|Manual for Trainers of Small Scale Beekeeping Development Workers (Peace Corps, 1983, 392 p.)|
· This is a Trainee-facilitated session. See Session 7, "Bee Colony Cycle", for guidelines.
· Note that this session is related to Session 28, "Constructing a Swarm Board and Swarms", which is also Trainee-facilitated. Suggest that the same Trainee facilitate both sessions.
Swarming, supersedure and absconding are behavioral responses of the colony to changing environmental conditions. As such, the beekeeper employs various management techniques to control or utilize these responses to meet specific hive or apiary needs.
The beekeeper needs to recognize the differences between swarming, supersedure and absconding and to understand the conditions which trigger these responses. With this understanding, beekeepers can appropriately manipulate the colony to achieve management objectives.
· To define swarming, supersedure and absconding.
· To examine why bees swarm, supersede and abscond.
· To discuss indicators of swarming, supersedure and absconding.
· To present the management techniques to control swarming, supersedure and absconding.
· To look at the advantages and disadvantages of swarming in relation to the type of hive used.
- Small Scale Beekeeping, pp. 42-43, 96-100, 210-211.
- The Social Organization of Honeybees, Chapter 6.
- The Hive and the Honey Bee, pp. 241-244, 345-348, 377-384.
- The Beekeeper's Handbook, pp. 73-82.
- Beekeeping in Zambia
newsprint, markers, tape, blackboard, chalk, a hive and frame of comb (without bees)
· Prepare the visual aids for Step 2 prior to beginning the session.
Step 1: Defining Swarming, Supersedure and Absconding (20 minutes)
Question the Trainees concerning the differences between swarming, supersedure and absconding. List the general characteristics of each and draw simple diagrams to indicate where on a comb the queen cells would occur.
Step 2: Cause of Swarming, Supersedure or Absconding (40 minutes)
Write, on strips of newsprint, environmental factors and conditions within the colony which cause or indicate swarming, supersedure and absconding. Hand these strips out to the Trainees and write the words "swarming", "supersedure" and "absconding" across a blackboard. Have the
Trainees post the strips under the appropriate heading and
discuss their reasons for doing so.
Point out that each of these phenomena are caused by a complex of factors rather than isolated factors.
Step 3: Management Techniques (30 minutes)
Using an empty hive and frames of comb, demonstrate the conditions of swarming, supersedure and absconding. Question and discuss with the Trainees the management options which might be utilized to control the situation.
Step 4: Advantages and Disadvantages of Swarming (15 minutes)
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of swarming appropriate to the beekeeping system employed. Include such factors as attitude of the beekeeper, the equipment and the race of the bee.
Direct the discussion towards the concept of using swarm boxes to capture swarms. Discuss this as a form of bee-having.
Step 5: Session Evaluation (15 minutes)
· See Steps 5 and 6 of Session 7, "Bee Colony Cycle".