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Author Topic: Hive going to swarm... anything to do but watch?  (Read 690 times)
Zinc
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Location: Boulder Creek, CA


« on: April 16, 2010, 09:35:27 PM »

Checked my 2 year old hives for the first time in a month yesterday - it had been so long since a clear weekend, I took the day off to check on them.

One hive good and progressing - the second hive PACKED with bees (never seen so many) and also, sadly, 6-10 queen cells throughout. Never seen a hive ready to swarm, but signs are overwhelming even to a novice like me.

Here's the inevitable list of questions for you guys: : )

Is there anything I can do other than watch and wait with a nuc ready to go out swarm hunting?

Should I try to split the hive before the swarm? Take the queen and some frames to the nuc but leave the queen cells?

Should I leave the hive alone until it swarms, or is inspecting it again this weekend ok?

Should I put a super on top? (The hive's ready for it, if the it wasn't about to swarm. : )

Should I feed the absconded hive after the swarm?


Again, it’s wonderful to have the “beemaster” community here – it’s an awesome resource.

Thanks in advance!

-Craig
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AllenF
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Location: Hiram, Georgia


« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 09:40:42 PM »

How many frames had the queen cells?   Pull them, and put in a nuc.   Put empty frames back in their place.  Add supers.  Put out a empty hive or two as bait hives for swarms.
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iddee
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 10:01:47 PM »

DO NOT remove all the queen cells. Remove the queen and a few frames of brood into a nuc or another hive.

If more than one frame has q-cells, you can also remove a frame with cells, a few frames of brood, and start another nuc.

BE SURE you leave a frame with q-cells in the original hive.

There is no keeping that queen in the old hive. You remove her or she swarms. If you remove all q-cells, she will swarm anyway, and leave the old hive queenless.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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David LaFerney
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2010, 04:05:27 PM »

Question - if you requeened with a fresh queen and pulled all the cells you could find and made sure there was room in the brood nest and space for honey above - would that keep them from swarming?  Or is the swarm impulse in the workers unstoppable at some point?
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

Putting the "ape" in apiary since 2009.
Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2010, 11:24:08 PM »

>Is there anything I can do other than watch and wait with a nuc ready to go out swarm hunting?

Yes.  Split.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#swarmcontrol

What you should have done before...
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm

>Should I try to split the hive before the swarm?

Yes.

> Take the queen and some frames to the nuc but leave the queen cells?

Why not give both sides some queen cells just in case.

>Should I leave the hive alone until it swarms

No.  Split it.

> or is inspecting it again this weekend ok?

Inspect if you like, but I'd split it NOW.

>Should I put a super on top? (The hive's ready for it, if the it wasn't about to swarm. : )

That would have been a better idea sooner, but still won't always head off a swarm.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfallacies.htm#noswarmwithsupers

>Should I feed the absconded hive after the swarm?
I assume you mean the hive that swarmed... I wouldn't.  Why would you feed them?  Are they starving?  Is there anything blooming?
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfallacies.htm#feedingcanthurt

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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