Swarm control and management of honey bee colonies
In a sense the combs in a honey bee nest are an extension of the bees that made them and it is really the bees and combs together that constitute the colony. In fact, the average honey bee worker spends 95% of her life on the combs in the hive. The combs are built to be multi-purpose in the sense that they can be used for both brood and storage (honey and pollen). They are also the place where all the exchange of information that enables the colony to control its activity takes place. Because this occurs in the dark, communication is through chemical signals (pheromones), trophallaxis and vibration signals. The combs provide an ideal forum where this can take place. The architectural rules that the bees follow when constructing their nest have been understood since the early 19th century and the efficient working of a moveable frame hive depends on the beekeeper complying with these rules. An understanding of bee-space is essential so that the bees can build combs that meet both their own needs and those of the beekeeper. A colony will only draw combs when and where they have an immediate use for them and the resources to make new wax. Successful comb management requires the beekeeper to understand all these factors.
The General Husbandry is an assessment to prove to yourself that you are a competent beekeeper managing your own hives in the variety of the situations the bees often throw up over the years.
The holder of this assessment can truly be proud of their beekeeping. This booklet hopes to guide you through techniques used successfully by experienced beekeepers.
Showing two assessors round your beekeeping enterprise can be quite a trial. It is easier to reproduce a task if it comes from physical memory rather than just book learnt so practising the manoeuvres required means you are confident.
This booklet does not include all the sections of the syllabus. The major omission is disease but APHA produce excellent booklets with good photographic illustrations on disease.
This booklet originally published by the Welsh Beekeepers Association this title is meant for those with two or three hives who wish to make small increases without influencing the eventual honey crop.
“Stephen Repasky and Lawrence Connor present a guided tour of what we humans have learned so far about the biology of swarming by honey bee colonies. Given the wonders and mysteries of honey bee swarms it will be extremely useful to all keen beekeepers.” Thomas Seeley, Cornell University.”Swarm Essentials is THE complete book on the topic that has, and continues to befuddle many beekeepers. The authors “deconstruct” the entire swarming process, the myriad methods beekeepers have devised to manage swarming, the impact of swarms in our environment and how to capture and manage new swarms. A delightful and informative read.” Maryann Frazier, Senior Extension Associate, Pennsylvania State University