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Thread: multiple swarms

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Portersville, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    33

    Default multiple swarms

    2 hives checked end of April-plenty of empty comb and no signs of swarm cells. Unable to check hives since d/t other circumstances. First swarm was Sunday May 16, moderate in size, caught and hived. Unsure which hive swarmed. Weds. May 19, second swarm, large size, caught and hived. Believe it came from hive 2 (last year swarm) d/t clustering noted on outside. Also, believed to have witness a mating flight from hive 1 (purchased colony). Dead or dying drones at entrance and "crazy" flying above hive. The buzz sound made me first think robbing but I saw no evidence to support that and they were not attacking me! Thursday May 20, third swarm, small maybe 2#, hived and given away. Today, Sunday May 23, fourth swarm, to high to catch but it looks large.

    After the initial swarm I was giving them time to hatch the queen, mate and start laying, but at this rate I'll have nothing left! Nice flow of bees still going in and out of all 4 hives. I have read a lot of the threads of multiple swarms and everyone seems to have their own ideas. I know how to prevent this next year, split early now that I know I have 2 hives with the tendency to swarm but...what do I do from here?
    Life and bees are getting away from me!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,436

    Default Re: multiple swarms

    All you can do is live and learn. I would climb after the high swarm and the wife would be upset for a week that I took the risk for some "stupid bees." She would put honey on her bread and I would have another hive. For background, I am a risk taking Marine and the bees go out of their way to sting her. Swarms can be frustrating, like raising teenagers, or just a part of life.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Greensburg, Ky.
    Posts
    1,160

    Default Re: multiple swarms

    I would be giving myself a pat on the back for helping the honey bee population in your area and now having not just one but several happy hives. Thats a good feeling of achievment for the hobbiest beekeeper. Good Job & Good Luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Stronghurst,Illinois
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: multiple swarms

    I have one that did 3 swarms on me. Opened them up to find 10 more queen cell. Only 1 was a superceduer. Pulled out 2 frames of sealed brood leaving 2 queen cells intact and put into a new hive with fresh small cell foundation.

    Destryed the other swarm cells and gave fresh foundation as well. They turned mean. After r days being mean I moved them. Will see how they are in a week.

    Drifter
    Some can learn by others mistakes , others have to whizz on the electric fence for themslves .

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,136

    Default Re: multiple swarms

    Splitting early is a mixed bag. I did that this year on April 23rd with three of my four overwintered hives to avoid swarms because they were so strong. One of the parent hives is working on drawing out three medium deeps at the same time (above a double deep brood chamber). The other two parents both started swarm cells anyway. I have dealt with one of these by leaving a single swarm cell on the original location (this has drawn and nearly filled a medium) and moving the colony within the apiary. The other hive I have split into multiple nucs, I'm considering trying to overwinter them in the michael Palmer style.
    Anyway, moving the boxes around works in theory because a swarming colony consists of three things the original queen, the flying bees, the brood with queen cells. By moving the boxes more than three feet the flying bee component is eliminated and the hive won't swarm. If the potential swarmer is moved around the apiary weekly for three weeks, when you think it is getting too strong, it will be weakened so much that when the new queens emerge there shouldn't be enough flying bees to swarm.
    If you are short of time these movements could be made without even opening the boxes - when a hive is looking too strong just move it around placing it by weaker hives and then moving it again in a week.
    Its worth a try next year. Adrian.

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