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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Cornwall, Pa USA
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    91

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    One of my strongest hives looks like it is preparing the last few days to swarm. Last weekend I investigated the hive and found lots of both supercedure and swarm cells, with at least 6 capped cells overall. I transferred 7 brood frames housing most of the queen cells and open brood over to a new empty split hive and gave it one of the completely full supers so it has honey till it gets up and going. Pretty sure I didn't move the queen over to the split but am not positive. So they SHOULDN'T swarm given that I removed all the open brood, correct? Left them lots of capped brood, but come to think of it I didn't see any eggs at all. But the queen usually stops laying right before she swarms doesn't she? Still learning, there is so much yet I don't have altogether figured out.

    The reason I believe they are preparing to swarm is that they have been massing on the landing board and all over the front of the hive the last few days. Have been unsure it wasn't just bees cooling off, but none of my other hives, some of them also strong hives are doing this, and today they are balling up supported from the underside of the landing board, in a 4" diameter ball. Isn't this an imminent swarm? What can I do to stop it? Knock all the bees out of the hive onto the ground to simulate a swarm tomorrow before they actually depart? Thanks for any input.

    [This message has been edited by Bill_newbee (edited May 24, 2004).]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    ROME, GA - USA
    Posts
    27

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    you should check both boxes now and try and determine if their is a queen? If the queen is in the parent box and has no queen cells it will not swarm. how ever if she's in the second box and you moved the queen cells to this box also you will have a swarm and a queenless hive.
    Sounds like you originally had a queenless hive and they are trying to requeen them selves. you may want to combine both boxes back together add a super for extra room. if you find the queen then pull the cells, if no queen leave the cells and let mother nature take its place and one cell will hatch and take over. best wishes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Cornwall, Pa USA
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    91

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    Thanks for your input...I have aready added lots of room to both the brood area and another super for expansion. I think I caught the brood expansion too late, it was completely full of bees. Which is why I pulled all those frames to make the split. Couldn't find the queen despite 2 tries, on any frames anywhere. That doesn't mean she isn't there though, but she was well marked in that hive and easy to find previously. Kinda hate messing with them again right away after that major teardown yesterday but if they are going to swarm I guess I have to to save them from leaving?
    The split off hive now just looks normal like the other hives, bees coming and going, not massing on the front at all. I bet they will just raise those queens and continue on, but the original hive is massing more than ever out front, despite almost no open brood, 2/3 empty brood frames and an added medium brood box, and another empty super added up top.
    This caught me totally by surprise, since I wouldn't have guessed that my strongest hive both population-wise and in honey producing, was queenless!!!


    [This message has been edited by Bill_newbee (edited May 25, 2004).]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,379

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    Just because there is no brood doesn't mean they are queenless. Were there swarm cells in the hive when you did the split? Were there swarm cells in the split? Maybe the queen is in the split and a virgin is in the hive?

    Also, just because they are massing on the entrance doesn't mean they will swarm. It's true, they sometimes do this before they swarm but they also do this on other occassions. ONE of which is when the virgin queen goes on her mating flights.

    If there are no swarm cells they are not going to swarm. If there are, then they ARE going to swarm.

    Anyway, the current situation is you are seeing no brood. which means EITHER the hive is queenless or a new queen has not started to lay yet. If you can get a frame of eggs to put in you can find out in two or three days because they will start queen cells if they are queenless.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Cornwall, Pa USA
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    91

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    Thanks Michael,
    It is thundering and raining outside at present, nearly pitch dark outside and they still are clumped on the outside of the hive. All the others are nestled the other hives inside of course. I disassembled the "possibly swarming" hive this morning, and confirmed that there is only one supercedure cell, capped, in the hive, and no more swarm cells, no queen to be found and I looked carefully twice. Originally there were maybe 5 of each type queen cell. The down side is I transferred all the others to the split. But they don't seem to be doing anything like preparing to swarm, at least yet, and those capped queen cells ought to hatch soon, correct? How many days again between capped queen cell and emitted virgin? Can't locate that little timetable you posted previously...

    So. Now that I have done everything wrong, what should I do next?

    Must I eliminate the swarm cells from the split, or will the new (or old transferred queen if that is the case) royal highness take care of that for me?

    Just let nature now take its course? They ares till making honey just fine, in fact the brood area is now crammed full just like others have indicated having experienced.

    I thoroughly examined both hives and couldn't find the queen, but that doesn't mean of course that I didn't miss here. She was most recently a red painted queen, and was super easy to spot, but may have been superceded for all I know.

    Your thought about mating flights makes good sense since those hatching queens are just about to go courting. And the bees on the front don't seem to be flying much, just hanging around, literally. It's making more sense now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Cornwall, Pa USA
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    "Just because there is no brood doesn't mean they are queenless. Were there swarm cells in the hive when you did the split? Were there swarm cells in the split? Maybe the queen is in the split and a virgin is in the hive"

    Yes there were about 4-5 of both types in the original hive. I moved queen cells, intact with the 7 frames, except for one supercedure cell over to the split. Split now has both types of cells

    I was wondering if maybe the queen was moved, that's entirely possible, there were SO MANY BEES I might have missed her. Especially if she has slimmed down to swarm.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I think you've done the right things. You split them. Sometimes they still decide to swarm, but chances are they won't and if they do not as many bees will leave.

    There are queen cells in both hives so you shouldn't end up queenless.

    Lets try it from the day the egg is layed:

    0 Eggs layed
    3 Day the bees start feeding and decide to make them into a queen.
    5 Obvious queen cells
    8 Cells capped
    15-16 Queens emerge. Note: small cell queens may emerge earlier or not. “Enlarged” queens may be on time or a day or two late.
    22 First possible day to fly
    25 First possible day to mate
    27 Still mating
    28 First day we may find eggs. Look for eggs. Don’t panic if there aren’t any. Weather can set things back. Check again every couple of days. Also don’t panic if there are two eggs in a cell for a couple of days. It should straighten out after a couple of days. If it doesn’t then you can panic.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Cornwall, Pa USA
    Posts
    91

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    Wow, at least 3 more weeks, plus however many days till the first queen emerges, no wonder people get nervous. I will keep an eye on them, but their population is enormous so they should keep making honey stores like mad. Will add some eggs later if they become available from another hive if necessary. Thanks again Michael and all, you experts at this site make getting up to speed in this hobby actually fun.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,379

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    They will actually make MORE honey with no brood to feed.

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