A Successful Method
Categories: ARTIFICIAL SWARMS.
Bee Keeping: Mysteries Of Bee-keeping Explained
When you are all ready, take a stock that can spare a swarm; if bees
are on the outside, raise the hive on wedges, and drive them in with a
little water, and disturb them gently with a stick. Now smoke and
invert it, setting the empty hive over. If the two hives are of one
size, and have been made by a workman, there will be no chance for the
bees to escape, except the holes in the side; these you will stop; (no
about a sheet tied around it.) With a light hammer or stick,
strike the hive a few times lightly, and then let it remain five
minutes. This is very essential, because most of the bees, if allowed
the opportunity, will fill themselves with honey after such
All regular swarms go forth so laden. A supply is necessary when bad
weather follows soon after. It is also used in forming wax, a very
necessary article in a new hive. The amount of honey carried out of a
stock by a good swarm, together with the weight of the bees (which is
not much), will vary from five to eight pounds.
This, allowing time for the bees to fill their sacks, and supplying the
old stock with a royal cell, I believe is entirely original: the
importance of which the reader can judge.
ADVANTAGES OF THIS METHOD.
It is very plain that a queen from such finished cell must be ready to
deposit eggs several days sooner than by any other method that we can
adopt. It is also clear that if we have a dozen queens depositing eggs
by the 10th of June, that our bees are increasing faster, on the whole,
than if but half that number are engaged in it for a month later. There
is yet another advantage. The sooner a young queen can take the place
of the old one in maternal duties, the less time will be lost in
breeding, the more bees there will be to defend the combs from the
moth, and the surest guaranty for surplus honey.
When the bees have filled their sacks, proceed to drive them into the
upper hive by striking the lower one rapidly from five to ten minutes.
A loud humming will mark their first movement. When you think half or
two-thirds are out, raise the hive and inspect progress. They are not
at all disposed to sting in this stage of proceeding, even when they
escape outside. If full of honey, they are seldom provoked to
resentment. The only care will be not to crush too many that get
between the edges of the hives. The loud buzzing is no sign of anger.
If your swarm is not large enough, continue to drive till it is. When
done, the new hive should be set on the stand of the old one. A few
minutes will decide whether you have the queen with the swarm, as they
remain quiet: otherwise uneasy, and run about, when it will be
necessary to drive again.
If both hives are one color, set the old one two feet in front; but if
of different colors, a little more. I prefer this position to setting
the old stock on one side, even when there is room; yet it can make but
little difference. Should you set it on one side, let the distance be
less. When the old stock is taken much farther than this rule, all the
bees that have marked the location (and all the old ones will have done
so) will go back to the old stand, and none but young bees that have
never left home will remain. The same will be the case with the new
swarm if moved off. It will not do to depend on the old queen keeping
them, as she does when they swarm out naturally. This has been my
experience. Try it, reader, and be satisfied, by putting either of the
hives fifteen or twenty feet distant.
Before you turn over the old stock, look among the combs as far as
possible for queens' cells; if any contain eggs or larvae, you may
safely risk their rearing a queen; but otherwise wait till next
morning, or at least twenty-four hours, then go to a stock that has
cast a swarm, and obtain a finished royal cell, as before directed, and
introduce it. You will have a queen here as soon as if it had been left
in the original hive, and no risk of an after swarm, because there is
but one. But when there are young queens in the cells at the time of
driving, after swarms may issue. Should a queen-cell be introduced
immediately, it is more liable to be destroyed than after waiting
twenty-four hours; and then is not always safe. After it has had time
to hatch, (which is about eight days after being sealed), cut it out,
and examine it: if the lower end is open, it indicates that a perfect
queen has left it, and all is safe; but if it is mutilated or open at
the side, it is probable that the queen was destroyed before maturity,
in which case, another cell will have to be given them.