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Author Topic: Ready to swarm? Advice please.  (Read 1322 times)
indypartridge
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« on: June 17, 2005, 08:58:22 AM »

Background: 1st year beekeeper. Installed 4-frame nuc into deep box May 18. Added 2nd deep brood box 2 weeks ago. Been feeding continuously.

In the beekeeping class I took, we were told to "Feed! Feed! Feed!" at least until both deeps had drawn comb. In threads on this board, I see that both Finsky and M. Bush recommend NOT doing this, as hive may become honey bound, and cause swarming. I think that may have happened to me.

In yesterday's inspection, I found 3 capped swarm cells together at the bottom of one frame where the bees had removed the foundation to make room for the swarm cells. There was plenty of capped brood, honey, capped honey, & pollen.  I haven't learned to recognize eggs yet I did NOT see any larva, I could have missed them, but I've seen larva clearly on previous inspections. I've only seen the queen once (yesterday).

So my conclusion is that the queen has quit laying and is preparing to swarm.

What to do about the swarm cells?  I see that some recommend to cut them out, but even those who say to do this admit it only works some of the time.  The majority seem to say to split the hive, then recombine later. I'm limited to my "basic beginner kit", but I think since I have 2 deep boxes, I could rig up a 2nd hive with some sheets of plywood.

Do I split my 2 deeps, re-arrange the frames so that the swarm cells plus some brood, honey & pollen are in the 2nd hive? Is this a reasonable thing to do?  Other suggestions?

I'm putting up hay the next couple of days, so I'm hoping they don't swarm before I get that finished.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2005, 10:01:29 AM »

You said the cells are capped. They won't wait for you to get around to them.
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Finsky
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2005, 10:20:11 AM »

When queen cells are capped swarm can fly out when ever.

Do this.

* Move the hive  8 feets aside.
* Put an empty box of  foundations in old place.
* take one brood frame to that foundation box and a food frame.
* Find the queen and put it in new box
* Let bees fly to new hive.

It takes one week and bees have build foundations, and swarming fever has gone. After that you  unite hives.

If you need another hive, you again new hive to the pave, where you have brood and queen cells. Probably you have allready there a new queen. So you get a nuc where are during one week emerged bees.

But in your country nucs are quite cheap. It is not clever split that little colony. It will be better if you put all together and you will get honey this summer. Your hive is bigg enough to gather honey. After that you have 3 deeps.

You can also get a swarm and use it.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2005, 01:13:56 PM »

It depends on what you want as an outcome and what your other resources are.  I love swarm queens.  They tend to be really good queens.  If you want to get a lot of queens you coudl put each frame that has some swarm cells on them in their own nuc with some honey and bees.  I like to do this in two frame nucs, but this time of year you could probably do a five frame nuc if that's what you have.

If you just want to prevent swarming, what Finsky says works fine.  There are many variations of it that also work fine.  The main thing is for the bees to find themselves in a situation where they won't want to swarm.  The new hive has a brood nest but no field force (and now no queen) so it won't be likely to swarm.  The old hive has a field force but no brood nest or combs so it's unlikely to swarm.
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indypartridge
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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2005, 07:08:23 AM »

Thanks for the replies.   As a beginner with limited resources I didn't want to try raising swarm queens or split a hive that started as a nuc just 4 weeks ago. I just want to build a strong hive before winter,  so I tried following Finsky's advice.   I probably made more mistakes than I care to admit, but I seem to have disrupted the bees enough that they haven't swarmed.

What's the best way to re-combine the hives?  Should I scrape off any swarm cells at this time?
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Finsky
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2005, 08:08:05 AM »

Quote from: indypartridge
What's the best way to re-combine the hives?  Should I scrape off any swarm cells at this time?


No scraping.

Old  bees  with queen build foundations and they forget swarming.
The rest bees with brood are not able to swarm. They try to keep brood warm.

New queen emerges and it destroys other queen cells.

You may keep the new queen untill it began to lay eggs, and then you put them together and you kill the old queen.  New queen is a good egg maker.

If you have good honey flow, you loose money because it may take 15-20 days untill you can put them together and hive is productive.

It is better after one  week kill the old queen, keep hive without queen 24 hours, and then you put parts them together.

But when you need a strong hive, it is better leave egg laying queen and kill the virgin. Old queen lay eggs almost for one generation before new starts egg laying.  An that "old" is this year's queen, is it, or under one year old?

Your hive tryes to swarm because hive is tight.  You arrage more room and you need not special tricks.
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