Swarms and Splits: A Workshop for Second Year Beekeepers
March 25th | 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM
If you’ve gotten your beehive through its first winter in Colorado, congratulations! You’re about to have a second-year hive!
With a second-year hive comes all new adventures in beekeeping, one of the most important of which is swarming. When a colony swarms, not only does a beekeeper lose their valuable experienced queen, but other issues such as a failure to produce a new queen or swarms moving into dangerous locations can occur. It is in a beekeeper’s best interest to learn how to artificially create a “swarm” by doing a split to prevent their bees from becoming a community nuisance. It is also beneficial for new beekeepers to learn about swarm behavior and how they can get themselves free bees by becoming swarm catchers.
The workshop will start with a classroom lesson and then move to Butterfly Pavilion’s on-site apiary for a demonstration of how to split a hive.
In this workshop, you’ll learn all about swarms, including:
Signs that a colony is going to swarm.
How to prevent your hive from swarming.
Method to make more hives by making splits.
Basic swarm-catching techniques.
Meet our Bee Expert
Lorna McCallister, Target Species Manager
Lorna McCallister is a biologist from Tampa, Florida. She studied wildlife biology at the University of Florida, with a minor in Entomology. She also completed her Master's degree at the University of Florida with a thesis focused on insect and avian pollinator communities in southern Africa. She learned beekeeping through courses at UF, the Tampa Bay Beekeepers Association, and interning with the Elephants and Bees Project in Sri Lanka and Kenya. Lorna is now the Target Species Manager at Butterfly Pavilion, where she works on pollinator and invertebrate research and manages Butterfly Pavilion's honey bee hives.
No refunds are given for classes missed.
A full refund will be given to the customer if Butterfly Pavilion cancels a workshop for any reason.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I attend the workshop if I’m not yet a second-year beekeeper?
Anyone is welcome to attend the Swarms and Splits workshop! However, the subject matter proceeds under the assumption that participants have already done at least a year of keeping their own honey bee hive, so it may be difficult to follow along if your experience with bee behavior is not yet at that level. We recommend taking our Beekeeping Bootcamp (Beekeeping Bootcamp (butterflies.org) course if you are just starting out as a beekeeper.
Can I attend the workshop if I am more advanced than a second-year beekeeper?
Absolutely! This workshop is designed to go over the basics of swarm behavior, a handful of the basic hive-splitting techniques, and a handful of basic swarm-catching techniques. We will not go in-depth into the many, many advanced ways to do these techniques, however, the workshop may be a good refresher before spring for a more advanced beekeeper.
Why isn’t this information included in Beekeeping Bootcamp?
Beekeeping Bootcamp is set up to take a beginner beekeeper through their first year of beekeeping from installing their new bees in spring to getting the colony through the winter into the next spring. We briefly discuss swarming as something to look out for the next spring in Beekeeping Bootcamp Workshop 5, however swarming is something that colonies rarely do in their first year of existence and most colonies are not strong enough to be split into a second hive in their first year in Colorado. In addition, swarm catching, which is a major section of the Swarms and Splits workshop, is a technique for beekeepers that feel confident with honey bee behavior and colony handling and is mostly done from April-June, which does not usually fit the timing of handling experience for a first year beekeeper.
How many classes is the Swarms and Splits workshop?
This is a one-time workshop that will be held on March 25th, 2023 from 10am-1pm.
Will there be an option to attend the class virtually?
This class will only be held in-person. However, a recording of the classroom portion of the workshop and copies of the course material will be sent out after the workshop to participants. If you cannot attend in-person but still want the information, you may still sign up to receive the recording and materials, however, there will not be a way to make up the hands-on section of the workshop in our apiary.
What does the hands-on part of the workshop entail?
Participants will meet at Butterfly Pavilion’s on-site apiary after the classroom section. We will use our active honey bee hives to discuss equipment, spring hive health, and methods for splitting hives. We will also do a demonstration split of a hive as long as the temperature is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do participants need to bring a bee suit and gloves for the hands-on section?
Everyone should wear a suit and gloves during the apiary work and we have a few extra sets of suits and gloves on-site for participants to borrow. But, we highly recommend bringing your own beekeeping gear, if possible, so that everyone in the class can be in the apiary at the same time instead of needing to rotate to share safety gear.