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Author Topic: swarm cells what do I do ?  (Read 2926 times)
Kirk-o
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« on: March 06, 2005, 04:33:12 PM »

Its been raining in L A for weeks sunny day today checked hive I rescued in January three swarm cells one capped two in progress what do I do now ?
kirk-o
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2005, 05:08:04 PM »

I know this could generate a lot of opinions - here's mine.

Whether swarm or supercedure, I think the bees know best what to do - mind you, they are working ONLY with the situation at hand.  Since over-crowded conditions (or a rise in hive temp is present) venting often helps - that could be in the way of tilting the outer cover, but ideally adding a screened bottom board.

The best single method to help keep the bees in that hive is to add a super with drawn comb. That isn't easy because most of us don't keep drawn foundation around, we put them back in the hive ASAP in most cases, so the second thing to do is to add a super with foundation frames and feed the bees sugar water to help the quickly produce a massive amount of wax. The availability of space and the means to create wax are a great combo to aid them in staying where they are.

If you are sure that the queen is alive and well - you could destroy the new cells, or if your queen is older and needs replacing - you may concidar removing her (not killing her yet) and let a new queens hatch from the queen cells and the workers will readily accept the new queen. If you were to do this, it's better to do it sooner than later - having a missing queen while the queens are being raised will help end the swarm mode.

The point: try making the hive less swarm worthy. Having more space, cooler temperatures and a need for a queen (with queen cells already present) are all good ways to keep the girls at home. It's always better to keep them there compared to trying to capture them later.

The alternative is to move the frame(s) with queen cells into another hive body with frames with foundation and feed that hive until it establishes itself with enough cells to both house food and brood.

Hope these have helped. I think an idea number of days when trying the first methods above is about five days prior to hatching. By removing the existing queen, her scent will dissipate just as the new queens emerge.

Of course, you could also kill the old queen, but I think that it is best to keep her in a nuc or other hive with a frame full of food, brood and workers UNTIL you see that the new queen cells are NOT duds. Nothing worse than killing of an old queen just to find your new queens never emerge.
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2005, 05:35:42 PM »

They say that once a hive gets into a swarming mood and has SWARM (not supercedure) cells built, it's too late to try giving them more space or figuring out the root cause. You need to take aggressive action right now! What I like to to do is split the hive by taking the old queen and most of the capped brood to a new location and leaving the swarm cells with the field force at the old location. By doing this, you're creating a controlled swarm. If either hive doesn't recover from the split you can merge them back together in a couple weeks once the swarming urge has passed.
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2005, 10:12:12 PM »

Jim:

Although breaking a swarming mode is tough, it surely is not impossible. The aren't going anywhere without a queen - if they did they would be doomed.

The important point is to recognise the condition and act - if you do nothing, then they will swarm - but making their home more inviting than a tree branch or a mailbox is not that difficult to do.

If it is mid-season and I don't feel that the hive can build up another super by late Fall, I don't mind seeing a swarm fly off - if they find a small space which is well insulated, they have a good chance.

It isn't impossible to consolidate a colony late in the season either - although you need enough for the number of bees you have RELATIVE to your Winters. If the numbers don't jive, then it's a coin toss how well they will make it through the Winter.

I stand-by saying that a swarm is NOT a given - the swarm cycle can be broke several ways and the examples I gave are all valid. Besides, trying to prevent a swarm is always a good option if you want to build the hive up. Trying to remix the captured bees later is much more difficult to do.

Vent the hive, remove or destroy egg cells or the existing queen, add a super ready to build up and feed sugar water. These are all good methods to reduce the chance of swarming.
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2005, 09:03:58 AM »

Smiley A chance to raise another colony has been given to you the way I see it.
I would do nearly identical to what bee sharpe said.
take the old queen and some of the frames with brood andf place them into a new hive with drawn comb if you have it and new foundation and feed if you don't have any drawn comb.
What ever you do good luck.
 Cheesy Al
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asleitch
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2005, 09:44:07 AM »

Quote from: Kirk-o
Its been raining in L A for weeks sunny day today checked hive I rescued in January three swarm cells one capped two in progress what do I do now ?
kirk-o


If its capped, the swarm has already left, if the number of bees looks the same as before, its supercedure - leave it, and they'll sort themselves out.

Either way, if the cell is capped, the swarm has departed, so in that respect  you are too late, if its out of season more likely failing queen hence supercedure?

Adam
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Finsky
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2005, 01:50:36 PM »

http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/PDFs/Swarm_Prev_Control_PM.pdf
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2005, 07:00:01 PM »

I thought swarm cells were always at the bottom of the frame and superced cells were on the middle of the frame is this right
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2005, 07:14:38 PM »

That would be the norm.... but I know for sure that's not the only way they do it.
My bees swarmed last year on March 17th, and when I got in the hive, there where swarm cells on maybe 4 frames. MOST of them were on the bottom, but I saw one on the top too. It MAY have been that the bees who put it there thought they were putting it on the bottom of the frame above... don't know.



But what I have seen (and I don't know if this is something to stand on) is that swarm cells and supercedure cells have different textures. They have in my hives so far anyway. The swarm cells were more yellow, and the "peanut shell" looking bumps were tight and shallow. On the supercedure cell the wax was whiter, and the bumps were larger and deeper.



I'd be curious to know if anyone else has seen these kinds of differences too in swarm/supercedure cells.

Beth
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2005, 08:42:12 AM »

Thank you Hanaha
the swarm cells I saw were all on the bottom
kirk
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pardee
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2005, 05:43:26 PM »

Try using a Snelgrove board, it is a double screen beard that has entrances that can be closed and opened to allow bees to be switched to other entrances. You move all the brood above the snelgrove board along with all the nurse bees. The queen and foragers remain in the lower super. Snelgrove wrote a book on swarming. He was considered a master at controlling swarming. You can get a copy of his book from Betterbee.com he features several methods of swarm control. you can also buy a double screened board form them
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