There’s been a great deal of coverage in the media about disappearing honey bees in the past year or so. Experts speculate about what may be causing the mysterious disappearing act – cell phones, viruses, weather (climate change/global warming). It may be years before we know the answers, if we ever do.
As an avid gardener, it’s concerning to think that the bee population is on the decline since our food supply is so dependent on these little buzzing pollinators. I live in a suburban area with not enough property to become a bee keeper and I have enough respect for the honey bees and all types of bees that I would want to learn as much about bee keeping as possible before attempting to raise bees for honey.
Fortunately I work with an organic farmer who has become quite adept at raising honey bees and he’s very generous with the harvest each year. He studied at the University of Minnesota and has been raising bees for honey and to pollinate his crops for several years now. The sweet taste of clover honey cannot be beat by any store bought honey on the shelf. To learn more about raising your own honey bees, start here: BeeKeeping For Beginners
During spring is the perfect time when honeybees produce offspring. The natural means of breeding for honey bees is named swarming. The springtime swarming period typically go on approximately three weeks. Generally one swarm of honey bees break up and becomes 2 in the course of the swarming period.
As swarming typically means a loss of production thus beekeepers try to prevent the behavior. One way that beekeepers get rid of swarming in their hives is via acquiring new bees each spring to change their previous bees that they turned out of the hives the previous fall. Another method often used by beekeepers to prevent swarming is the creation of a starter colony. Creating a starter hive and afterward dividing it encourages bees to stay in their hives. Some beekeepers believe that bees just swarm once they have plenty of food within the hive. Beekeepers who subscribe to this concept utilize a technique known as checker boarding to prevent their bees from swarming. When a beekeeper checkerboards their hives they take away a few of the full frames of honey, giving the bees the illusion that they don’t have any honey in stock, and therefore discouraging the bees from swarming.
It is uncommon for a bees to swarm when there’s a new queen in the bee hive. When time passes and the Queen becomes old is when the hive typically prepares to swarm, usually the elderly queen departs with the primary swarm, leaving a virgin queen in her place. When the elderly queen is getting ready to swarm with the primary swarm she stops laying eggs. She concentrates on getting fit enough to fly when she departs the hive (the only different time the queen has flown is when she went out on her nuptial flight). As smaller swarms leave the hive they’re commonly accompanied by the virgin queen.
Once they first depart the hive in a swarm, bees do not usually go far away from the hive they’ve at all times known. As soon as fleeing the nest the bees choose a close-by tree limb or underneath an eave. The worker bees bunch around the queen, protecting her. Once they have the queen safe, a number of bees, scouts, look around till they find a suitable hive to turn into their new home.
A number of beekeepers see swarming as a technique to refill their hives. A professional bee keeper has no trouble catching a bunch of swarming bees. Beekeepers use a tool called a Nasrove Pheromone to attract swarming honey bees. After they swarm, honey bees carry no additional food together with them. The one honey they are permitted to take from the parent hive is the honey they consumed. Even if honey bees normally swarm only in the course of the spring the same just isn’t true of Africanized Bees, also known as Killer Bees. The Africanized Bees swarm at any time when they’ve a difficult time looking for food. Even though they usually don’t go after individuals when they are swarming, their is something about the site of a swarm of bees that scares folks. It is not unusual for a beekeeper to be called out to catch a colony of swarming bees.