Gauteng Smallholder October 2015 - Page 12

BEEKEEPING From page 8 sters about the hive the older longer build the large swarms bees decide that this is not the life for them, and a swarming that occur in European bees instinct prevails, and the that do not swarm off as mother queen, too, decides readily. I am of the opinion that in the it's time to move on. The scouts set about finding a new early Spring and October home and away they go. The there is a rapid breeding of first sign of these many young bees and our swarms become overloaded with too energetic young bees is a regular, at practically the same many young bees that have time daily, flight out of the not as yet become foraging hives for what are called bees. With all these young- orientation flights. Another sign is that one will notice that the bees cluster up the front of the hive. Once the scout bees have found new premises, there is not much one can do to stop the swarm off of the primary swarm. K Migratory swarms ~ This is a process of swarming brought about by a number of factors, mainly by mismanagement of the beekeeper himself. A shortage of forage and no follow-on of forage after the main source of forage has expired can cause migratory swarming. This is the case where a migrating beekeeper moves hives to, say, a sunflower crop where there is an abundance of pollen and nectar. This flow lasts about six weeks after which time there is absolutely no further forage about in the near vicinity for the bees. The beekeeper crops the 10 www.sasmallholder.co.za honey but fails to move the bees and they become exceedingly hungry. They clean out the entire hive of every morsel of pollen and nectar, no dead brood will be found but only a mass of clean empty cells throughout the hive. Another cause is overrobbing of the honey crop from a very strong hive. The beekeeper under-estimates the volume of honey that a very strong swarm needs to perform daily and the bees soon become hungry and move off. These swarms will move great distances to find adequate forage for their survival, perhaps being on the move as long as three weeks. By that time many of the older bees will have died of exhaustion and hunger, but sufficient survive to start up a new nest again. Continued on page 12