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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Connecticut
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    46

    Question

    I had a swarm get away last week and I have been wondering if the old queen always flies with them and if so doesn't that mean that the brood production will be way down.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    I seem to take a lot of flack for it, but the answer is "it depends". When a hive does a primary swarm the old queen always leaves with the swarm. Usually this is before the new queen cells emerge. In the time between when she starts preparing to leave and one of the new queens emerge, mate and start to lay, there is no brood being layed. Sometimes the first or second or third or fourth queen to emerge takes off (still a virgin) with more bees in one or more afterswarms. Sometimes, more times than I care to think about, ALL of the queens leave in afterswarms and the hive is left queenless. A swarm not only deprives the hive of the bees that leave, but the brood that is no longer being raised during the time from the begining of preparations to swarm until the new queen starts to lay.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    46

    Lightbulb

    That explains why my brood has dwindled. Now I have to worry about queens in both of my hives. I still haven't seen any eggs in my new split.
    One more question, is July to late in the summer to make a split. I have heard it is foolish to chase a swarm in July and a swarm has a drive that a split doesn't have.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    But a split has a head start on a swarm. I'd chase a swarm in July or make a split in July. I've made splits in August, but the weather and other factors sometimes make you combine them back before winter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    NSW,Australia
    Posts
    71

    Post

    If you manage to catch the swarm again
    and you kill the queen could you add these to the hive using the newspaper method of joining a hive ? or could you just join them

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    brown county,indiana,usa
    Posts
    571

    Post

    so assuming that the old queen leaves with the primary swarm,the new queen should emerge in a day or two(?),mate(maybe a week or more),and a few days to start laying right,that's an easy two weeks.examining your hive immeditely after a swarm poses a risk of maybe destroying the queen cell,i guess doing a good inspection about a week after the swarm and looking for hatched and unhatched queen cells and the new queen might give you an idea if you're gonna have queen troubles.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,104

    Post

    And there are quite a few people in India who speak English so you can ask.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
    Posts
    848

    Post

    M.B what does that mean?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,104

    Post

    >>And there are quite a few people in India who speak English so you can ask

    >M.B what does that mean?

    I posted this on a different subject. I'm not sure how it got here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
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    848

    Post

    Thank's Michael,for clearing that up.I went back up to see what I missed,Man,I thought I was in the twlight zone(l.o.l)>>>>Mark

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Post

    I have another little issue with swarming.

    Today I could finally inspect my hives after almost a week of terrible weather, and the strongest one has built 3 or 4 queen cells. I am leave for 2.5 weeks in 4 days. What to do? I did not see eggs in the cells but I am not 100% sure since the angle was very bad (the cells are built right in the corner of the frames and with very little clearance. In the one cell I could see into it I saw a white gooy mass at the bottom of the cell, but it did not look like a larva.

    The hive had space to build comb still but not a lot. Does it look like when I come back I will have 1/2 (or less) of my bees only in that hive? I added a super. Should I go quickly in there and destroy those cells? Would it work to leave a box nearby while gone with some foundation or empty frames for the swarm to hopefully get in there? Or, finally, should I split them right away and leave them like that to their own devices until back?

    Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

    Jorge

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    >Today I could finally inspect my hives after almost a week of terrible weather, and the strongest one has built 3 or 4 queen cells. I am leave for 2.5 weeks in 4 days. What to do? I did not see eggs in the cells but I am not 100% sure since the angle was very bad (the cells are built right in the corner of the frames and with very little clearance. In the one cell I could see into it I saw a white gooy mass at the bottom of the cell, but it did not look like a larva.

    Is this the bottom corner or the top corner? "A white gooy mass"? What size? If it's a very small gooy mass it's probably an egg that just hatched and got covered in food. If the cell is at the top corner I wouldn't worry about it. They are planning, or at least thinking about, a supercedure, but if that's what they want, who cares. You can tear them down if you want.

    If they are at the bottom, they might be just toying with the idea, based on how many they have built so far. Three cells is not enough to definitively say they are trying to swarm. They may build more and swarm or they may change their mind and tear them down.

    >The hive had space to build comb still but not a lot.

    That's part of the equation, but sometimes they just think it's time to reproduce.

    >Does it look like when I come back I will have 1/2 (or less) of my bees only in that hive?

    Always a possibility.

    >I added a super. Should I go quickly in there and destroy those cells?

    That's one theory. If they are really wanting to swarm they will build new ones and in 21 days you'll have a new queen and the old will have left.

    >Would it work to leave a box nearby while gone with some foundation or empty frames for the swarm to hopefully get in there?

    A 50/50 chance. They will or they won't. If you want to go that way, put some Lemongrass oil, or Honey Bee Healthy or some swarm lure if you have any of those. Lemon pledge is the right smell, but doesn't last long enough.

    >Or, finally, should I split them right away and leave them like that to their own devices until back?

    That's what I'd do. I would split it and, if you don't want another hive, combine it when you get back, because they probably won't change their mind if they are trying to swarm.

