All of us in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales have experienced a massive amount of rain so far this year and at the end of last year. The direct result of all this rain has caused massive amounts of swarms which has kept us busy. We started off with quite a large one down at Palm Beach which took us two days to fully remove; these girls are now in numerous nucleus hives and are traveling along nicely. When the walls were removed I guessed that these girls had been in this location for at least two years and after talking to one of the neighbors that was confirmed.
They were quite placid while we were removing them and over the two days we only got a total of five stings. We have talked about Swarm Management back in January, 2014 and the importance of managing your bees correctly to ensure that the girls do not enter someones house like this. Firstly we clip the wing of the Queen so she is unable to fly, secondly we are always inspecting – especially after a large rain event – for swarm cells. We also ensure that there is always plenty of room for the Queen to lay her eggs and, finally, we keep up with extraction so when a large honey flow is present there is plenty of room for the girls to place their precious nectar which in turn is turned into honey. Unfortunately some people do not pay as much attention to their hives which in turn creates swarming conditions. Please note, if you ever see a swarm please do not hesitate to contact us or another Apiarist to ensure the girls are collected before they enter into someones house.
From the large scale hive removal down to a swarm which entered into a potting shed giving the lady a bit of a hard time. This was removed in no time at all and wired up onto a few frames and even the Queen was located. She was quite old which was easy to see by looking at how shiny her body was. We replaced her with a new young Queen a few weeks later and the hive is doing really well and is about to be removed from our Quarantine site.