swarm then split
The hive I planned on splitting swarmed today. Adviced by another beekeeper to check that hive to see how many bees were left and if there were anymore queen cells. If I saw queen cells and had enough bees I could still split the hive . I had plenty of bees and spotted two queen cells so I took the frame with the cells, a frame of bees/brood, a frame of capped/uncapped honey with some brood and another frame completely full of honey in a deep of drawn comb. The queen cells were on the top bar of the frame in between the 2 large deeps. They were not damaged when I split the deeps but the position is odd in the new hive and now I wonder if I should have left them in the old hive since I couldn't find that queen, remember they just swarmed a few hours before? And I wonder if I was suppose to pull out swarm cells (didn't find any), not queen cells. Also, would you feed this new colony? I hate to draw attention to the small colony,original hive has a super on it. I plan to check them both in one week. I read that if the split doesn't make it's own queen I can add them back? If that is true how soon does that need to be done?
Last edited by BearNBee; 05-15-2009 at 08:55 PM.
If the old hive swarmed today, chances are there is no new queen in it yet. Usually a swarm will issue before a new queen hatches, but not always, as each hive is different within guidelines. If you keep it like it is for two weeks, you can then check both hives and see if they have queens. The new one will most likely have a queen and she may be laying eggs at that time. If the old hive at that time does not have a queen then you can join the two hives back together again by stacking one on top of the other with a sheet of newspaper between the two. I like to put the one with the queen on top of the queenless half. Poke a hole or two in the newpaper with a pencil near the center. The bees will eat out the newspaper and join up more calmly that way as both halves have a common task of getting rid of the newspaper. They also join well because one half is desperately seeking a queen and the other half will have a queen.
I had to join the hive as one had a laying queen, original hive did not. One week later newspaper was gone and so was the queen. No eggs seen and bees were agitated. I found one frame with a load of young queen cells. Very agitated bees so I closed up the hive without looking for another queen cell frame, new B.K. mistake! Should I wait a week then go in again to look for another frame with queen cell with the intention to split or leave them alone to hatch a queen, "calm down" and in a few weeks split hive with a purchased queen?
How late in the season is to late to split?
Also, the bees are filling in the frames with honey, I'm worried the new queen won't have room to lay if I don't go into the hive and replace some frames before she hatches. Let me know your thoughts on this, thanks.
It might be best at this point to just let them be to see what happens. Most likely they'll raise a queen and you'll be fine with the one hive. They will store honey as there is no brood to feed, and will move it up if needed to give new queen room to lay. You can add a super now in anticipation of that.
Re: swarm then split
This happended to me last 6 weeks. I split a 3 medium hive, took one medium, left them queenless 36hrs, introduced a queen, for some some reason she died,it went into a laying worker hive. I missed it. The old hive threw a basketball swarm about 1 week after the split,old queen left. Both hives now have queens, the laying worker hive; I shook out infront of the old hive and the bees were accepted
I am a generally hands off, part time beek, sometimes it is good way to be, sometimes not
The bees know more than I do
Last edited by Bizzybee; 06-13-2009 at 04:51 AM.
Re: swarm then split
This is exactly what happened to me today. I was going to split, didn't get in because of weather, and they swarmed. Glad to have the above advice when I go in tomorrow