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Author Topic: A Swarm Returned to Hive; A Split; and now lots of questions!  (Read 585 times)

Offline SarahM

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A Swarm Returned to Hive; A Split; and now lots of questions!
« on: August 06, 2012, 01:38:38 PM »
In this thread: http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,38585.0.html, I was asking advice as one of our hives swarmed yesterday morning and then went back to the hive in the evening. It was advised to split the hive.

So this morning, we went out and the hive was swarming yet again. This time they settled in a tree right by the hive. We were getting things together to capture it, when the swarm went back into the hive again.

We proceeded with the split then.

We don’t have enough equipment to start another hive, so for now, we just split them into two unused stacked honey supers, taking the marked queen and five other frames of bees.

The hive they were split from did not have any queen cells (except for one small swarm cell in the making, but there was no egg in it), and the hive had zero drones . . . no drones spotted, no drone brood. Our other three hives are the same way when we checked them a few weeks ago, and I haven’t seen any drones entering or exiting hives for nearly a month.

We have been in an extreme drought and there has been little forage. There was around four deep frames worth of honey and nectar in the hive, and there was still plenty of room for the queen to lay.

Since there are no drones, even if the hive should make queens out of eggs in the hive, a virgin queen would not be able to be mated unless there are other hives somewhere around that have drones.

Because of all of this, my question is, is it possible to give the original hive and the split awhile to settle down, get over the swarm urge, and then re-combine them?

Another question I had is that the marked queen still looked rather plump and seemed like she was still laying (by her behavior and the fact that there were several frames of eggs in the hive) . . . if so, why would the hive swarm then? I had thought the queen would always stop her laying before a swarm.

Also, why would they swarm when there weren’t any swarm cells?

Any advice would be much appreciated! I’m a little at a loss as to what to do next . . . thanks in advance!

Offline Hemlock

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Re: A Swarm Returned to Hive; A Split; and now lots of questions!
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2012, 04:35:33 PM »

Bees don't read bee books so don't expect them to do what they're supposed to do.  My neighbor once had two laying queens in the same hive!

You saw the swarm so go with that.  If there's a few frames with eggs consider it a bonus.  It will help the bees make a new queen if a virgin one doesn't already exist.  Not sure about MO but i would think there still enough drones flying around to do the job.  Around here we regularly see late September queens get mated.  Get some more woodenware and prepare to take two small colonies through Winter.

P.S - Yes you can combine them later.  Always think 'Combinations' as you approach Winter.  No sense losing a couple of small colonies when you can overwinter one big one.  That being said i overwintered a one & a-half frame colony last year.
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Offline Finski

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Re: A Swarm Returned to Hive; A Split; and now lots of questions!
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2012, 01:42:58 AM »
Too many questions to see what is going there....

If the swarm returns it has no queen. It returns after 30 minutes but it try again when it gets a new queen. it takes 10 days...

If the hive is in a hurry, it swarms even if it has no queen cells. You may find eggs in queen cells cups.

In very hot weather the colony may abscond from hive. So wrote an Australian beekeeper in this forum.
Air is hot but the air in front of hive (respiration hive) may be hotter.

To build some kind of shadow to the hive would be good.

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