    There is no sure thing here. There's a good chance they aren't really going to swarm. There's also the possibility that they might. You have to decide what you want to gamble on. The split is less of a gamble, but it will hurt the production of this hive because of the disruption of splitting and combining, but not nearly as much as a swarm will hurt production because half or more of the bees leave. But if they weren't really going to swarm...


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi Jorge,

    Today I could finally inspect my hives after almost a week of terrible weather, and the strongest one has built 3 or 4 queen cells. I am leave for 2.5 weeks in 4 days. What to do? I did not see eggs in the cells but I am not 100% sure since the angle was very bad (the cells are built right in the corner of the frames and with very little clearance. In the one cell I could see into it I saw a white gooy mass at the bottom of the cell, but it did not look like a larva.

    replY:

    It is swarm season here which is 2 weeks late. You most likely have a larvae being feed if you see white substance down there and thhey are preparing to swarm I'd bet.

    The hive had space to build comb still but not a lot.

    reply:

    You need to provide more before they run out. Also even with the space it means nothing to the bees it is what is going on in the space that they are using. Foundations mean nothing to them. Sounds like you ned to open them up.

    Should I go quickly in there and destroy those cells?

    reply:

    If you want to try to make a crop you can try it. Or you can make a small split and be done with it and lose some crop. Your option! If you want to try the cutting down method I'll tell you a way that may work. First of all cut every cell out of the hive, shake the bees off the frames as some can hide under the bees all it takes is one cell. Then from the second box put two frames of brood into the center of a third. This will draw the bees up and relieve congestion. Take the foundations in the second box on the outside and place between brood combs every other one fashion (in the center). This should pyimid the bees up and expand the broodnest. Then since you shall be gone awhile you need to add several supers (3 mediums, 4 or 5 shallows). If when you come back the bees aren't ripping up the supers you know they swarmed anyways. Can't get fancy since you won't be around.

    Clay

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Michel and Clay, thanks very much for your input!!
    I will check tomorrow and see how things look but I am inclined towards a split. I do not mind at all increasing the numbers of hives even though I will miss the extra honey at the end. The good thing about this particular hive is that it has regressed amazingly well, most frames being drawn to less than 5mm cells on the first pass. In fact, the queen cells look somewhat small, which I assume may be a good thing.
    I have a last question about this (for now ): does it make sense at this time in the season to leave a lot of syrup in the split hive (top feeder) while I leave them unattended for 2+ weeks? I assume we are still at the tail end of the spring nectar flow and the bees will have enough to go gather. On the other hand, all of the bees that will stay with the split will be nursing bees doing very little foraging until the queen is laying. Then again, will they take the syrup to start drawing comb from the fundation I will put in there while they wait for their new queen? Ah, also, would it be smart to put a second box on top right away to leave them enough space to make comb? My own answer is no, since they won't have time to build much of their nest during the next 2 weeks without a queen.
    Jorge

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,104

    Post

    >I have a last question about this (for now ): does it make sense at this time in the season to leave a lot of syrup in the split hive (top feeder) while I leave them unattended for 2+ weeks?

    Tough question. I think I probably would. It will give them some help and probably there is enough of a honey flow to keep robbing from starting, but if it does you won't be there to deal with it.

    >Then again, will they take the syrup to start drawing comb from the fundation I will put in there while they wait for their new queen?

    Yes they probably will, and bees need something to do.

    >Ah, also, would it be smart to put a second box on top right away to leave them enough space to make comb? My own answer is no, since they won't have time to build much of their nest during the next 2 weeks without a queen.

    It depends on how many bees there are and how much brood you give them. The brood, if in all stages, will coninue to emerge for the next 24 days or so. So for that time period the population will continue to increase.

    If in doubt, I'd put on another box. If you're pretty sure they won't need it, it will be more stressful to heat and humidify the extra room. If there are plenty of bees this isn't bad, but if the split is small it can be. You'll have to eyeball the situation to decide.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Michael,

    Is the best time of day to make a split in the middle or so when most foragers are out?

    Jorge

  17. #17
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I do them when I have time. Usually after work in the evenings, now that the days are long, on weekends when the days are short. I don't think it will matter much. I usually face both of the new hives toward the old location from each side so the returning bees get distributed between the two. Or you can swap places if the population get's to lopsided.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
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    261

    Post

    Oh, I was thinking of only taking a few frames out of one hive to make a small split and leave the other relatively strong. I was thinking of putting this new hive a few feet away in front of the other.
    Jorge

  19. #19
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    That will work. If you do that, be sure to brush a lot of young nurse bees off of some brood comb into it so it doesn't depopulate when the forages go back to the old hive.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Post

    I have returned from my 2 week trip and this is what I found in the split I made before leaving following your advice:
    the hive has virtually no brood left (only a few capped cells), they have been building a little bit of comb from foundation and there is one capped queen cell as far as i can see, but I may have missed some queen cells. They are building another one in the middle of a frame but it is not capped yet and I don't think I see a larva. Since there are no eggs there and I am uncertain about the existence of capped queen cells, I wonder what happened. I expected several queen cells capped and getting close to hatching by now.
    I will try to order a queen, but should I? I would have loved to see a queen be born, mate, etc. but I may end up reaching the end of the season with a hive that is far too weak.
    Jorge

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