Swarm Control Manager's Report 2011

The BeeHolder, January 2012

The year started off fairly quietly and swarms were reported early May onwards.

Quite a few were in inaccessible places and appeared to be feral colonies of some standing which had over wintered and grown to such a point where they were becoming noticed by the public. However none of these were harvested despite numerous efforts by different beekeepers as they were in hollow trees, beneath floorboards, in soffits and behind stud walling.

During the early summer reports of swarms dropped off considerably, but then as the year went on the reports increased and quite a number of members were able to get hold of good swarms. Even so some lost their swarm overnight. Locking them in and feeding them is my solution, once you can get them building wax they seem to settle down and will be happy to occupy the hive.

Problems were again found due to members who asked for swarms, and at the time could not be contacted and when eventually contact was made were unable to collect them because they had either no means of collection or nowhere to hive them.

Another problem for me was the fact that when ringing some members I found that they had been finding and collecting their own swarms to such an extent that some had filled up to 5 hives and had no where to hive another swarm.

Both of these problems took a lot of unnecessary time and money ringing round, whereas if they had contacted me earlier to say that they were no longer interested in or able to collect swarms the waste could have been avoided.

Generally I think that most members, who required swarms, did get one or more, depending on the respective locations of the beekeeper and the swarm.

The last swarm reported was in the first week in October. This turned out to be in a roof 3 stories high with no access, and again appeared to be an older feral colony.

Roy Mander