Whether you are a beginner or a professional beekeeper, being autonomous in the creation of artificial swarms is an undeniable asset that does not represent major difficulties.
It will allow you to be autonomous in the renewal of your livestock, its development and will make you save some euros. It is also a good practice at the beginning of the season to avoid natural swarming.
It is therefore for me, one of the techniques to master absolutely in beekeeping.
there are several ways to proceed, to make an artificial swarm from :
- of open brood
- of a closed royal cell
- of a virgin queen
- of a fertilized queen
I mainly use 3 days old royal cells at the beginning of the season for the very first swarms and the fertilized queens until July for efficiency and speed reasons
I propose to review the advantages and disadvantages of each method and to detail the creation
Introduction of an open brood frame
The advantage of this solution is the autonomy as soon as you have brood frames. For this reason we recommend starting beekeeping with a minimum of 3 to 6 hives. This allows you to create new colonies from the ones you have left. Another solution is to ask a beekeeper friend for one or two frames of brood.
The acceptance rate of the orphan colony will be to say the best that it is knowing that they will start from scratch from a very young larva.
The disadvantage is that this is the longest procedure ~33 days from removal of the brood frame to the presence of closed brood.
At the beginning of the season when there is no fertilized queen this technique is very interesting. This makes it possible to create swarms early in the season artificially.
introduction of a royal cell D+3 and D+10
Just like the previous procedure, you can start again from a second hive in a natural way (taking a royal cell or a frame with a royal cell) or if you master the breeding make your own cells of D+3. It is also possible to obtain royal cells of D+10 from professionals.
The advantage in this case is that the known strain with its characteristics are known or the desired bee breed.
You will gain a few days (between 3 and 10 days) compared to the previous procedure.
introduction of a virgin queen
Concerning virgin queens, unless you recover one at the time of its emergence on one of your hives (which sometimes happens but rarely), you will have to either master breeding or get a virgin queen from a colleague.
the introduction will be more delicate knowing that the phenomena of the virgin queens are not yet sufficiently developed, the slightest external odor can compromise the acceptance of the queen by the receiving colony.
You will gain 13 days
Introduction of a fertilized queen
How to create an artificial swarm with a fertilized queen?
Importantly, the percentage of success varies according to many parameters:
- the floral environment of your apiary,
- the selected period,
- the climate of your region,
- the race of bees you have,
- and your experience,
Personally, I use this practice on the farm at the beginning of the season to create the swarms of the year and manage the swarming but also at the end of the season to winter the production hives on 6 to 7 frames.
This technique can of course be used throughout the season but success rates are higher at the end of the season.
After a month, a month and a half, you will have a very populated hive depending on the environmental conditions… nothing is ever acquired in beekeeping.
Step 1 : Preparation of the hive/receiving hive
24 to 72 hours before the introduction of the fertilized queen, collect
- 2 closed brood frames
- 1 frame of built wax (if you have any)
- 1 frame of food in a strong hive
- 2 wax frame with embossing
Very important point, when you pick your frames, make sure you do not pick the queen with them.
It is quite possible to take only one frame of brood but the development of your swarm in case of bad weather will be more difficult. Personally, I used this option for several years before going back to 2 brood frames. The results are much better.
Step 2: Remove the hive/hive or lock it in a cellar
Once set up, the hive should be moved more than 3 kilometers away from your apiary or locked in a cool cellar for 72 hours.
Step 3: Check for the presence of a queen
Before introducing the cage with the fertilized queen, it is best to check the behaviour of the bees towards the new queen.
To leave the crate with the fertilized queen on top of the frames and turn the feeder over for 5 to 10 minutes.
After this time, if the crate is covered with bees it is a good sign. there is no virgin queen or mated queen in the receiving hive
Step 4: introduce the fertilized queen
- Remove the protective strip from the crate
- Check the hardness of the candy. if it is too hard to change the.
- Slide the crate between the 2 brood frames
- Feed with 1 liter of syrup diluted with 50% water
All that remains is for the bees to free the queen. Do not intervene before 7 days to verify the laying of the queen.
Step 5: Monitoring your new colony
The care of your new swarm is important for its development and quality. Check the development of your colony regularly. after 1 month 1⁄2 month this one should cover all the frames and start producing honey.