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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,271

    Default Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    I was reading Larry Connors' Queen Rearing Essentials.
    "Natural healthy hives produce the best-fed queens during swarming and supersedure. Cell finishers (or builders) attempt to duplicate the high population and abundant food found during swarming, and create an area of reduced queen pheremone in a colony similar to what happens during supersedure." p.46
    So is it possible to mess up a cell finisher and cause it to swarm because it seems to me that the finisher is really close to being a swarming hive. Why don't the bees swarm the moment the first cell is capped? I'm curious because if there is a way of messing it up I'd like to know what it is and avoid it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    938

    Default Re: Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    YES They will swarm

    In a cell finisher the queen is in the bottom box the top box is above a Q-excluder so have your cell finisher in a good hive with no bee escape except for the hives entrance Just place a queen excluder under the bottom box that has your laying queen and go through the box an keep queen cells below knocked off save these and use the RJ in priming your next grafts

    Try keeping out hatching drones in this hive they will block the queen excluder and will hinder the bees from coming and going
    Last edited by Velbert; 02-27-2011 at 08:33 PM. Reason: added

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,149

    Default Re: Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    A point in favor of queenless cell starters.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,271

    Default Re: Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    Thanks guys. I am rereading the books and trying to understand. I don't plan to raise a lot of queens, but those I raise I want to raise well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    I don't remember having one swarm. I've only done a queenright finisher a few times.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    I always moved frames of sealed brood up, thus keeping a batch of young bees upstairs.Because we were in the finishing colonies constantly, swarming was rare. We did have finishing colonies that did manage to swarm even so with all that extra attention. Finishing colonies are alot of work and we found out by accident that there was a simpiler way of doing things. Thus finishing colonies went the way of the Dodo bird in this outfit. David Laferney knows the answer. TK

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,145

    Default Re: Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    What's your method Ted? (Or David)?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Re: Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Velbert View Post
    YES They will swarm

    In a cell finisher the queen is in the bottom box the top box is above a Q-excluder so have your cell finisher in a good hive with no bee escape except for the hives entrance
    Why not have a top entrance as well? I've run finishing colonies with two entrances and can't think of a good reason against it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Re: Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    Location can have a lot to do with this too... but timing in all aspects is the key... if a builder is too close for comfort, I switch to a queenless method by separating the chamber... queen goes with the top to an opposite facing location, empty frames are added for her to lay in and lessen the population... the bottom gets three frames of fresh pollen, two frames of "running' honey (scratched), three frames of capped brood, and a shallow of honey is placed on top... this makes for one heck of a box of bees, but no larvae for swarm cells... the bees act like "bulk" bees with a huge desire for a queen... once I start this box, I keep it running by adding capped brood frames and shaking the shallow in the evening (to remove older bees and use them for starting study nucs in other yards...

    At the end of the season, I shake the whole box and use it like two packages to start new singles before the fall flow...

    I do not recommend this method for everyone, because it can be tricky trying to judge the true population numbers and without experience with it, you can get a lot of drift... but it works for my area... the main necessity seems to be a fresh pollen source and a trickle nectar flow...

    HVH,

    I bore 1" holes in my shallows or mediums that are used to top off builders... I think it makes a slight difference in the cell attention, may just be the lower traffic in the chamber... never really thought too far into it, but the builders do always seem to perform a bit better with bees coming in through the supers and the chamber as they see fit...

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by rrussell6870; 02-28-2011 at 02:29 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,149

    Default Re: Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    What's your method Ted? (Or David)?
    This is just my second year doing it - but I use a continuously fed queenless 5 frame medium nuc with lots of nurse bees, pollen, honey - and only about a dozen cells to build - as a 10 day starter/finisher. Several other hives are earmarked to primarily furnish resources to keep this hive really strong.

    After seeing Joseph Clemen's massive cells from a similar system I'm adding a queen excluder (to keep it from being commandeered) and a 2" slatted rack to give cluster space under the comb - he puts medium frames in a deep box to do the same thing, but I guess I can't help adding my own touch.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Re: Do cell finishers swarm? If not, why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post

    HVH,

    I bore 1" holes in my shallows or mediums that are used to top off builders... I think it makes a slight difference in the cell attention, may just be the lower traffic in the chamber... never really thought too far into it, but the builders do always seem to perform a bit better with bees coming in through the supers and the chamber as they see fit...

    Hope this helps!
    Thanks. My lids have a 3/8 spacer rim with small sections that pivot. I like to open these up to allow for a top entrance.

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