BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Fewer swarms than last year?

 #8  by DianeBees
 20 Jul 2018, 20:01
We've had very few swarm calls this year. More bumblebee calls as per usual but overall down I think.

It's been a late year for my own bees though and somehow it feels like the season might be ending soon. The brambles have fruited now and unless they have a second burst that'll be it apart from the balsam and then ivy.
 #35  by Patrick
 20 Jul 2018, 21:54
Same around here - very few indeed. Yet some of mine still tried to swarm so not quite clear what happened to all the ones from elsewhere? Usually expect a couple of dozen calls from householders and this year hardly any.

Wonder if it may have been a GDPR thing and a lot of local databases got wiped maybe?
 #211  by Fishman
 07 Aug 2018, 20:07
I have some tree hives and feral sites that I capture from all these to my knowledge swarmed at the end of May one definitely on the 30th May. Not sure if honey removal has affected heavily managed hives especially with the beast from the east. What I have noticed is that any colonies after swarming or from swarms have taken a long time to get going as it appears the weather caused a dearth by being far too dry.
 #214  by Patrick
 08 Aug 2018, 00:29
Hi Fishman

Welcome to the Forum! By tree hives is that what I probably wrongly call log hives i.e. up ended and sealed off lengths of tree trunk? Sounds fascinating, I have seen similar abroad but not in the UK. How do you find them ?

Not sure removing honey has much effect on conventional hives as long as they are not left without supers for the colony to expand into as necessary , one of the biggest man made prompters of swarming is probably not giving them enough space when they are expanding - usually by not adding supers early enough.
 #312  by DianeBees
 16 Aug 2018, 16:16
Had seen mention of a swarm in Accrington yesterday and I had a call:

I had a call from a man who insisted he had a honey bee nest.
He was quite insistent they were honey bees. He described it to me, saying it was a perfect cone.
I told him I needed a photo and he seemed reluctant but eventually agreed to send a photo.
When he sent the photos it turned out he'd only had it described to him by a workman and the photos he sent were definitely not honey bees. From the size of it I assume it's a bumblebee nest rather than wasps, but advice was to leave it a while longer and they'll all be gone.

So again, always always ask for a photo!
 #322  by Patrick
 17 Aug 2018, 13:01
It is interesting how people may take a slightly defensive view of their initial id of the problem being questioned and will sometimes be quite robust. However, having driven halfway across the county and back on many occasions for no good purpose, I thoroughly endorse Diane's requirement of a photo before setting off.

To which I would add with a definite swarm in any open location rather than a residence, ask for the reassurance it is still there right up until the moment you set off and the individual to be nearby to meet me and point it out - indeed I often refuse to set off until being assured by sight it is still there. Protestations they are still there (based on seeing them hours ago) or "you can't miss them" followed by driving to the described location and found zip are numerous. Also clarify no other beekeeper has been called - it is not unusual to arrive to be told a "chap/lady in a white suit took them away earlier". One of my only two swarm calls this year flew away literally as I arrived. I actually found that one quite amusing apart from the poor bees who were consigned to an uncertain fate somewhere.
 #683  by DianeBees
 19 Sep 2018, 09:25
Yes another wise piece of advice - "if they leave, tell me"
I always tell people to ring me if they move. I'd loaded the car up and was about to set off when one lady rang back to say they'd gone.
One swarm hanging from a bird table disappeared - another nice person ringing to save me a journey - and a separate phone call told me it arrived on the chinese food sign round the corner shortly after.

By the time we got to one lot someone had thrown a dustpan and brush at them.