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Author Topic: Hive swarmed twice within a week  (Read 3634 times)
ItalianBeeWrangler
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« on: March 23, 2006, 01:20:51 PM »

Hi everyone..
I haven't posted in a while.... but here around Rome the season has started.
On March 17th one of my hives swarmed. We promptly recovered the swarm as they chose a nice low branch on a vine about 2 feet off the ground.  Now.. today I was out doing some yard work and heard that familiar sound once again.. I looked up and the same exact hive that had just swarmed.. was swarming again.
 
Now.. this is only my 2nd year of beekeeping.. Is it normal for the same exact hive to split twice within a week?  

My beekeeping mentor is an old italian master. I am confused with his teachings though..  it seems the way they do things here in Italy are completely backwards from the way the US and other parts of Europe keep bees.  I've asked him about adding another brood box on top to give them more room.. But his reply was just a laugh...  and a shake of his head.   I've asked about requeening and yet again... i get the laugh and a shake of the head.  He seems to prefer for them to swarm and recollect the swarm than to take preventative measures..  
I personally feel that it is a waste of time to miss the beginning of the honey flow which begins here in another week or so.  Am I right.. or should I shut up and let him teach me?? HAHAHA    I get frustrated because I ALWAYS have to call him for every little thing...  because Italians just do it differently so to save myself from being scolded.. I hang my  head and make the call.

Any suggestions.. and a comment about the double swarm within a week would be most appreciative!

Thanks everyone...  happy beeing.....

Steve
"ItalianBeeWrangler"
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Finsky
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2006, 02:00:00 PM »

Quote from: ItalianBeeWrangler
the same exact hive that had just swarmed.. was swarming again.


It is natural habit to bees. It is very normal. Swarming is worst problem of new beekeeper. Big hives swarm first.


Quote
I've asked him about adding another brood box on top to give them more room.


Did you have only one brood box?

Swarming destroys honey yield.

Do you have those two swarms  yet?

The system is:

When you hive swarmed you put swarm into foundation box. I start to draw combs and then after two days you give to it  50% sugar syrup so dring ne week it draw foundations ready. To build whole box of foundations bees use 5 kg dry sugar. It nees occupy 5 frames give 0,5 kg sugar per frame.

Do same to another swarm.

It depends how big your swarms are; how many frames are filled with bees.

When honey flow begin, put all those 3 hives together and you have normal forager again.

Take extra queen away before you put hives together. Leave the best.
After 24 hours connect them.

http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/PDFs/Swarm_Prev_Control_PM.pdf

The most important to do at the beginning of summer is to give room to bees that they have enoug space for brood, pollen, honey and bees itself.

* I use 3 brood box. First I give to bees 3 deep and I do not limit queen egg laying.
* When hive expand I give honey supers so much they occupy.
* Before main nectar flow bees use o swarm. Every week you should inpect do queen cell cup have eggs or larvae. It not, everything is so far good.  See Maarec.

If hive is one box, I put second box lowest. So hive is able to control it's brood area temperature.

No I have winter (-15C) and most of my hives have 2 box. In July in main flow all hives will be 6 boxes. I put two weak hive together if hive is not 6 boxes. So it is able to get over 200 lbs honey in one month.

I have now Italian race bees . I had Carniolan but they were mad to swarm.
.
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ian michael davison
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2006, 02:06:04 PM »

Hi Steve
The double swarm you mention is very common. If after the main swarm with old queen has left and the hive is still large enough, other swarms called casts can leave with virgin queens as they emerge.

In England we have many such OLD MASTERS. Get yourself a copy of a modern beekeeping book and learn from your mistakes. You are thinking on the right lines. Look to modern methods and practices.

Good luck Ian
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Virginia Beekeeper
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2006, 02:31:54 PM »

Hi Steve,
  I have been beekeeping 44 yrs. and I still love to learn. The best thing any beekeeper can do is practice preventive beekeeping, try to stay ahead of your bees. Most older beekeepers like myself don't keeping an open mind they keep doing the same things over and over again and hope for differant results. You need to think for yourself and watch your bees they are the best teachers in the world. Spend alot of time watching the hive entrance, how the bees act and work will tell you a great deal about how they are doing and what they need.

