Honey Bee Swarm Season 2018

Swarms are exciting! It is the birth of a new colony.

Want to report a swarm?  –  Please notify me via the contact form below.

Honey bees are a valuable asset, and a beekeeper would be able to give a swarm a good home with good care.

Before leaving the original colony, honey bees gorge on honey for the journey to move to a new home. Generally speaking, they not very defensive. However, they can be enticed to sting. Please, do NOT spray with poisons or try to kill them. Swarms are only in a temporary resting place until they rest enough to move on to their final destination.

Swarming activity is a very common occurrence in April and May. Many people find them in their yards on trees or bushes or other places. Swarms can be harmed by high winds, hail, and heavy rains as well as sometimes cold, freezing weather.

As a public service, and free of charge, I will be more than happy to remove or pick-up your un-welcomed honey bee swarm!  I am available in Johnson, Wyandotte, and Miami counties in Kansas, as well as eastern Jackson and southern Platte counties in Missouri. I will even try to leave you with a small jar of honey for your effort. I have 45 years experience working with honey bees.

Find a swarm of honey bees?

  • Do not disturb or spray the swarm with water, soap or insecticide.
  • Stay calm. Try to understand what is happening, and that swarming honey bees are not defensive or dangerous unless you might disturb them.
  • A swarm will usually move from the original location within 24 to 48 hours; therefore, if a beekeeper is not available to collect the bees from a homeowner’s property, the bees will normally leave without causing a problem.

Submit the ‘contact form’ below, and I will receive immediate notification via email through my mobile device. I’ll be in touch with you in short order. Thank you for your notification!

If I am unable to come get the swarm, I will pass on the information to another beekeeper who can be of help. For swarms in other areas of Kansas outside of my region, please use this list from the NEKBA or Kansas State University link for a list of other beekeepers throughout Kansas that are also looking for a swarm.

Disclaimer.

As a disclaimer, I cannot assume responsibility related to the swarm collection or extraction activity, and I shall be held harmless for any actions or activities related to any honey bee collection, including but not limited to information used, liabilities, or resultant damages, injuries, or bodily harm that might occur. Thank you!

Understanding the Beekeeping Cycle

It’s important for new beekeepers to understand the beekeeping cycle. This topic came about as I had been perusing a book on cattle and came across a paragraph on the subject of ‘the cattle cycle’. The book is a gift for a family member, who has been raising cattle now for several decades now.

Beekeeping follows the cycles of the season. This is especially important for new beekeepers to learn and understand. The cycles differ from region to region in the country. I will only be talking about how the cycle runs for our region in NE Kansas.

Fall/Winter Activity

September to January can be considered the beginning of the new beekeeping year for the colony. The prosperity of hive depends greatly on the condition of the colony during this time of year. Diminishing colony population, beginning in late summer, along with the reduction of food sources – incoming nectar (carbo-hydrates) & pollen (protein) causes a reduction in brood-rearing. Bees born during this time of year will be the younger, longer-lived bees to carry the colony through to the next year.

I like to call this reduction the ‘period of decline’ in the beekeeping season.

As the temperatures begin to lower, the bees come together and form a cluster. They will break and fly on days of sun and when the temperature climbs to the lower 50’s (F) and  higher.  The more the temps drop, the tighter the cluster will form with the outer layer of bees in the cluster becoming tightly compressed, insulating the bees on the inside of the cluster. Clusters expand and contract with the rise and fall of day and night-time temperatures. In warming periods, when possible, the colony cluster will break and shift positions to maintain contact with combs containing honey and food resources.

Colony strength in winter usually depends on the amount of food stores and the population of younger bees that would have been produced in the fall. An ample supple of pollen & honey for winter with a healthy population of younger bees produced in the fall generally means a higher spring population.

Spring Activity

The “period of growth” for the colony starts in mid-January in our area with the lengthening of the daylight, which I’ve seen by an increase in egg-laying by the queen. The new brood is not significant at first but aids in the beginning of the replacement of bees that have already died during the winter. Older bees will continue to die off but the younger bees from the new brood rearing cycle will begin their replacement.

New sources of food from the Maples, which usually bloom in mid- to late February will kick the colony into higher gear for the stimulation of rearing brood.

 

Updates on this discussion will follow in the near future (posted 1*21*2014)