Swarm!!!
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Cutout JHH-style Hive with swarm bearding on it.

Cutout JHH-style Hive with swarm bearding on it.

There’s always an occasion where you take a hive and split it. You take half of the hive and put it in another box, and the one without the queen will make a new queen from the open-brood left over. This mimics the natural way of hive multiplication, that colonies do in nature – swarming. Well, one of my hives swarmed. I think it was today, tho it could have happened yesterday. It was fairly anticlimactic tho – as I had an empty cutout hive out there – a short version of my long-hive design.

I went out to repair some irrigation lines. That meant a trip past my hives to get to the affected hose. As usual, I peek at my hives on my way past, but this time, I saw something different on my cutout hive – a dark mass on the front.

A closer look revealed a mass of bees. Many bees. None were flying more than usual, and both of my hives still had normal activity. These bees were just kinda parked on the front of the hive, covering the entrance.

This cutout hive is the one from which ants had driven a previous tree-cutout. I didn’t remove the comb from the frames and just parked the hive somewhere out of the way. I’m migrating to Langstroth hives so I really wasn’t interested in spending a lot of time working with this box, cleaning it out and all that neatness.

Existing KTBH hives - guess which one is the source!

Existing KTBH hives - guess which one is the source!

From the front of my other KTBH hives, it is readily apparent which one was the source hive. One had the normal activity, while the other was buzzing from within and had a slight bearding on the entrance – tho it too also had normal flying activity as foragers came and went.

I was going to split these hives in the Spring and then put the splits into Langs – do a cutout of sorts. But, it looks like one hive did that for me ahead of schedule. I’m glad I had another hive out there – that swarm is mine now and I didn’t even have to do anything. I love bees…

Michael Vanecek

I've been keeping bees with no treatments whatsoever for several years. I've followed a basic philosophy of if the bees don't bring it into the hive then it doesn't get put into the hive with good success. After a life-time of naturalism, this was simply the logical course to take with honeybee husbrandry and proof is out there buzzing and making honey right now.

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