           Bill
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Finsky
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2006, 03:22:09 PM »

Quote from: Virginia Beekeeper
Hi Steve,
  I have been beekeeping 44 yrs. and I still love to learn.


That is nice. When I started beekeeping, I was 15 . No I am OLD FART, as they say. I have too nursed bees 44 years. That is life...

A guy who first teached me beekeeping was 75 years.
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ItalianBeeWrangler
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2006, 03:27:32 PM »

Thank you very much for your super sonic quick replies!  Its funny that I will sit here for hours and hours and read through the mountain of information available online...  seemingly finding the answer to everything I have a question for...   and when I can't find the answer.. one quick message posting on BEEMASTER and you all pull through! Bravi to all of you that reach out to help others...   I'm most appreciative!
I'll try to suck it up and be brave enough to go against my "teacher" and do things the way i've read and the way things have been suggested to me.

Thanks again everyone..

Oh.. by the way.. I did manage to get the first swarm...  todays swarm was a bit more challenging as it is on the tree trunk.. and i've yet to collect a swarm like that..  I tried brushing.. but they became incredibly aggressive.. so I left them until tomorrow.. I'll try it again if they're still there.  

Can I expect another swarm to happen from this hive??  At this point should I then go ahead an add another hive body or just add the honey supers.  I was thinking that maybe they are just out of room for storage so tthe honey supers would be the best since the hive has split twice?


Ciao everyone.. thanks a million.

Steve
"Italian BeeWrangler"
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Finsky
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2006, 04:19:35 PM »

Quote from: ItalianBeeWrangler

Can I expect another swarm to happen from this hive?? "


If bees have not enough room they will swarm again.

Just look what is situation in you main hive. There queens have killed each other and one is left.

Put the box opening in upper point of swarm and let them walk themselves  into the box. You may put a brood frame into box. So bees goes quickly to warm brood.

Give a little bit smoke that they began to move.

Let them build some foundations. So their swarming fever is passed.
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CraigW
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2006, 11:58:53 PM »

Quote from: Virginia Beekeeper
Hi Steve,
  I have been beekeeping 44 yrs. and I still love to learn. The best thing any beekeeper can do is practice preventive beekeeping, try to stay ahead of your bees. Most older beekeepers like myself don't keeping an open mind they keep doing the same things over and over again and hope for differant results. >You need to think for yourself and watch your bees they are the best teachers in the world. Spend alot of time watching the hive entrance, how the bees act and work will tell you a great deal about how they are doing and what they need.<

           Bill

V.beekeeper, do you do any checkerboarding or nectar management that Walt discusses in his articles?

Thanks,
Craig
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TwT
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2006, 01:12:34 AM »

yeh if you haven't see this post, here are some of the articles BB Bottom Board is talking about by Walt Wright.


http://www.beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=4205
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2006, 06:55:37 AM »

I do love to catch swarms but who has time to watch the hives all the time to catch them?  And if you have that much time, then you have the time to prevent them.

The first mistake people make about preventing swarms is they think you can just throw on some supers and they won't swarm.  But they will.  Yes, it's nice to have room for them to store the honey, so the supers are helpful, but the bees intend to swarm and the supers will not deter them.

The sequence in the Spring goes like this.  The bees, during winter, rear little spurts of brood.  The queen lays a little and they start rearing that batch, but they don't start any new brood until that brood emerges and they take a break.  Then they rear another little batch.  When pollen starts coming in they start to rear more brood to build up.  They also start using up the honey they have stored.  This is used to feed brood and also it makes room for more brood.  When the bees think they have enough bees they start filling all of that back in with honey, both to stop the queen from laying, and to have adequate stores in case the main flow doesn't pan out.  As the brood nest gets backfilled it make more and more unemployed nurse bees.  These nurse bees start doing a keening buzz that is quite different from the typical harmonious buzz you usually hear.  Once the brood nest is mostly full of honey they start swarm cells.  About the time they get capped the old queen leaves with a large number of bees.  Even if you catch the swarm, the hive has still stopped brood production and has lost (to the swarm) a lot of bees.  It's doubtful it will make honey.  If there are still enough bees, the hive will throw afterswarms with virgin queen heading them.

