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Author Topic: Swarm cell question  (Read 1533 times)

Offline JBird

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Swarm cell question
« on: May 01, 2007, 01:34:05 PM »
I have a BOOMING Russian/Carniolan hive that has already issued three swarms (captured them all, thankfully).  After the third swarm, I split this colony in half, each split getting one deep hive body from the parent colony.  Both splits have a TON of bees and one would be hard-pressed to tell that this colony issued three decent sized swarms and had been split.

Upon inspection of the splits, I found multiple capped swarm cells on the frame bottoms, but no supercedure cells.  There is also a fair amount of capped brood but no eggs that I could see in either split, therefore I believe both splits to be queenless.  I have inserted at least one empty frame into the brood nest of each split to give the new queens room to lay immediately.  I have also added one medium super of foundation above each split to get the combs drawn and allow a bit more room for all these bees.

I am wondering if the emerging virgin queens will leave their respective split in a swarm rather than return after mating?  Having been queenless for over a week and having some room for the new queen to lay I would think such a scenario would favor a new queen staying rather than leaving, no?  I guess I'm wondering if swarm cells, queen cells on frame bottoms, yield virgin queens that always swarm, regardless of conditions within the colony?

Thanks,

Justin

Offline Jerrymac

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Re: Swarm cell question
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2007, 05:47:09 PM »
When a hive swarms it is the old queen that leaves with the swarm before the new queens emerge. Then the virgin emerges, mates, and takes over the old hive. So these virgins should stay with the hive and not swarm.
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Offline JBird

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Re: Swarm cell question
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2007, 08:28:28 PM »
Thanks for the reassurance, Jerry.  This hive has issued three swarms already, so clearly I think it was just so packed with bees that when the virgin queens emerged they too decided to look for a new home.  I'm hoping that the next round of emerging queens decide to stay put now that I've alleviated the congestion somewhat.  To think, I've now got five colonies from this single colony!  Maybe I should be posting this in Rapid Beeyard Growth!

Offline lively Bee's

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Re: Swarm cell question
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2007, 01:43:03 AM »
If they are that full of bees still you could loose another swam do to lack of space.  You made the right move by adding the extra frame and the super.  If It was me I would pull 2 frames from each split make sure one still has queen cells and make a extra 4 frame nuc of if you have they extra cells you could make two 4 frame splits and this would leave you with

2 6 frame hives
2 4 frame nuc
3 swarms.

Offline JBird

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Re: Swarm cell question
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2007, 12:23:25 PM »
Thanks for your input, lively.  The major reason I didn't split the parent colony any further than I did is because you're only allowed to have three hives per residential property in NJ.  With all the swarm cells in the parent colony, I could have made several splits into 5-frame Nucs as you suggested.

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Swarm cell question
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2007, 07:30:09 PM »
With an overcrowded hive and a staggered development of queen cells you could still get more swarms.  I've seen it where the old queen leaves with the 1st swarm, the virgin leaves a week to 10 days later--just at the time she should have finished mating, followed by a 3rd, 4th, and even 5th after swarm if the condition is allowed to continue. 

The solution, in this case, is to remove all remaining queen cells and recombine with one of the swarms already caught after a few days.  If a new queen has already hatched the 2 will fight it out for supremecy. 

In the mean time releave the overcrowding on the parent hive by supering it.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Swarm cell question
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2007, 10:51:34 PM »
I would do what you did and split them.  If they are not crowded and they are in a new location it's doubtful they will swarm.
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Offline JBird

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Re: Swarm cell question
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2007, 12:47:28 PM »
I would do what you did and split them.  If they are not crowded and they are in a new location it's doubtful they will swarm.

I can't tell you how reassuring I find this, Michael.  Another reassuring thing is the amazing level of activity in both splits and the distinct aroma of ripening nectar that now pervades the beeyard.  While I've smelled the distinct aroma of ripening goldenrod nectar in Fall, I've never actually smelled ripening nectar in Spring before.  Wish I could bottle up this scent to get me through January and February!

Offline doak

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Re: Swarm cell question
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2007, 12:25:38 PM »
I would put another deep hive body on each split and remove all the extra queen cells but two or three.
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