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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Saturday, April 06, 2024

Swarm (Again) to Become a Resource Hive for my Apiary

 Last year I sold my original chicken coop to a friend from Butler, Georgia for money and a swarm of bees which he would deliver during swarm season. He puts up swarm traps on his farm in Butler and catches numerous swarms every year. So I took the money, gave him the chicken coop, and waited for my swarm.

Greg's life is complicated and he caught a great swarm for me in about May 2023, but circumstances kept delaying his delivery of this swarm. Long story short, he didn't get the swarm to me until October 2023 and it was still in the swarm trap up in its original tree location for all of that time. In Atlanta, October isn't a time to move bees, so I left them in the swarm trap for winter and hoped for the best. 

I tried something different this winter and wrapped my hives with purchased hive wraps that I only employed around the brood area of the hive. Totally wrapped hives in Georgia often result in a moisture problem, but I reasoned that keeping the brood area warmer might be a good thing. So I also wrapped the swarm trap. 

When spring arrived, all of my hives in my yard lived through the winter and were bursting at the seams with bees. My friend Peter came over to help me open the swarm trap and move the bees into a hive. In the swarm trap there were five deep frames but in addition to building comb on the deep frames, these bees had drawn comb below the deeps to the bottom of the swarm trap. Their length was about the height of three medium boxes. I didn't want to disturb them by cutting and wiring the comb into frames, so we just put the five frames into the box and filled in the sides of the boxes with regular medium frames. 

I can inspect the two medium boxes on the top of the hive above the transferred frames, but I can't really manage the brood, etc. in the bottom three boxes. Meanwhile, it's swarm season and this hive that was trapped in the swarm trap for a year just can't get enough of swarming!

So it sent out a primary swarm on May 24 and I gave that swarm to a new beekeeper who didn't have bees yet. Then on April 3, it swarmed again and landed on my deck rail. I gave that one away to a beekeeper whose hives had died over the winter. Then on April 5, it sent out another secondary swarm, again landing on the deck. I decided I should keep this one as a resource nuc. 

Here's the video of the whole process:

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