tell me that one of the Warre hives that I manage for a local company had swarmed. This was a scheduled check, carried out by somebody else, between two of my own checks, to give me time to do some work at home. I had been worried that we had missed a swarm, having watched one emerge, and get battered by gusty wind. The remnants returned to the hive, and I had expected it to try again within 48 hours. That hadn’t happenned. I cannot be sure, but I’m wondering if the original swarm had either lost it’s queen, or had somehow become split up. That would explain why it had taken nine days to swarm again, waiting for a new queen to emerge, and the winds to drop. It is also possible that this was a prime swarm from the other strong colony in this apiary. What was nice was that the owner saw the swarm, gathered on a fence post, for himself.
This swarm was put into a National hive, rather than a Warre, as we have lost some colonies to a combination of wasps, hornets, woodpeckers, and wind. This will give me the option to manage the colony conventionally, if I need to make increase for them.
A busy day, but very satisfying. I now need to sell some of these surplus colonies.
All of the best