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Bee Swarm Fever

Bee Swarms


Beekeepers, new or experienced, enjoy the thrill of catching swarms. Swarm season can start as early as August and conclude around Christmas (Southern Hemisphere). Seeing the swarm settling down in your hive box is exhilarating. It's one of the sweetest times in beekeeping.



Then bee swarm fever sets in. What are the symptoms of bee swarm fever? The beekeeper with the fever always carries their bee suit and a spare hive box in the car. Their phone is close at hand for the swarm call out. They are willing to drop everything to catch the next swarm before it moves on. There is no cure, every Spring the fever is back. I think I have bee swarm fever.


Caught the swarm. What is next?


Biosecurity.

If you don’t know the disease history of the bees, then consider isolating the bees from your main apiary. Set up an apiary at a new location exclusively for swarms. Give the swarm three months in the new apiary and conduct your usual pest and disease checks. If free of disease, then it can be incorporated into your main apiary.



Monitor the Queen.

You have put the swarm in the hive box. Then the swarm queen is asked to do the last huge job of her egg laying career. The old queen that has lost weight and went with the swarm, and is now going to build up a new population. Most of the time, the old queen will establish the brood in the swarm colony. There will be a time when the aged queen is not able to get the job done. She will be replaced by the colony or by the initiative of the beekeeper. It is important to check the queen as the colony re-establishes itself. Not all swarm colonies survive. Watch the queen and re-queen as necessary.


All the best with your bees.

Phil

 





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