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We are currently looking into bee keeping

GardenMamaGardenMama Posts: 95 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Beekeeping

But I'm finding conflicting information about bees swarming.

Some keepers say it's something they try for and it's not common.

Others say it's something you want to avoid.

I'm conflicted since I have no first hand bee experience.

Thoughts? Good trusted resources for Bee Keeping I may have overlooked?


  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,390 admin

    I'm not a bee keeper yet. But, according to what I learned from the Penn State beekeeping program, bees swarm when they need space, are stressed need or a new queen. You can avoid swarming by taking care of your bees well and, if need be, re-queening. When wild bees swarm, you may be able to capture them for your hives.. and that, is a good thing.

  • GardenMamaGardenMama Posts: 95 ✭✭✭

    Thanks!!! That makes more sense. I'm guessing the wild swarming would be what the others I've read have been referring to.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,390 admin

    Probably. They made it look easy in the classes, to capture a swarm.... but, I'd be pretty freaked out to try it with no experience. Once they settle on a limb or something, you put a box underneath and give the limb a sudden shake to knock them off into the box... close the lid and take them home.

  • HassenaHassena Posts: 311 ✭✭✭

    We just got our bees! They were captured swarms. The captured swarms are supposedly healthier than importing queens . Time will tell. :)

    We've had our bees for about 3 months. We check them weekly. Once the brood box is full, we will add another box Hopefully keeping the hive from swarming.

    Are there any local bee keeping groups near you? They'd be able to provide first hand experience on pests to look for. What they do to capture a swarm. How they keep their bees from swarming.

    @judsoncarroll4 You are correct most of the time the swarm is so concentrated on protecting the queen that they stick together. We purchased our bees from someone that catches swarms.

    I am also reading this book, to be a better beekeeper https://www.amazon.com/Song-Increase-Listening-Honeybees-Beekeeping/dp/1622037448

    best of luck.

  • moreyshadypinesmoreyshadypines Posts: 72 ✭✭✭

    Beekeeping is a fantastic journey. It does take some work, but the benefits outweigh the effort. There are quite a few online tutorials that can provide the basics, but nothing does better than just observing their behavior. When do they come out in the morning? When do they come in at night? What direction do they fly when they come out and where are they going? This is an

    indicator of what they prefer as a nectar source. Be sure to keep a supply of water nearby, a bird bath or something similar, but keep objects in it for bees to land on, they drown easy. One of the goals as a beekeeper is to minimize the distance the bees have to fly for their "groceries". The shorter the distance, the less time in the air, the more time creating the hive and the less energy they expend doing that. The bees will return the favor.

  • GardenMamaGardenMama Posts: 95 ✭✭✭

    Thanks so much for this! I'd love an update on your bees whenever you'd like to share

  • GardenMamaGardenMama Posts: 95 ✭✭✭

    Oh I love this! Overall there is still some fear for me with them but I figure itll get better and better

  • moreyshadypinesmoreyshadypines Posts: 72 ✭✭✭

    One of the very best books on bee keeping - a standard in the industry is:

    First Lessons in Beekeeping by Keiths Delaplane

    Dadants beekeeping supply is a go to look or purchase supplies.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 708 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi @GardenMama . Is there a local bee club in your area? I have been keeping bees for over 20 years and still am learning new things every year. If you can find a mentor and help them work their hive(s) it is also very helpful. Love my bees!!

  • GardenMamaGardenMama Posts: 95 ✭✭✭

    @moreyshadypines thanks! I'll grab it.

    @tomandcara I'll check into a bee club. I never even thought about looking for one! I do know that there have been people willing to take on newbees (ugh terrible dad joke, but I had to) and teach in exchange for work. I'll have to make a more concentrated effort to find someone who is offering that.

  • CorneliusCornelius Posts: 307 ✭✭✭

    My friend is a beekeeper and he says that to capture a swarm that there are bee boxes that you put up in a tree. When bees swarm they actually attach to a tree branch as a group and then send out scouts to find a suitable place to live. If one finds your swarm box then you just got free bees (check often and this usually occurs during spring). Also he said to watch out for going into the hive to often as this can stress out the bees and cause them to swarm (opening the box once a week is what he recommends).

    I hope this helps.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 708 ✭✭✭✭

    Good advise @Cornelius. As I have said other times @GardenMama choose a hive style that fits you and once you have done that, if you are using a Swarm trap, try to get one that will allow an easy transition to the style of bee hive you have chosen.

  • Suburban PioneerSuburban Pioneer Posts: 221 ✭✭✭

    I'm looking forward to FINALLY getting a swarm next year, and am planning on a "transplanted" wild one (probably a 'nuisance' swarm brought in by a local service here that traps and transplants unwanted swarms). I've been doing my reading ahead of time, and would recommend reading 'The Song of Increase' by Jacqueline Freeman. It presents bees - and how to interact with them - in a hugely insightful way that I've never seen anybody ever present, before.

  • Suburban PioneerSuburban Pioneer Posts: 221 ✭✭✭

    Has anybody used a Warre hive? I understand they have many advantages over the Langstroth, especially in colder climates. They're much more "bee-centric", but I'd like feedback from those who have actually used them. Thanks/

  • MartiinCentral OregonMartiinCentral Oregon Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    I have kept bees for many years. Bee swarming is mother natures way of reproducing hives. In the spring when the hive gets full the bees will produce a new queen and then the older queen will take half of the hive and find a new home. It does not harm the old hive except to make the population smaller. If you are very into honey then you do not want your bees to swarm as the smaller population will produce less honey. If you are more into just pollination and not worried about honey then you don't have to worry much about them swarming.

    When bees swarm they are a scary sight to the common lay person....however when swarming they are just balling up around the queen. They are gorged full of honey and seldom if ever sting. I have caught many a swarm....if you can get the older queen the rest will usually just follow her into her new home. I say USUALLY because the one thing that you can be sure of about bees is that you can NEVER be sure about them. THey will always do something they are supposed to...until they don't. BUt that's the fun of it.

  • GardenMamaGardenMama Posts: 95 ✭✭✭

    This has been so enlightening! And definitely a confidence boost. I appreciate all of you that took the time to write in and help me through this

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