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Author Topic: Swarm or supersedure?  (Read 825 times)
Dimmsdale
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Location: Berkeley Springs, West Virginia


« on: May 21, 2013, 09:10:09 PM »

Hello good people!  I have a colony of Italians with a 3 year old queen.  They over wintered on 2 deeps.  About 2 weeks ago, they were really brooding up in the upper chamber, but had not started laying in the lower chamber.  I knew they were about to have a big hatch, so I reversed the boxes and threw on a third deep of drawn comb.  Blackberries are full bloom right now and I took a peek tonight.  To my surprise, the top super was about half full of honey.  The middle super had about 3 frames of brood in the center.  The frames were completely covered with capped brood.  The rest of the box, honey.  The bottom box was about 4 frames of capped brood and 3 frames of larva. A lot of young larva, one side of a capped frame  was almost entirely drone.  The remaining 3 frames-honey.  I found a total of 7 queen cells-3 near the bottom of the frames in the bottom box and 4 near the bottom of the frames in the middle box.  3 of the cells were capped, the other 4 looked much younger, but had larva in them.  They weren't actually on the bottom of the frames, but in the combs near the lower corners.  I've never had a hive overwinter and look this strong this early.  Not sure where To go from here.  I've got a frame marked with a nice ripe cell to make a slit with tomorrow.  If they are gearing up to swarm, I'm thinking I should make a split with the old queen to simulate the swarm.  She is 3 years old, so I'm wondering if they are superseding?  Any advise?  I'm in strange waters.  My 3rd season and have never had a hive actually develop their cups.  As always, thanks for your wisdom!
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hardwood
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Location: Osteen, Fl (just south of Daytona)

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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 10:00:09 PM »

Sounds like swarming to me. If you can find the queen split with her simulating a swarm but it sounds like you might already be too late...she's most likely gone already. Make what splits you can out of some of the cells leaving some in the original hive.

Scott
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Dimmsdale
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Location: Berkeley Springs, West Virginia


« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 10:28:21 PM »

Thanks Scott!  I'm planning on looking for her in the morning.  I'm hoping I caught them in time, the hive is still really full of bees. They are easily covering all frames in 3 deeps.  I'll have to check my local swarm traps and see if I get lucky.  I will say that it was getting dark and I couldn't find eggs, but there were lots of very young larva, super small. If I find her, what mix of frames would you split her with?  Mostly capped or mostly young?  Mixture of both.  I'm definitely ok with splitting and expanding, but would like to keep this parent hive relatively strong as it is probably my best chance of getting a decent harvest.  I've got 2 other nucs that I just got and they have graduated to 1 deep box. 
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