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Author Topic: We did an Artificial Swarm Today . . . UPDATED 4/9 with more questions  (Read 629 times)
SarahM
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Location: central Missouri


« on: April 04, 2012, 05:43:36 PM »

Our one hive (that was requeened in the fall) was successfully overwintered, and it increased dramatically and very quickly in size this spring. With a strong honeyflow, the bees were packing in pollen and nectar, and we had added a honey super which is about half drawn and half full of nectar and capped honey now.

When inspecting the hive today, there were three capped queen cells in the hive bodies and a few that were uncapped. There were still small sections of eggs on two of the frames, and we also saw the original queen of the hive (she is marked.)

From what we understand, capped queen cells generally mean that swarming is eminent so we went ahead and did an artificial swarm. This was a first for us, so hopefully we did everything correctly.

We moved the old hive a few feet from its original position, and put the new hive body with frames of foundation in the position of the old hive. We removed three of the frames of foundation and then from the old hive, took the frame with the queen on it (which contained a little capped brood, eggs and some honey), a frame of honey and pollen, and a frame with some capped and uncapped brood and honey, and put all three of them into the new hive.

From what we understood, with the new hive in the old onesí position, the foragers should return to the new hive. Ours, though, were returning to the old hive, so we moved the old hive further away. After doing that, the foragers were going to the new hive.

We put entrance reducers on both hives, and I began feeding the new hive with a 1:1 sugar syrup.

Does this sound like we did an artificial swarm correctly? What could we have done differently? Is there anything we should do now?

What should we expect in both of these hives over the coming weeks? And when would be the best time to do the next inspection for each of them?

Thank you so much in advance!
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 05:37:32 PM by SarahM » Logged
FRAMEshift
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2012, 11:48:06 PM »

Glad you made it through the winter.  There are many ways to do a false swarm.  I would say my favorite way is to take the queen and most of the open brood and almost all the honey to a new hive.  Leave the foragers and capped brood (and at least one queen cell or some eggs) with the old hive.

This does two things.  It stops a swarm from either hive.  The queen's new hive has no foragers and lots of open brood that needs care, so the bees can't leave the hive.  The old hive can't swarm because it has no queen.

The second thing this accomplishes is an age division between the hives.  The hive with the queen and open brood will grow quickly.  It has no foragers so it needs the honey to power the growth.  The old hive has a much higher average age.  The foragers are older and the capped brood is older than the open brood.  During the time this hive is raising a new queen, there is no open brood to care for.  So the bees undergo "early recruitment" to being foragers.  They have no nurse bee responsibilities so they concentrate on bringing in the honey.

The end result is that you have no swarms, you have a new, rapidly growing hive, and you have a hive that makes a new queen and lots of honey.  That's how it's supposed to work.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 09:19:03 AM by FRAMEshift » Logged

"You never can tell with bees."  --  Winnie-the-Pooh
Finski
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2012, 01:10:12 AM »

.
Sounds well done


90 % this method stops swarming too in brood hive, but to prevent that 10% you may put excluder to hive that new emerged queen cannot out if the swarm is going to leave.

When they have cleared out the leadership, take excluder off that the new queen can make orientation flights and mating flights.
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SarahM
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 05:26:11 PM »

FRAMEshift ~ Thank you for sharing your method of doing an artificial swarm! I hadnít heard of doing a false swarm that way, but it sounds like it would work. Iíll have to keep that in mind for if we ever need to do this again. Thanks!

Finski ~ Your post was encouraging as it was a relief to hear from an experienced bee keeper that what we did was all right! Thank you also for mentioning about using the queen excluder on the bottom of the first hive. That would make sense. How would one know when it would be time to remove it so that the newly emerged queen could go on her mating flight?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now I have a few more questions in regards to the new hive . . .

I took a look into it and was a little surprised by what I saw . . .

--The hive body is packed with bees (Iím assuming since all of the old foragers went there.)

--There was hardly any new comb being drawn out (even with them consuming around ĺ of a gallon of sugar syrup.)

--The drawn comb that I could see was either filled with capped brood, larvae, or nectar/sugar syrup/honey

--And I didnít see any eggs (though the frames were so covered with bees that I could have missed them.)

--But I did see two things that I believe are queen cups . . . I am wondering if perhaps I somehow missed them when transferring the frames from the old hive to the new hive.


With all of this, I am beginning to be concerned about this new hive swarming, and I have a few questions . . .

1) Should I go ahead and remove the queen cups? (I couldnít tell if there were eggs or larvae in them.)

2) It also looked like the bees were beginning to backfill the small broodnest with sugar syrup and nectar so I stopped feeding them. Was this the correct thing to do? Or is the syrup what will eventually induce them to begin drawing out comb?

3) Since the hive is so packed with bees (covering all ten frames), should I go ahead and add a second hive body to give them room even though the first hive body has about 7 frames that are not drawn out?

Any help would be appreciated!
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 07:49:16 PM »

FRAMEshift ~ Thank you for sharing your method of doing an artificial swarm!


I don't know who invented this method.  It wasn't me.  What I described is similar to what Michael Bush outlines on his website.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm

http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#cutdown

Quote

With all of this, I am beginning to be concerned about this new hive swarming, and I have a few questions . . .

1) Should I go ahead and remove the queen cups? (I couldnít tell if there were eggs or larvae in them.)


No.  It doesn't help to remove queen cells (or cups).  If the bees are committed to swarming, they will swarm even if there is no queen cell left behind.  All you accomplish in removing the queen cells is a queenless hive.
Quote

2) It also looked like the bees were beginning to backfill the small broodnest with sugar syrup and nectar so I stopped feeding them. Was this the correct thing to do? Or is the syrup what will eventually induce them to begin drawing out comb?


If they are backfilling the brood nest, they are preparing to swarm.  At this time of year the bees have a reproductive swarm urge.    And these bees were already on the edge of swarming.  That's why I like to separate the queen from the foragers.  Placing the queen in a much smaller population of bees slows down the swarm urge.
Quote

3) Since the hive is so packed with bees (covering all ten frames), should I go ahead and add a second hive body to give them room even though the first hive body has about 7 frames that are not drawn out?

Any help would be appreciated!


Assuming that the queen cells in the other hive are still intact, I would swap your queen for the queen cells.  That will stop the swarm urge.  Put the queen in the hive that has a small population and is not excited about swarming.  You probably have only two or three days to do this because the virgin queens will emerge very soon.
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"You never can tell with bees."  --  Winnie-the-Pooh
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