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Author Topic: Controlling swarming ...  (Read 466 times)

Offline CoolBees

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Controlling swarming ...
« on: July 01, 2019, 10:23:20 pm »
Bill, [tip-a-th?-hat back to ya] I appreciated your comments (on the other thread) regarding controlling swarming via less space, rather than more space. Made perfect sense.

I read the Aussie posts as often as I read the NA posts here. I've found that my conditions/flow/season (in the People's Republic of California) more closely follow yours, than not. My flow starts in October with citrus, then eucalyptus Nov/Dec, etc ... and ends in May.

Anyways - I appreciate your many comments here. There's a lot of humor and wisdom in what you say.  ... at least the ones I'm able to understand  :cheesy: :shocked: :cheesy:

Cheers!
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline eltalia

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Re: Controlling swarming ...
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2019, 10:37:07 pm »
Apols for the late kickoff,
Life, ya noe...like.
A shout for our USA brethren on their holiday - mind how you go with the
 fireworks, no 999 calls hey, hopefully!

My input relys on the two posts linked to below.
https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=49624.msg470646#msg470646
https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=49624.msg470688#msg470688

I'll preface the work with the concession not all will own the conditions
or maybe the philosophy to undertake an alternative to the swarm
management they have in place. The important element of b'kpn is
SM is practised.

In facilitating an income our Vietnamse brother is removing brood
to sell, keeping the bees to make more brood to sell - effectively a
perpetual source of supply _and_ in real terms, a broodbreak.
He cannot afford to have bees swarm nor service more storage than
is required to raise brood so he keeps the colony to a single box
packed to the rafters with bees, relying on attrition through age and
the rebuilding of brood to maintain those numbers in a volume of
space they usually would vacate - moreso being Cerana, a known
swarmy strain. So where such works with them the same concept will
work with other swarmy or not so swarmy strains.
And it does - as was practiced in our pollination operation, back when.

I am not going to layout our method here, primarily because it is our
"intellectual property" and so commercial in confidence - these things
have a habit of turning up in tomes or weBlogs, only produced to make
make money and often not even edited by a beekeeper.
What I will provide is the theoretical concept which then may allow
others to develop steps either through discussion or trial.


The beekeeper needs to recognise and know each of the four 'phases' of ecological process for Apis - Establishment/Survival/Expansion/Reproduction. Reproduction requires a swarm with a mated queen to replicate themselves in establishing a new colony away from the parent - so for the managed colony this phase has to be avoided, maintaining the colony in Expansion mode.
For any particular local anywhere on the Planet the b'keep knows the timing for each phase and so manages around them, basic stuff.
Yet pay attention and the bees will tell you when they are switching from Expansion to Reproduction, or are at least thinking about it.
One biological signal is enthusiastic drone laying at the extents of the broodnest - frames #2/#7/#8 of a 9/10 broodchamber (BC). That fixation
alone provides brief worker broodbreak, and is noticeable as eggs in the central broodnest wane with cells of emerged brood cleaned but not used increasing in numbers.
For Expansion we (Man) do not usually desire any deviation of the queen from worker brood lay so as soon as the bees begin to think Reproduction is on we change their mind in reconfigging the broodnest, effectively what our Vietnamese brother is up to.
Yet many a teaching says to wait for serviced queen cups set to morph into queen cells (QC) to appear before doing anything. Biologicly this is way too late as the swarm urge is well installed, so even with cell/cup removal  AND frame manipulation AND extra space they may  STILL  continue building QCs. All the while not focussed on production, more keen
in building what is needed to ping off. The key then is not to let them get beyond thinking about it, to keep right on Expanding, seeing a need to Expand.
We do this by introducing a broodbreak. Confining the queen to a set area of cells bees still recognise she is present but not able to be coerced to lay across frames. There exist a number of options in "how to"(confine), individual choice applies. As uncapped brood grows and is capped with bees emerging creating 'aged' nurse bees leaving excessive empty broodconb, the queen on release is herded into laying up those cells again... and so it goes on until conditions deny swarming alltogether.
Compare that outcome to making "on the fly" suppositions in moving frames/boxes around only to find on next inspection a 'lazy' hive loaded with cups/QCs.
Now as flows begin there are masses of bees at foraging age, not lost to a swarm, well ready to fill supers then provided.
Sure, the numbers built may well 'frighten' many a b'keep owning images of all bees in the box at all times, frames (empty) ready to be drawn/filled.
But not even close to the 'fright' of going to the yard to see your bees hanging off a limb 40feet in the air, or worse, opening a box only to find a cluster of bees hanging off one frame, looking lost and forlorn, figuratively speaking.

