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Misadventures in Beekeeping



Misadventures in Beekeeping

As a beekeeping supplier, any feedback on the products we manufacture and sell is considered and appreciated. We are happy to answer questions and appease concerns our customers may have about keeping bees as well as provide information customers need to become successful beekeepers. We provide multiple avenues where customers may pose questions and concerns to our friendly and helpful staff. Apprehensions such as the ones relayed to our staff, have resulted in mistakes. To further aid our customers, we are creating a new section in our E-flier where we will delve into the beekeeping misadventures. We are turning to you to help by providing information on mistakes made in your beekeeping experiences. We all make mistakes; we are hoping that others may learn from sharing these mistakes. Each month we will select a winning entry and publish the information provided in the subsequent E-flier. The winner will receive 10% off their next order.

Entries must be submitted to with “Misadventures in Beekeeping” in the subject line. Please include a day time phone number at where you may be reached, should you be chosen as the winner.

After posting our latest video on ‘Catching a Swarm’, we received numerous stories of successes and failures from customers whom attempted swarm retrieval. Our customers primarily commented on how large the swarms were and how they obtained the swarm with a NUC rather than the Hipps Swarm Retriever shown in the video. Of all the comments made, we wanted to share this one with you:

The Swarm that Kept on Swarming.

A customer located a swarm on a branch ten feet off the ground and twenty yards away from its original hive. He left to gather swarm retrieval equipment and returned to find the swamr relocated to a branch fifteen feet high and over eighty yards away from its original position. The new location would require additional equipment, so he rushed to obtain a ladder before the swarm moved again.

He successfully ‘bumped’ the swarm into a cardboard box and transported the box to the location he intended to establish the new colony. He quickly assembled a new hive and transferred the bees. The customer checked the branch where he obtained the swarm and noticed a cluster of bees increasing in size before his eyes. Assuming he was unsuccessful at capturing the queen, he used a bee brush to push the bees into the box rather than bump the branch. He transferred the remaining bees into the hive and decided to wait until the following day before checking the swarm location. Unfortunately, he returned to find the newly established hive was empty as the swarm had returned to its orginal location. Frustrated at his failed attempts, he removed the swarm and transitioned them back into the hive. While inspecting the hive the following week, he found activity at the hive entrance and developing brood inside.

Tips on Successful Swarm Retrieval.
Be prepared with the correct swarm retrieval equipment when one is spotted in your area. A pre-established hive that is ready for the transfer is imperative to successful swarm retrieval. Any delays may result in missing out on free bees. The key to retrieving a swarm is obtaining the queen. If the queen is acquired and transitioned into a new hive, remaining bees from the swarm will follow. This is not to say that the queen will stay in the new hive. Providing a frame of brood may persuade the bees to remain and nurse the brood. Placing a queen excluder below the brood chamber will prevent the queen from exiting the hive. After the queen begins to lay, remove the queen excluder.