In the year 1892, Mr. Demaree wrote to the American Bee Journal setting out his system of swarm control when the object of the bee-keeper was honey production. It is a system now widely practiced in this country and its popularity is due to its simplicity and its general success. However, if carried out as suggested by the originator, it is a dirty method of honey production for reasons explained later. It is, however, an excellent method of producing natural stores in brood sized combs, useful for helping out weak stocks and providing winter feed.
First go through each comb of the stock and remove all Queen Cells in whatever state of development.
Take out all combs with the exception of one having brood and place them in a clean prepared second brood-chamber, which is to be the upper storey.
The brood-frame containing the Queen should be retained in the original brood-chamber. The number of brood-frames in the second chamber should be made up to ten in number and a division board fitted at one end. Likewise, the original brood-chamber should be filled up with brood-frames. More progress will, of course, be made if the added brood- frames have drawn out comb. Again, a division board should be fitted to this brood-chamber, and care should be taken to see that it is fitted at the same end as the one fitted in the second brood-chamber.
Now place a Queen excluder over the first brood-chamber and over this place the second brood-chamber.
In this way the Queen has a completely new brood-chamber in which to lay and continues laying at a rapid rate. Meanwhile, au the bees in the brood-combs above are hatching out rapidly and these young bees provide the Queen with a constant supply of nurse bees.
All the cells in the upper storey will be vacated within twenty-one days of the operation being carried out. The hive will have an enormous population with a Queen laying rapidly. If there has been a honey flow most of the cells in the upper storey will have been filled with honey as soon as they aie vacated by the emerging bees.
If the honey flow still continues the combs in the upper storey should be extracted and the operation repeated. Dr. Butler has discovered what he considers to be an improvement on this system. He always places a shallow super complete with combs between the two brood-chambers at the first operation.
The advantages of this system are, first, that the Queen is never cramped for laying room and therefore one of the predisposing causes of swarming is removed; and secondly, that the system provides a large stock of bees for honey collection.
The disadvantages are first, that unless the operation is repeated after 21 days there is every possibility of the hive being so crowded that swarming is merely postponed and the swarm may leave at the height of the honey flow.
Secondly, the honey produced is regarded by some as “dirty honey.” It has been stored in cells where grubs have developed and left their excreta behind and nymphs into bees and they in their turn having left their outer skins behind. They say it is not honey which a clean bee-keeper would eat himself and therefore he should not sell it to the public. This particular objection may perhaps be negative when we are told by observers that during a good honey flow the field bees usually place the nectar they have collected in the first available cell in the brood-chamber often on top of an egg or even a young larva.
Thirdly, there is one danger which is not always explained about this system—and that is that unless every care is taken to prevent Queen cells maturing in the upper storey after the transfer to it of brood, a Queen may hatch out which cannot get through the excluder which may result in either a swarm emerging after all or the virgin Queen becoming a drone layer, as she is unable to get out of the hive to mate
Therefore it is essential that after two or three days the bee-keeper should go through the upper storey and cut out any Queen cells which may have been formed in the interim. This is most important and should be repeated after a period of seven days.
There are those who think that if the Queen cells are cut out of the upper storey that the bees cannot place a young enough grub or egg in the upper storey. Some experience shows that bees will fetch eggs from the lower storey even 10 days later.
This system is often used when the bee-keeper desires to increase his stocks, for in the upper storey the bees will often after the operation has been carried out make a large number of Queen cells.
These can be made into nuclei which will be helped on rapidly by the large number of young bees which will shortly hatch out.