This got way long, out of hand.
Discuss?

Bill


Offline CoolBees

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Re: Controlling swarming ...
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2019, 12:17:37 am »
Etalia - thank you. I thought  (due to lack of response) that I'd stumbled into the wrong bar ...  :grin:

Very kind of you to respond. I get what your saying - not likely all will - but we don't compete - so I hope that's "ok" ...

Everything you said makes sense ... to me. ... smart approach & wise analysis .... imho.

... I always read your posts - much wisdom in b'king there - for those paying attention.

Thank you again Sir.

Alan
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Bee North

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Re: Controlling swarming ...
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2019, 07:06:41 am »
Thanks Bill
I have a question.
I understand the hive knows its queen right when the queen is caged due to pheromones. But do they ever react to the fact that she isnt laying eg. supersedure or laying workers.
Are the pheromones alone enough to keep the hive content?

Sorry mate im at that dreaded stage of having a little knowledge with even less experience = more questions!

I purchased a few full depth queen cages ready for spring. I do plan to make a couple of nucs first off but have the cages ready if the numbers get too high all the same.

Thanks for your post.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Controlling swarming ...
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2019, 08:46:15 am »
Good post Bill.
Thanks for that in depth info on swarm control.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Troutdog

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Re: Controlling swarming ...
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2019, 09:14:47 pm »
So I'm imagining a lot of work goes into this management.
Frame excluders like for grafting, rotating frames etc.
How many colonies can you run by yourself doing this strategy?

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Offline eltalia

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Re: Controlling swarming ...
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2019, 06:09:16 am »
Etalia - thank you. I thought  (due to lack of response) that I'd stumbled into the wrong bar ...  :grin:

Very kind of you to respond. I get what your saying - not likely all will - but we don't compete - so I hope that's "ok" ...

Everything you said makes sense ... to me. ... smart approach & wise analysis .... imho.

... I always read your posts - much wisdom in b'king there - for those paying attention.

Thank you again Sir.

Alan

/blush/

Nah mate... got a bit on my plate these days, mobs to catch up on
after months of shi7e weather (wet season) along with some I hope
minor health issues... very sporadic desktop times, sorry.
This concept is 'radical', I am sure I've tried broaching the topic before
today buuuut up until Max's report I've not had independent anecdote
to back it. And I've yet to recognise anything similar around the Net.
It is something that can be played with (trialled) over a colony or two
and so develop individual methods.

Thanks for the kind words.

Bill

Offline eltalia

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Re: Controlling swarming ...
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2019, 06:30:04 am »
Thanks Bill
I have a question.
I understand the hive knows its queen right when the queen is caged due to pheromones.
But do they ever react to the fact that she isnt laying eg. supersedure or laying workers.
Are the pheromones alone enough to keep the hive content?
[edit]
Thanks for your post.
No worries Alan...
... perhaps were she kept caged long enough to have all brood emerged
there might be an issue for the whole of the colony, as in laying workers
syndrome (LWS) kicking in some time after, like a fortnight or so.
Never tested it to know, and certainly we've had times when through
mishap or memory loss queens have been caged way too long.

IF you are thinking your FIFO might extend caged times I'd say to
play safe with caging, as depending on the state of the colony
and forage 9 days in the cage should be plenty... well inside your
turn around time to get back Home, eh?

Bill

Offline Bee North

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Re: Controlling swarming ...
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2019, 06:37:24 am »
Thanks Bill.

Offline eltalia

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Re: Controlling swarming ...
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2019, 09:18:40 pm »
So I'm imagining a lot of work goes into this management.
Frame excluders like for grafting, rotating frames etc.
How many colonies can you run by yourself doing this strategy?

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

There isn't sufficient detail in the report to know for sure so I could
only offer two avenues of thought.
Being in the culture it may well be he runs a "one for one" recycle service
along with straight "pay and go" sales. This would change the rebuild
equation, for both bees and the operator.
The second 'attraction' is he is doing nothing else, like all that work
 around honeybadgerin', not forgetting equipment not bee related
but honey related.
And why..?..simply as he cuts extra stores out of the cycle.

Our version of my description saw one fulltime employee during the
'season' with up to four casuals on restructure days, usually with both
of us putting in the weekend also. The total pool hovered around 250
with maybe 160 or so put on agistment after the season.

... posted assuming yours is a c'mrcl question, TD?
For the number of colonys an urban backyard would support
a lone b'keep would handle the practice easy, argueably easier
than "throw on a box and remove QCs".

Bill