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March Swarms

So, here I am, fairly confident that we are only about 2 weeks ahead of schedule in my beekeeping world and a buddy pings me with a large swarm caught in New Kent County, yesterday!!! For the most part, I have to tell myself that Mother Nature knows best, but having seen hives swarm in […]

Queens, Swarms and Queen Excluders

On Mother’s Day, I received a call from a fellow on the north side of Richmond about a swarm. It was a 25 minute drive and from a location that I have not collected a swarm before. Plus, he kept going on about how big the thing was, so I couldn’t resist!

But, Sunday was […]

Crazy Swarms

With everything going on from monitoring Nuc’s, creating new Nuc’s, keeping honey supers on the hives and making sure that any hive that swarmed has a viable, new queen, I often farm out swarm calls to folks that I know. The primary exceptions to this rule are my own swarms (I want those genetics) and […]

Reversing Reconsidered…

One of the tactics utilized in March (in my area – central Virginia, near Richmond) to prevent or discourage swarming is a tactic known as Reversing. Simply put, you take the top brood box and move it to the bottom of the set-up. The strategy is based on the idea that the bees will have […]

Beekeeping 201 and Swarm Cells

Yesterday, I held the first Beekeeping 201 Class, focusing on Spring Nuc’s with a hands on workshop in my yard. The class was pushed back a week, due to the wild weather of March, which effectively created a wild ‘lab’ for everyone. I told everyone that we might find one of the hives in ‘swarm […]

Ain’t Worth a Fly!

A swarm in May is worth a bale of hay, a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon and a swarm in July ain’t worth a fly! I’ve repeated these wise words from my father and grandfather many times on this blog and it has always been proven out. But, I think I may […]

Let’s Have a Picnic!

The other evening, around 6 pm, the cellphone rings and a fairly nervous fellow begins to explain that a mass of bees has created a nest under the picnic table at his work! Based on the initial description, I immediately thought ‘yellow jackets’ (and that’s not something I tangle with…)! But, as he went on […]

Should Have Been Here Last Week!

Honey Bee Swarm in Chesterfield, Virginia

I received a swarm call referral (through David Stover) from a family down in Chesterfield (Andy and Pat). When I arrived, it was a nice-sized swarm that was positioned perfectly on a shrub off of their front porch. While talking with Pat and Andy, I commented that it […]

First Full Inspections of the Year

With the weather being what it is, I had decided to start my full inspections in the middle of February (instead of early March, per usual.) A full inspection means that I open the hive and pull every frame. What’s the big deal? There are two big reasons why doing this in February (in a […]

October Swarm?

It’s October 19. For a Beekeeper in Central Virginia, that typically means we have had our first frost. Most blooming things are dead or dying, nectar has stopped and only old, dried pollen remains for the next few months. So, if you are a honey bee in Central Virginia, swarming today would really be a […]