So, with the warm weather spring has come early and we have bees swarming. Life is good if you’re a bee.
Last year we tried checkerboarding to reduce swarming, a technique where you insert undrawn frames into the brood nest moving the other frames up and into the middle of the box… it didn’t work.
This year we moved all our queen excluders up before winter to create two brood boxes, in effect knowing that as the honey stores come in they will push the brood back down into the bottom box, trying a method of checkerboarding that alternates empty and honey-filled frames above the brood. So far I think having the excluder up is the best method and is making a difference, though I’m not sure about the checkerboarding.
The next month or so will tell. It’s the busy time with very frequent hive checks as nothing strikes more fear into a bystander’s heart than a bee swarm, especially one in the city.