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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – July 2024

- July 1, 2024 - -(excerpt)

Queen Replacement
I really enjoyed this excellent article by Eleanor Schumacher [“Queen Status — and Assisting the Coronation,” June], and would like to add my thoughts to her approach to requeening a dud colony.
I find a great alternative to the shook swarm (or even hunting for a dud queen or laying bees), that will not be so work intensive, and keeps the disturbance at the site to a minimum is as follows:
Needs — good flying weather and the following materials: queenright nuc plus brood boxes, floor and lid to accommodate bees from dud hive.
1. Remove all frames of resources from the dud hive that do not have open brood, eggs or larvae on them, returning any adhering bees to the dud hive.
2. Space the remaining frames of the dud hive so there is about the width of an empty frame between each frame; angling them is also good so they are not parallel, big spacing is more important.
3. Move the dud hive 5 or better 10 yards from its starting position.
4. Place the nuc in the new brood box on the spot of the old hive, adding the resources from the old hive to fill the boxes (if there will be too much spare room inviting hive beetles spread the extra between other hives).
5. Wait 5-7 days to clear up the dud hive
What happens — the flight-capable bees return to their old spot and join the nuc (laying workers and drone-laying queens are loath to fly, but if shook out can return to their old hive). The dud hive is now emptied of useable resources and the majority of useful bees. What remains can easily be checked for a dud queen. The handful of remaining bees can now be shook out, they will beg a new home (laying workers will either remain on the ground or be rejected by colonies) and remaining frames melted down or returned to a hive.
Calum Grigor

Swarm in Thailand won’t leave
Hi, I live in a small city on the Gulf of Thailand. Last year, a swarm of bees over a meter long suddenly appeared in our garden, settled on a large branch in one of the trees. The swarm only stayed for one day but I took some photos.
This Wednesday, 1st May, a similar sized swarm appeared and settled in the same place on the same branch in the same tree. This time it did not move on and it is still there today (Saturday).
I looked up the photos I took last year and discovered to my amazement that they were dated 1st May 2023. How is this possible?!
Eugene responds:
Hi Tim,
That’s an interesting story! A honey bee swarm is a fascinating phenomenon. Whatever colony in your area sent out this swarm is likely the same colony that sent last year’s; it is very common for subsequent swarms to bivouac in the same location while they send scouts looking for home sites, though it is unclear why that is the case.
What is odd this time is that the swarm has stayed so long. It’s possible that they have given up finding a new home site and are just…