OSU Citizen Science Project: Swarm Study

Ramesh Sagili, PhD, Associate Professor for Apiculture at OSU asks for your assistance. Like last year, he is looking for interested beekeepers who like to participate in a study on swarms. You have the opportunity to participate if you happen to successfully capture a swarm and know the parental hive from which the swarm was issued. This does not happen too often.  That’s why we are asking as many beekeepers as possible. Please see the attached documents for details.

Bees in the mother colony (swarm) and daughter colony need to be estimated ideally within 24 hours (best) and latest within 48 hours and at a time of day when bees are not flying (mornings, evenings). We estimate the number of bees in a colony by taking out each frame one at a time and estimating the percentage of comb covered by bees on each side of the frame. If you don’t feel comfortable in doing the estimates and want assistance, call, or text me (541-740-7877).

Swarms issued from a five-frame-nuc with deep frames are of interest, too.

Heike Williams |Bio Science Research Technician - Apiculture |Central Oregon Agricultural Research and Extension Center | Oregon State University | 850 NW Dogwood Lane | Madras, OR 97741 | p 541-475-7107  f 541-475-6390 | heike.williams@oregonstate.edu| COARC Website|

Opportunity to understand honey bee swarm biology via participatory research / citizen science

Honey bee swarms are fascinating. Have you ever wondered what percentage of worker bees leave the parental hive during a swarm? You have probably read in bee books or a couple of journal articles that about 50% of the worker bees will swarm along with the old queen to establish a new nest. One study published in 2012 (Rangel and Seeley, Insectes Sociaux 59, 453- 462), suggests that 75% of worker bees leave in a swarm. The percentage of worker bees leaving in a swarm could vary depending on the time of the year (April, May, June or July) and a few other factors. We (OSU Honey Bee Lab) are interested in exploring this interesting and not so well understood aspect of swarm biology with the help of citizen scientists (our passionate beekeepers) by examining as many swarms as possible. If you would like to be a part of this research either this year or next year (2022), then please read the study process below.

Study process / method: If you witness a low hanging swarm that can be easily accessed and captured without any risk / hazard, and you also know for sure the source of that swarm (parental hive), then you can be a part of this study. Once the swarm is settled on a branch or other substrate, that swarm needs to be hived carefully in a single story hive with eight or ten frames (frames can be empty or with some honey and pollen). Then the worker bee population should be estimated in both the captured swarm (in the single story hive) and the parental hive (original hive that swarmed). We can help you estimate the worker population by providing step-by-step instructions. Please call us (Ramesh Sagili: 979-739-9347 or 541-737-5460; Carolyn Breece: 541-224-3589; Heike Williams: 541-740-7877) if you happen to successfully capture a swarm and know the parental hive from which the swarm was issued.

Appreciate your help in increasing the body of knowledge regarding swarming.

Ramesh Sagili

Oregon State University Honey Bee Lab

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software