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Domestic Bee Keeping - the wrong way

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  • Domestic Bee Keeping - the wrong way

    The householder's nightmare
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

  • #2
    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
    As a honeybee keeper, I'd like to point out this is rather common and in a way, what honeybees are inclined to do.

    Honeybees (like ants) are a social collective structure focused around the queen. Since the workers(all females, but nominally sterile) have at most an average lifespan of six weeks once hatched, the queen is constantly laying eggs; 1-2,000 a day in peak(Summer) season. After Winter decline to around 10,000 in the mostly "hibernating" colony, come Spring they will have the queen ramp up brood production and my late Spring to early Winter can peak out at about 40-60,000 in the hive (standard of two deep boxes).

    By then, if not sooner, "overcrowding" clues the colony it is time to "reproduce" which is done by the old queen and about half the workers leaving home, swarming, to find a new one. Initially the swarm departs the old hive boxes and going a few hundred feet or so, will anchor for a bit on a tree branch or similar, while scores of 'scouts' fly out to find a new home. They will be looking for a space similar in size to the old hive boxes and with a "roof" to keep out the rain, and these can range from a large tree with a hollow area in it, to an opening (usually in eaves/sofits) in a building that gives access to the inside.

    Meanwhile, the old colony/hive is busy making a new queen via altering some of the egg/larvae left behind.

    If this ever happens to you, try to find a local beekeeping club or bee-business as these usually have a swarm-catcher list of those anxious to try and retrieve your guests.

    BTW, have a thread on beekeeping here in the Mess Hall.
    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch


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