25 September 2015

Queen cells, swarming, and beginner beekeeper training

It's late September, which is a strange time of year to think about queen cells and swarming, but, having recently helped a new-to-the-BKA-this-year beekeeper deal with the repercussions of bad poor misunderstood advice, now seems as good a time as any.

It's important for all beekeepers to know, and to fully understand, why it is not a good idea to remove queen cells as the sole method of swarm control, no matter how experienced the beekeeper who says it is! The end result is likely to be a colony with no queen and no means of making one. The colony will be doomed to a slow decline - which a newish beekeeper, struggling alone, may not notice until it's too late and they 'suddenly' see their hives contain frames empty of both brood and stores, with the few remaining bees on the point of starving to death.

How can this arise, especially when this particular beekeeper has done all the training, attended all the apiary sessions, and been to all available BKA events since they joined?