I have a hive thats swarmed 3 times in the last 2 weeks and is still full of bees? They always get about 40 feet ina tree were I can't get them. Last year I took off the queen cells, no swarm but no honey opening the bees weekly seemed to mess them up, they quit building in the supers and such. This year I decided to leave them alone and they went swarm crazy.
Split the stronge hives down next year, you will have more bees and more honey
Things I would do:
Every spring, set up a bait hive and some "swarm lure" pheromone nearby. That way, maybe they will go there instead of 40 feet up a tree.
I never try to destroy queen cells, it's counterproductive anyway. Once the bees have made up them mind you may as well help them do it. Why not just put all the queen cells in a split without a queen and let them hatch them? Then you have the swarm in your hive instead of 40 feet up in a tree.
Try an unlimited brood nest. Three deeps or four mediums for the brood nest. Take out the queen excluder. If she lays up one more box then she was out of room and needed to.
Try a slatted rack on the bottom. Also a Screened bottom board. Better ventilation seems to help on swarming. The slatted rack give you more ventilation and more cluster space.
I have the slatted racks. I have the screened bottom pallets. I have the unlimited brood chambers. I have the nine month old queens.
So of course my bees never swarm. But for some reason all the neighbor swarms seem to come and hang in my yard. Just lucky, I guess.
alot of beekeepers act like swarms are such a terrible event, i look at it more like an event in a hive's life that the bees are entitled to,kind of like a graduation party or independence day parade, i don't encourage it,but hey, they work hard for me and, if despite my encouragment, they want to spread their oats,well, go for it.
>my bees never swarm. But for some reason all the neighbor swarms seem to come and hang in my yard.
Maybe it's the weather in CA? In 30 years I've never had much problems with swarms until last year and then I think it was the weather. I had four swarms from four hives last year.
>>alot of beekeepers act like swarms are such a terrible event
Loss of bees, loss of potential honey crop. To me it is an event that I try to minimize. I maintain my hives to their highest potential.
My only regret about swarms is when I don't catch them in the pre-swarm state. When I do, then I am thankful for being blessed with another hive.
I take out the queen and all brood frames which have no queen cells and put them in a new deep. Put new foundation in the old hive to replace the stolen frames, then close it back up. I put the old queen in her new home on top of the old hive with the opening facing the reverse direction. When the new queen has mated, and gone into business for herself, then I start working the two into a two queen hive, for great honey production.
Michaels comment on bait hives is ecxellent for those times when they don't get caught in the pre-swarm condition. It is much better to be prepared for either eventuality.