Swarmbustin' Honey is pleased to announce that we will bee offering Nucleus Colonies for sale again in 2016.
Whole Nucleus Colonies OR Packaged Bees?
(click to learn more)
Click here to go directly to 2016 Nuc Ad.
We were fortunate to bee able to step back from honey production in 2015 and work closely with the bees, following their lead in an effort to lessen our winter mortality. We learned a lot from the bees and utilized an assortment of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) techniques. As with all experiments, not all of the results were favorable. Lessons were learned throughout 2015 from results that mirrored our predictions as well as the wayward results.
The beefore mite (BM) period was sweet, with the with the main wrinkle beeing, “What am I going to do with all these bees?” For the past 15 years, which was 5 years after my first encounter with Varroa, I have been noting an increase in our bees superceding. Supercedure is referring to colonies which raise a new Queen, eliminating the original Queen with the arrival of the daughter Queen. To appreciate this concept, one must view a HoneyBee colony as a Superorganism. The colony is the organism, each bee a component. To view supercedure as a misguided attempt by the Superorganism to correct wrongs within their home by blaming their Queen underestimates our Beeloved HoneyBees ability to adapt and evolve as they have been doing for 74-146 million years. I beelieve that the increase in Superceding is a conscious effort adopted by our bees to break the brood cycle of both the bees and the mites. Since the female Varroa Destructor Mite lays her eggs on the HoneyBee larva, the mites are unable to breed during this Broodless period.
Our primary strategy was to follow their lead and split all of our production hives through the Spring and Summer. The boys managed all of the out yards, splitting passively at times, sometimes hard, (pulling an entire deep super) and most of the out yards were cleansed once in 2015 by splitting the entire yard at the same time and moving all queens with the split, allowing each hive to raise their own queen. All splits were brought back to the Bee Farm and resided in either the Homeyard or the Nuc yard. Personally, I spent all available time with the Girls, seldom coming in beefore dark. I confirmed that bees landing upon ones body after hours were not likely making a social visit. Some evenings were conducive to working bees nearly as well as daylight hours, provided I slowed my pace. As with most years, I was able to harness a beautiful full moon evening, working bees till after 2 am.
After the splits were queenright with a nice pattern and approved to bee self sufficient, they were sold or moved to a Nuc holding yard. A key IPM technique was to overwinter half of our colonies in double Nucs. At times the two yards at the Bee Farm housed over 300 Nucs, yet they loitered not once queenright. With the brood cycle being shattered at the Bee Farm, I rarely found any mites until mid fall, and we were shaking sugar rolls constantly. The out yards were radically different. Some yards displayed a noticeably longer stretch with less mite pressure after splitting, others not.
The lack of mite pressure in the Homeyard and the Nuc yard was very impressive, till it wasn’t. Short of continuing to split right into winter, (not possible), this IPM approach, as with all others, is not enough by itself. At the PA State Winter Meeting, I asked Maryann Frazier if there was hope. Without me saying anymore, imagine that, her reply was, “Walt, there is, not this year, nor next but there is hope. The speakers at the winter meeting delivered a breath of fresh air, and are viewed by me as the “Eyes of the World”, broadcasting seeds of change. Pay attention to Marla Spivak as she is on point, on fire and creating beeautiful concepts by viewing our Dilemma from different perspectives.
To view our current stance on treating hives click here.
After establishing and priming our outyards for the Honeyflow we will bee splitting our stock, offering Nucs throughout the season. Prior to our ability to accomplish this, our first round of Nucs will bee Pennsylvania Bees, bounced To Georgia in January to take advantage of an earlier Spring. The colonies will bee split down South and once strong enough with adequate food stores, the Nucs will bee transported to our Bee Farm. These Nucs are not Georgia Bees. Their arrival is weather dependant and so we will send out updates to all that are on our Nuc list.
Click here to go to our 2016 Nuc Ad.
For more info on our Queen Breeding program click here
To all folks, needing their fix, craving our signature honey, “Totally Raw”, we will again have the Totally Raw in stock after the bees have access to the nectar in the Spring flowers and we begin with our 2016 harvest. Look for the Totally Raw in early June possibly late May.
Click here for closing thoughts on how you can help our Beeloved HoneyBees
Thank You & Bee Well