Personally I think the weather, having a very warm and dry month of April, has led to both a early buildup for my bee colonies and has brought out a lot of flowering plants early.
Normally beekeepers have to be vigilant during the months of May to July (or even August) to prevent their colonies swarming but this year I have had already 2 hives swarm and the rest prepare to swarm!
This can and will catch a lot of beekeepers by surprise and despite my swarm prevention method I was not quite fast enough to prevent 2 of my hives swarming. The good news, for me at least, is that so far the other hives have seen a massive increase in the number of bees but have not swarmed.
I also had my first callout to a swarm on Monday 25th April (Easter Monday). The swarm had settled on a wall next to a persons driveway and was relatively easy to retrieve.
The only factor in this swarm collection was that despite the day being another really warm day the call only came later and the temperature was dropping fast. Once I had the swarm in my collection box it was a quick dash to my new out apiary to get them in the hive before darkness and the temperature sank too low!
Just under a week later I checked on them, briefly as it was too windy for a full inspection, and I am please to say they seemed to have settled in well and drawn out a few frames in which the queen has already laid eggs. This proves that the swarm was a ‘Prime’ swarm containing an already mated Queen otherwise she would not have been able to start laying eggs until she was able to go on a mating flight.
As I mention in a previous post, this year I am using a swarm prevention method, a version of the demaree method and this seems to be working quite well. The only side effect I have is that as the brood box that is being ‘demareed’ is slowly emptying of sealed brood the bees are re-filling the empty cells with honey!
This means that I will have to extract these frames prior to being able to re-use them for the next demaree manipulation but it also means that I may get a decent honey crop.