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Auckland Bee Club Meetup – Swarming Season

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Good Turnout at Auckland Bee Club
Good Turnout at Auckland Bee Club

Myself and Margaret went along to the Auckland Bee Club today to hear a discussion from “Alastair Little” about Queen Rearing. It was great to catch-up with everyone. We also caught up with Andy and his beekeeping group that we met last weekend at kiwimana HQ. Also good to catch-up with our customers as well and hear how their beekeeping adventures are going.

The other discussion today was about Bee Swarms, some points raised that bee swarms are not aggressive. Paul also showed us a swarm box that he had made from a Polystyrene fish box – really light, so makes sense – included some ventilation on the roof, which was a great idea for a swarm box.

Handy hint, if you are a beeginner interested in catching swarms, ask someone in your local area on the swarm list to let you know when they get a call and go along, great way to learn. In West Auckland we lobbied the local board who supported us in our efforts to have a local swarm catcher list which was implemented last Bee Season – perhaps give them a call or lobby your local board to set-up a list for your area.

Paul also brought up another interesting idea – this is a method we use after catching a swarm and putting in a quarantine site – you place a frame in with the swarm box and after the colony has laid its first frame of brood, what you can do is remove that frame – the point is that the frame will probably be filled with the varroa mites, it can also bee used to check for disease that travelled with the swarm which will show-up only when there's brood. You can then inspect and destroy if diseased – you'll still treat if varroa present or not.

Alastair Little
Alastair Little

We then moved to Alastairs presentation about issues relating to Queens like loss of queen, virgin queens and the worker' response to these issues.

He talked about reasons why an existing hive may reject a new Queen that you are trying to introduce.

His top two reasons were that the colony may already have a virgin Queen or that you have a some laying workers in the hive. He pointed out that multiple eggs in a cells is usually a good sign that you have a laying-worker bee.

He also mentioned that it can take up to 41 days to fully know if your new queen is successful! …they do say Beekeeping requires patience 🙂

Here is the notes from Alistair's presentation that he kindly let us share with you. Alastair Little Bee Talk

Thanks to Paul and Alastair for sharing their wisdom with us.

The weather held up for most of the meeting with some lovely sunny spells, but as we were heading home the heavens opened up by the time we got home to Waitakere. Eager to see the All Black game tonight against South Africa.

By the way….whats flowering at the Auckland Bee Club apiary?
Lavendar, erigernon daisies, and some other plants I don't know their names…maybee you know?

Check out the photos:-

Gary Fawcett

Gary enjoys designing new kiwimana products which we sell through our on-line shop.He is passionate about saving the Bees and encouraging urban beekeeping.Gary loves to write about issues that affect the Bees and our environment.He is also into tramping/walking in the beautiful New Zealand bush.
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