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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Bearding = Early swarm?

    I have 2 hives. Yesterday early morning when it was still a bit brisk out, hive 2 had some bearding on it. Popped the lid to peek thru my screened inner board and you could barely see any of the tops of the frames - meaning, no space between bees hardly at all - on tops of the frame. Couldn't see anything down between frames. I had to be at work shortly, so I threw on another medium with all new frames. My thoughts were they've run out space. My other hive (#1) had an extra medium on it from last year, with honey and empty frames alternated. So I know that hive had room to expand, they were not exhibiting this behavior, and there was still some room visible in it.

    I will be able to inspect tomorrow to tell more, but ITMT does this seem "pre-swarm-ish"? Did I make a good decision to expand? When I open tomorrow, should I alternate empty frames with honey, and is now a good time to reverse? Running in the 70s and 80s all week with lows from 40s to 60s. Unusually warm for this period. THANKS!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,046

    Default Re: Bearding = Early swarm?

    Go ahead and reverse, as long as you aren't splitting up the broodnest. Bearding isn't directly a swarm precursor, though it can be indicative of broodnest density and high populations which do drive the swarm impulse. You can reverse more than once through the season; just don't chill brood and it can be a helpful management tool.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Bearding = Early swarm?

    Thanks Ben! I'm going in tomorrow...my first spring. Expecting to learn a lot!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    733

    Default Re: Bearding = Early swarm?

    How old is the queen? Two years old? You might think of taking about three frames out of this overpopulous hive. One of capped brood, one of open brood and one of honey and pollen and replace those frames with foundation frames or drawn combs. Making a small split early fools the hive into thinking that they have swarmed. You will still get a honey crop and another hive. OMTCW

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Bearding = Early swarm?

    I would point out here if you are splitting for swarm prevention the old queen should go with the new split, this way the original hive will quickly realize it is queenless and change from swarm mode to requeen mode... not a guarantee but can tip the scale.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    733

    Question Re: Bearding = Early swarm?

    Being very early in the season, the new nuc can raise it own queen, and the original hive will still refrain from swarming, provided the queen cell cups have not started. The honey crop will still be nearly as great as they would originally have gathered and there is even a likelihood of a very small crop with the nuc. This could very well happen in Arizona where you are located. OMTCW

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Bearding = Early swarm?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Hill View Post
    You might think of taking about three frames out of this overpopulous hive. One of capped brood, one of open brood and one of honey and pollen and replace those frames with foundation frames or drawn combs.
    Cedar, for the split, do I just put the brood between the other two frames (to keep it warm? - like, OB(CappedBrood)HP? And I don't fill the rest of the box with frames? Is that to control SHB? And I'm guessing I need to be sure there are nurse bees attached. As I understand it, it won't matter if there are older bees, because they will return to the original hive. And I'm just guessing that nurse bees will be the ones not flying off?

    Thanks!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Question Re: Bearding = Early swarm?

    DRATS! This is why I want all mediums! If the bees have started to move back down, my brood MAY be on my lowest box - my deep. If so, if I remove any deep frame, I do not have another deep in which to put it. So, what is the hazard if I stack 2 mediums and then put in the one deep brood frame surrounded by 6-1/4 honey frame and 6-1/4 open brood? Any other options??? I am saw-challenged!

    Maybe i'll get lucky and the brood will all be in he mediums!!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

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