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Maintaining hive numbers without excess swarming

 
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Jasbee
Nurse Bee


Joined: 18 Nov 2014
Posts: 39
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:17 pm    Post subject: Maintaining hive numbers without excess swarming Reply with quote

Hi,

We are on a suburban block so have a limit to the number of hives we can legally have. We have also almost exhausted our other options (family places) and are wondering what others do to maintain (not increase) a set number of hives without allowing them to throw swarms (neighbours & family not keen on this if we can avoid it). I know it's an unusual problem as most people want to increase hive numbers, but a few hives is all we want to manage.

We live near Sydney, Australia so don't have the major problems with winter losses (our bees continue to forage all winter) nor do we yet have varroa mite.

Any ideas on how to naturally maintain the same number of hives without just letting them swarm?

Thanks
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you will have to stay on top of your bees, especially during the swarm season, and be prepared to manage them using some form of artificial swarming, such as the Demaree method, which can be used in top bar hives as well as frame hives.

As a bi-product, you could easily generate nucs, which you could sell locally.
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I either do a simple split early in the season and recombine later after the main swarm season OR add another box and open the brood nest early in the season. When they settle down after the swarming season and the summer derth starts you can reduce them down to a managable size.

Either way you will have to keep an eye on them for signs of swarming but acting early is the way to go as once they make up their mind to go they will go.

Cheers
Rob.
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Jasbee
Nurse Bee


Joined: 18 Nov 2014
Posts: 39
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks both for you help and sharing your knowledge.
We've been looking into the Demaree method and working out how it would work for us in our horizontal Langstroth.
We'll have to workout what's needed to produce nucs to an appropriate standard to sell.
Splitting and combining or opening up the brood nest are both options we'll try.
Thankyou very much for your advice
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