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Author Topic: Prime vs. Cast or after Swarm  (Read 4686 times)
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2011, 10:58:07 PM »

The Prime swarm is usually the first swarm of the season, but not always, the prime swarm is the largest swarm of the season.
Afterswarms are swarms that occur closely after the initial swarm, they can have either mated or unmated queens.
Cast swarms are an afterswarm that is too small to be of any worth, say baseball sized.  They occur at the tail end of a series of after swarms or late in the season.

Remember the old adage:
A swarm in May is worth a pile of hay,
A swarmm in June is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm in July isn't worth  your time.
A swarm in August should be cast away.

Swarms with multiple queens are not all that unsusual, and it is possible for a swarm with multiple queens to throw a cast swarm shortly after setting up housekeeping.
I've known of hives to throw as many as 15 afterswarms in one season, all but the 1st 2 or 3 were cast size (small and worthless)
Often the original queen will have swarmed days prior to the successor queen's hatching (which is why you can end up queenless if you remove capped queen cells).

Sometimes queen cells are developed over a period of a week or 10 days.  Not all the queen will hatch at the same time, and subsiquent hatching will produce after swarms.  A newly hatched queen will only kill those queen cells that are piping or where she hears a queen eating away the cap.  Queens cells holding queens that havent developed to that point are ignored, setting up the possibility of a mated queen after swarm.
In the case where 2 queens hatch at the near the same time, and do not come in contact with each other, possibly with both going on mating flights and then one swarms when the come in contact (it is also possible it could remain a 2 queen hive).
It is also possible for a later developing queen to hatch and exit the hive on a mating flight while the queen that hatched rior to it is on one of its mating flights.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2011, 03:42:13 AM »

>I thought the first queen to hatch kills all the other queens in their cells before they get to hatch.

Only if it is a supersedure or the bees let her.  In the case of swarming they don't let her until they think they have swarmed down to the population they need.

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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2011, 03:59:15 AM »

>I thought the first queen to hatch kills all the other queens in their cells before they get to hatch.

Only if it is a supersedure or the bees let her.  In the case of swarming they don't let her until they think they have swarmed down to the population they need.


That is true thanks for catching my oversight.
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« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2011, 11:11:21 AM »

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In the case of swarming they don't let her until they think they have swarmed down to the population they need.

Can I infer that part of the reason for swarming is to decrease the population of the parent hive?
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« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2011, 01:26:53 PM »

Ace, bees swarm for a number of reasons, early spring for reproduction, when honeybound, congestive reasoning and then there are absconds due to various conditions, usually beyond their control.


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« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2011, 09:30:38 PM »

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In the case of swarming they don't let her until they think they have swarmed down to the population they need.

Can I infer that part of the reason for swarming is to decrease the population of the parent hive?

After the reproductive swarm, maybe if there is some time elapsed.  Swarms immediately after a primary swarm are most likely after swarms.  A swarm a month to 2 late is most likely a population control issue.  The more room you can give your bees within the hive and the more comb they need to draw the less likely they are to swarm, but it's not a guarantee.   
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« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2011, 09:36:14 AM »

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The more room you can give your bees within the hive and the more comb they need to draw the less likely they are to swarm, but it's not a guarantee.   


Can it be over done giving the bees too much room too quickly.  For instance once you have manipulated the brood boxes either by splitting or just the Spring arrangement can you just throw on two super or three if you have them instead of adding them one box at a time?
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« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2011, 09:54:32 AM »

You can add all the boxes you want but it is crowding in the brood nest that will induce them to swarm.  The queen will rarely cross the honey dome so you can have all the room they need on top and it may not matter.  You have to physically open up the brood nest to relive swarm pressure.  Adding super will relive pressure being they can move honey stores up but may not do the trick if brood nest is already too crowded.  If you add a queen excluder before you put supers on sometimes they ignore the supers cause they dont want to pass through the excluder.  You can do this and come back week after week pulling frames wondering why they have done nothing in them and soon find out all you colonies swarmed on you.  For that reason I dont like using them.  If you do use them you want to make sure you pull frames of honey above the excluder or wait untill they start working in supers before you add an excluder.  Once they are working in the boxes they will cross the excluder without hesitation.
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« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2011, 10:20:45 AM »

Yes, we had this problem both times with the two nucs that we got.  We could not understand why they were not filling the supers when other beeks were harvesting honey.  Then we were told to remove the excluder for a couple of weeks and so we did.  They came right up within a couple of weeks and we never put the excluder back again.  Learned that one already.

What is somewhat confusing to me is that people say the bees will go right to the top and build down.  If you have two boxes of brood down in the bottom they are not going to leave it and start building two or three boxes up are they?  Our Spring can be very warm days and very cool nights.  If they have all that space on top is there a chance of the brood getting chilled and die?
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« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2011, 02:29:22 PM »

They will stay by brood when cold.  If you go into a hive on a cool morning all the bees will be down with the brood.  Only way the brood would get chilled would be if you were dumb enough to dig in it.  I have stole honey on cool mornings.  It works great.  All bees are down, they are too cold to fly much, and you hardly have to brush any bees. 
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« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2011, 04:16:00 PM »

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They will stay by brood when cold.

Great, so they will work the supers during the day and run down in the brood box at night.  As long as the supers have drawn comb it doesn't matter how many you put on.  What I don't like though is now I have to remove the top supers to see if the lower ones are full to make sure they don't swarm because of lack of room.
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