Demaree Method of Swarm Control

The Demaree Method of Swarm Control – Great attendance at the CCBA Club Demo with Keith and Michael for this method!  Here are the steps for setting this up with your own bees.

Demaree method of swarm control (download and print version)

  1. Check the weather for cold conditions for the next seven days. If the temperatures are due to fall, ensure the sticky board is inserted and a single frame of brood is left for the queen in the lower chamber.
  2. To start the Demaree method, you will need to place the queen in the lower chamber before the hive starts even thinking about swarming.
  3. Early in the season the queen could normally be found in the upper brood box. Locate her and place her in the lower chamber with drawn comb.
  4. Place a queen excluder over this lower box.
  5. Place another level of a honey super or a deep.
  6. Above this place the (originally the upper) brood box with all the brood, both capped and uncapped.
  7. The queen can be limited to only 5 frames in the lower chamber by means of a brood divider board
  8. The queen will normally use 2 to 4 frames for brood laying in the season in a week – usually 3
  9. Leave the bees to their own devices so they can swim, play pool and watch television for the next week.
  10. Take off outer cover and place it inverted near the hive.
  11. Place the inner cover in front of the hive to form a ramp for the bees going into the hive entrance.
  12. Take out full frames of honey from the top box. This is done to lighten the weight of the top brood box.
  13. Lift the top brood box and place it onto the inverted outer hive cover. This gets interesting if you are using an English Garden Cover J You can also use a forklift truck.
  14. Inspect the brood for queen cells. Great for making nucleus hives or for requeening.
  15. You need to remove all queen cells, unless you would like to have a two queen colony.
  16. I do this at the end of the season and end up with two queens in the hive.
  17. Remove three or four frames from the ‘older’ side and place in a nuc box. These can contain empty cells, honey or newly emerging bees.
  18. Again – harvest honey from the next box, if it is ready, also to help with the weight
  19. Offset the second box on the recently removed brood chamber so that it shows the three or four empty slots
  20. Remove the next super if you have one and offset this towards you to balance the supers
  21. Perform this with all honey supers
  22. Polished cells – the super directly above the queen excluder will contain polished cells. A polished cell has been prepared by the workers directly above the laying queen. The queen demonstrates a tendency to move upwards with her laying. The heat of the lower brood warms the recently laid, brood above. Once the polished cells have been located, it is easy to find the queen directly below.
  23. It is important to ensure that you reserve polished cell area in the hive. If this fills with honey or nectar, the bees will start the swarming impulse.
  24. Remove the bottom board and queen from the hive stand and place next to the other hive components
  25. Place a new bottom board and a hive body on the position of the hive.
  26. The reason for this is that all the forager bees will return to this empty hive and make finding the queen so much easier.
  27. Insert about five drawn empty combs into this hive body. Do not use foundation filled frames.
  28. Find the queen in the lower brood chamber or just shake all the bees from the lower chamber (just removed) into the empty chamber and you don’t need to find the queen. Easier if you use the divider with only 5 frames.
  29. Add one or two ‘older’ frames from the upper box to the lower box
  30. Add one polished cell frame if you can.
  31. Ensure that you have a drone frame – green or a medium in a deep body. Varroa control.
  32. Replace the hive components in the correct order
  33. Some hives can have a super above the top brood box while others perform better with a honey super below.
  34. Ensure that there is a top entrance and offset the hive bodies if the weather is hot. This allows a virgin queen to mate and adds to ventilation
  35. With a two-queen setup – introduce a good laying queen with brood frames to a new upper chamber with the newspaper method. Once she has been accepted, place her below the queen excluder on the other side of the divider. Both queens will be building for a super colony. A third queen can be introduced again in the top chamber for a three-queen setup. It is better to use two queen excluders during the initial setup.
  36. Two and three queen configurations work well in a nectar flow, but could be counter-productive in a dearth period.
  37. Use the older larvae in the top brood chamber of a Demaree hive to make nucleus hives. The bees are hopelessly queen-less and will readily accept a new queen
  38. This method is performed weekly
  39. Normally we can stop after June 21st in our Chester County area in Pa
  40. Good luck