Swarms! Two days ago, I captured 6 swarms. This is a new daily record and this season has set a record for how many total swarms the bees have produced. So, I ask why?
Several widely recognized preventative measures were utilized to help slow down the swarm urge and I cannot say with any certainty that these procedures did not have some effect. Brood area congestion is suggested as the strongest incentive, so frames of foundation were added early, and brood was moved into nucs and weaker hives. These frames are now drawn out and back into brood production. Additional supers were added early so that there would be space for the increasing flow of nectar. Bottom supers were moved above the brood giving more space for brood and storage. All textbook stuff!
As the spring progressed, frames with swarm cells were used to make nucs and fill queen castles. Protein feeding had been stopped just before dandelions bloomed.
So, what is different this season?
I was not able to schedule a queen shipment from my preferred supplier and then the worldwide pandemic lock down stopped many of the methods I normally follow. This led to a space and equipment availability issue where I am mostly out of equipment and switched to queen cells and swarm capture for extra hives.
This has been somewhat successful in that I have saved a lot of money from not buying queens and now have most of my equipment in use. So far there is mixed results with swarms and queen cells, but it is early in the process and weather has been not the best for queen mating.
I plan to revert back into my standard process which is to make mid-summer nucs for over wintering. The bees probably have other plans. They are usually better at the process and I always learn about beekeeping from watching how the bees do it.