Shook swarm

Shook Swarm

This is a temporary page, a step-by-step guide will appear here shortly.

The shook swarm or shakedown method is a simple and effective process. Although it may seem drastic, when it is carried out in the spring it usually has the benefit of invigorating the bees.

Newer beekeepers are sometimes squeamish about carrying out a shook swarm; it does after all involve the destruction of brood and stores but if the colony is on very dirty comb (which maybe infected with pathogens and high levels of varroa and other pests), it’s a very good way of protecting the bees’ health by getting them onto fresh comb.

This manipulation can only be carried out on a strong colony which has been building-up well. It is best done in the spring when the weather has improved.

The process involves placing a clean box fitted with foundation (including a new or clean floor and crownboard) adjacent to the target hive. All the bees from the hive are vigorously shaken from the old comb into the new box, one frame at a time. The new box is then placed on the site of the original hive for the flying bees to return to.

The old frames and comb are then removed and destroyed.

Shook Swarm can be used for a number of reasons, including combs change or to separate the bees from pathogens or disease spores. It is an accepted method of treating a colony that has been infected with European Foulbrood. Shook swarm has become a useful manipulation where a colony is heavily infected with Varroa. Beebase has some excellent information: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/searchResults.cfm

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