What you want to do is interrupt this process.  If you keep the brood nest from backfilling and if you occupy all those unemployed nurse bees then you can change their mind.  If you catch it before they start queen cells, you can put some empty frames in the brood nest.  Just one here and there with two frames of brood between.  In other words, you can do something like: BBEBBEBBEB where B is brood comb and E is an empty frame.  How many you insert depends on how strong the cluster is.  They have to fill all those gaps with bees.  The gaps fill with the unemployed nurse bees who begin festooning and building comb.  The queen will find the new comb and about the time they get about ¼” deep, the queen will lay in them.  You have now “opened up the brood nest”.  In one step you have occupied the bees that were preparing to swarm with wax production followed by nursing, you’ve expanded the brood nest, and you’ve given the queen a place to lay.  If you don’t have room to put the empty combs in, then add another brood box.

A hive that doesn’t swarm will produce a LOT more honey than a hive that swarms.
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Chad S
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2006, 09:01:44 AM »

Thanks for that Michael.  

What you have said would explain why the cut down split I did last summer worked so well at swarm prevention.  I removed a deep of capped brood, and nurse bees.  Put the deep near the hive so that the workers could go out to forage.  Made sure the queen was in the remaining deep.  The field bees fly back to their origional spot.  Added a deep of foundation.  The foundation deep was built out in a week.  The split reduced the number of nurse bees, increased the ratio of field bees, and gave the remaining nurse bees something to do.  The result was two new hives, 175lb of honey, and no swarm.

Chad
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Virginia Beekeeper
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2006, 10:05:55 AM »

Hi Craig,
 I had not read the articles until you asked the question. And I guess what I do is similar, I normaly use 3 deeps and each spring around apple blossom time I will remove 8-10 frames mostly empty, and replace with foundation. Two reasons for doing this I need the old comb to fill with {HFCS}  I put these in nucs that I am making up,this also is the way I rotate the old comb out of my hives. This gives the bees something to do at a time they need it and will do the best job drawing out the foundation. This is the time of year that I start to feed, to encourage the bees to draw the foundation.
     I don't feed before the middle of April unless I just have to. The reason is I don't want my bees to build to fast in march, if they build up to fast in march the hive peaks in population a bout a month before our main honey flow starts, by not encouraging them to build up to early, I can have them at peak when the flow starts. This is my method it works for me. Every beekeeper has his or her own way of doing things and if there is a better way I am very willing to change. My main concern is what is best for my bees, the amount of honey they make is secondary to me. Using this method I have had no swarms in the past 3 years.

   Bill
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CraigW
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2006, 11:16:18 AM »

Quote from: Virginia Beekeeper
Hi Craig,
 I had not read the articles until you asked the question. And I guess what I do is similar, I normaly use 3 deeps and each spring around apple blossom time I will remove 8-10 frames mostly empty, and replace with foundation. Two reasons for doing this I need the old comb to fill with {HFCS}  I put these in nucs that I am making up,this also is the way I rotate the old comb out of my hives. This gives the bees something to do at a time they need it and will do the best job drawing out the foundation. This is the time of year that I start to feed, to encourage the bees to draw the foundation.
     I don't feed before the middle of April unless I just have to. The reason is I don't want my bees to build to fast in march, if they build up to fast in march the hive peaks in population a bout a month before our main honey flow starts, by not encouraging them to build up to early, I can have them at peak when the flow starts. This is my method it works for me. Every beekeeper has his or her own way of doing things and if there is a better way I am very willing to change. My main concern is what is best for my bees, the amount of honey they make is secondary to me. Using this method I have had no swarms in the past 3 years.

   Bill


Thats a good way to do it. What about your V. mite count, any problems there? Do you use SC combe or the regular 5.4mm?

Thanks,
Craig
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Virginia Beekeeper
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2006, 11:57:49 AM »

Craig, I just use regular foundation. I have tried the plastic but I did not like it at all, I sure hoped it would work but it did not for me. I have been tempted to try the small cell but what I use now works for me.
   I like most everyone have an on going battle with varroa, but I use several differant methods of treatment but I don't use any chemicals. I mostly use powdered sugar and garlic 2 times spring and fall. I also fog with mineral oil and thymol in the winter when the temp is around 45-50. I also have mostly Russian bees. I like them alot but they still get mites but not as bad as some of the other breds. I have been retired fo 10 years so I have plenty of time to look after my bees, there in nothing I had rather do.

             Bill
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