Preventing Swarming

From a talk by Michael Bush:

To prevent swarming, you can try to fool the bees into thinking they don’t have enough honey stores in the hive for the remaining bees to survive in that hive after a swarm.

To do this, in the box above the brood nest, alternate the frames between frames of capped honey and empty frames.

In our valley, that would probably need to be done in April.



November 14th: Installed Automatic Heat Controller

This is another experiment. It’s an automatic controller for the hive heater I installed. The light sensor on top is programmed to only come on from dusk to dawn. Below that is a temperature block that comes on at 35 degrees and goes off at 45 degrees. The heating pad is plugged into the temperature block. I also plugged a nightlight into the temperature block so that I can look out from the house and see if this thing is on.

heat controller

October 31st: Installed the Hive Heater

This is an idea I am going to try this winter. Because my hive is up on a stand with an open top, and I’m using a screen bottom board with the solid panel pulled out, I have the opportunity to add a little bit of heat to the hive during times of extreme cold this winter.
The hive stand allows me to create a skirt around the bottom and fill the cavity halfway up with wood shavings (for insulation). Then, inside that cavity, on top of the wood shavings, I’ve set a heating pad rolled up loosely inside a galvanized tin pipe.
Of course, I’ll only turn it on at night, only during the coldest nights, and just on low. My hope is that if we have a very cold winter, this little bit of additional heat will allow the cluster to move around and get to all the honey they’ve stored in the hive.
01 Hive Stand Skirt
02 Heater and Pipe
03 Under Hive
04 Heater under Hive
05 Cord from Hive