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Snelgrove Swarm Technique

The Snelgrove swarming technique is one of many swarm control methods. For detailed information, you can purchase 'Swarming, it's control and prevention' by L.E.Snelgrove.

This article is a basic outline of the Snelgrove method.

The Snelgrove board used to do the swarm is essentially a crown board with a circle cut out of the middle, lined with bee proof mesh both sides and top and bottom doors on each face to allow opening and closing of entrances.

The Snelgrove board

The Snelgrove board is placed on top of the supers with the entrance hole pointing in the same direction as the main entrance.

A second empty brood box is placed on the Snelgrove board.

Frames from the bottom brood box containing brood and bees are then transferred to the top brood box leaving only one frame of brood and the existing queen in the bottom brood box. The empty spaces in the top and bottom boxes are then filled with new frames and foundation.

The flying bees returning to the bottom box will think the colony has swarmed and will start working on the new frames.

The nurse bees and newly merged bees in the top brood box will start to produce queen cells as no queen will be present. This brood box can then be kept as a separate colony, split into smaller nuc's or if no queens are produced, they can be merged back with the bottom brood box again at a later date.

Once a queen is producing in the top brood box, the number of flying bees will increase. Closing the front entrance on the Snelgrove board and opening the back entrance will confuse the flying bees and they will stay on the front of the hive. Eventually they will climb down the box and enter the original brood box. This will increase the amount of flying bees in the botton box which will help during the main nectar flower.

At the end of the season, the top brood box can be re-united with the botton one to help strengthen the colony for the winter. The other option is to take the top brood box away and create another separate colony.