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Author Topic: Hive going to swarm... anything to do but watch?  (Read 811 times)

Offline Zinc

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Hive going to swarm... anything to do but watch?
« on: April 16, 2010, 10:35:27 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

Offline AllenF

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Re: Hive going to swarm... anything to do but watch?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 10:40:42 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.

Online iddee

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Re: Hive going to swarm... anything to do but watch?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 11:01:47 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.
"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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Offline David LaFerney

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Re: Hive going to swarm... anything to do but watch?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2010, 05:05:27 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?
"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.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Hive going to swarm... anything to do but watch?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2010, 12:24:08 AM »
>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

Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

 

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