Update on the Demaree hive

Here's an update to the hives at the farm where the one picture on the right is undergoing an experiment using the Demaree Method of swarm control.

Both hives are also got a bit of bearding going on because of the heat and humidity right now.

The hive undergoing the Demaree Method is still producing swarm cells, about 3-4 of them every 5 days when we check them.

We've also noticed a lot of emergency queen cells, which the technique guidelines did mention was a strong possibility, since the queen was isolated to the bottom most box, her scent could not travel throughout the hive and many bees would think they are queen-less.

The entire hive is filled with bees, and they are really strong.

We've gone back to the hive every 5-6 days and cut any visible queen cup, swarm cell  and emergency queen cell, whether they were empty or not.

It's been somewhat exhausting to go through 50 frames every 5 days, shake the bees from the frames so we can closely inspect them for cups, and then reassemble them, but so far, the haven't swarmed.

What we have noticed is that without the queen laying in both brood boxes, the bees have back filled honey into the brood boxe(s). The boxes are almost completely filled, and they don't appear to be using the supers as well as they were.

We also noticed that with the queen excluder in place per the technique, the bees are filling in the lowest brood box (where the queen is) leaving her hardly any room to lay brood.

So far, my personal opinion (everyone has one right?!) is that the method isn't much different than leaving the colony setup normally and just checking and cutting queen cells every 5-6 days. I wonder if we're limiting the amount of honey the bees are putting into the super by using the configuration of hive bodies this way in conjunction with the queen excluder in place to limit the queen's movement to only a single deep.

We'll give it a while longer and see what happens.  :)

Comments For This Post: (3) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Robin says...
Date:   May 9, 2015, 3:45 pm

Very interesting update.   I think your assessment so far is pretty logical.    Seems like a lot of work and if you're 'losing' honey....? 

Mark Martin says...
Date:   May 11, 2015, 10:33 am

Wow.  That is a lot of bees covering frames there!  When does your Spring begin in Missouri anyway?  I think after my first full inspection after installing my packages, I'll be lucky to have 3 frames of bees!

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   May 11, 2015, 11:59 am

The colonies (this year) were drawing wax back in March, which I thought was slightly early this year. They were bringing in nectar by April 1st. The last 2 weeks they've been bringing it in faster than they can handle it, it's been a blast to watch the major nectar flow right now. The major nectar flow should last throughout May, unless the day time temps gets hot early and dry everything up early. Then it resumes sometime around the end of August and runs through October. Not nearly as much honey flow then, but still enough to keep the supers on the hives.  :)

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