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  1. #1
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    Jul 2011
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    Default Favorite swarm prevention method?

    For those who go for honey production, not raising bees, what do you consider your best method of swarm control?

    I have bee yards that are out on farms about an hour from me and a few hives in my back yard. The backyard hives are easy to monitor for swarm control purposes but I can only visit the out-apiaries once a month at best. What do you think of the following plan for help prevent the hive from swarming? I'd keep double deeps, like I always do, for the brood box. When swarm season gets close and the hive is strong, I'd put on an excluder above the brood box so that I could move all frames of brood above the excluder except for one frame that I'd leave in the center of the deep located just under the excluder. I'd replace the brood frames with empty comb and/or foundation. My visit to the bee yards would ideally be every three weeks. I need some construction criticism/advice from you experienced beekeepers primarily in the business of honey production about my plan. Anyone wanna comment?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    Would you be adding a third deep to place the deep brood frames in above the excluder? How would you work that third deep out of brood production when you wanted to get back down to your wintering size? Or do you collect honey in deeps, as well?

    You know your pace of laying, etc., and pace of your nectar flows, would the drawn comb in two boxes - 20 frames with one brood frame at the start and other frames with some honey and pollen - last three weeks with no further manipulations before it got too crowded again?

    Enj.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
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    746

    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    "Favorite swarm prevention method?"

    Checkerboard the honey dome immediately above the brood chamber. You may have to choose between more frequent inspection, particularly from the last week of March to the first week of June in your area, or increased risk of losing some swarms. Well located swarm traps may help mitigate the loss of bees, if not the honey. The method you suggested may cause the bees to make what I would refer to as "emergency" cells above queen excluder if the queen is below the excluder and unable to spread her footprint pheromones there. Others will likely know better than I do what moving the brood into a third deep box above the queen excluder would do. Cheers,
    David
    David

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    Do walk away splits in the spring on your strong suspect hives before the bees get too swarmy. It increases your hive count, reduces swarm tendency, and the parent hive produces honey like mad. Best of all worlds.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2008
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    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    Do walk away splits in the spring on your strong suspect hives before the bees get too swarmy. It increases your hive count, reduces swarm tendency, and the parent hive produces honey like mad. Best of all worlds.
    and requeen regularly
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    >Do walk away splits in the spring on your strong suspect hives before the bees get too swarmy.

    If I can't get to the outyards very often that's what I do. If I can get to them more often I may focus on opening the brood nest.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 41y 200h 38yTF

  7. #7
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    Jul 2011
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    Richardson, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Would you be adding a third deep to place the deep brood frames in above the excluder? How would you work that third deep out of brood production when you wanted to get back down to your wintering size? Or do you collect honey in deeps, as well?

    You know your pace of laying, etc., and pace of your nectar flows, would the drawn comb in two boxes - 20 frames with one brood frame at the start and other frames with some honey and pollen - last three weeks with no further manipulations before it got too crowded again?

    Enj.
    Yes. I'd be placing the brood in the third deep which would be the one above the excluder.

    For getting back to wintering size I'd just remove everything above the excluder at harvest time. After that, part of the brood would be used to make splits when I could.

    The three weeks with no manipulation is basically a set in stone thing for me since my schedule doesn't allow me to get out to those locations more often than three weeks. But, by three weeks, each time I check the hive there shouldn't be any brood in the frames I moved above the excluder. Hopefully, there'd be honey going into those frames and the super above them.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Do walk away splits in the spring on your strong suspect hives before the bees get too swarmy.

    If I can't get to the outyards very often that's what I do. If I can get to them more often I may focus on opening the brood nest.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm
    Wouldn't that be an adverse affect to my effort to maximize honey production? I've only taken honey off of nucs created in the same year if that year had exceptional good conditions.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Wheatfield, IN
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    make splits let them raise their own queens. easy as that. do it early (dandelion bloom in my area) and you'll get production from both
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  10. #10
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    Aug 2002
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    >Wouldn't that be an adverse affect to my effort to maximize honey production?

    Yes. Which is why you should make more trips and manage them better to get honey and not splits...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 41y 200h 38yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    Be aware that the brood you move above the excluder may make supercedure cells. Even when moving just all sealed pupa, sometimes there is eggs or young larva in a spot here or there on them. Having your one frame with the queen on it just under the excluder will help prevent this as she is very close to the brood moved above, but it may happen, I'm just pointing out that possibility.
    20+ years, raise my own queens, feed when needed, I treat but have not perfected varroa management yet.

  12. #12
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    Jul 2011
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    Richardson, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Wouldn't that be an adverse affect to my effort to maximize honey production?

    Yes. Which is why you should make more trips and manage them better to get honey and not splits...
    Michael, your earlier comments said you focus on opening the brood nest if you can get to them more often and make walkaway splits if you can't get there more often. I'm just trying to understand but how is my plan not opening the brood nest if I am moving most most of the brood above the excluder? what do you mean by "make more trips and manage them better to get honey and not splits"? Is that your best method of swarm control?

  13. #13
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    Jul 2011
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    Be aware that the brood you move above the excluder may make supercedure cells. Even when moving just all sealed pupa, sometimes there is eggs or young larva in a spot here or there on them. Having your one frame with the queen on it just under the excluder will help prevent this as she is very close to the brood moved above, but it may happen, I'm just pointing out that possibility.
    Ray, if that happens the new queen would be trapped above the excluder wouldn't she? and maybe I should put another excluder between the bottom board and first deep? lol..........now I'm probably going a little to far!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Miami, Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    Pull brood
    Control growth into your main flow, then let go of the leash and add boxes

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    While there are many good suggestions above and I use several of them, there is one suggestion that has not been made yet can make a huge difference in swarming. Equalize the colonies. Presuming they are all disease free, swap frames of brood so that all colonies have roughly the same resources roughly 7 weeks before the main flow. They will then all be at roughly the same point 3 weeks later when you can pull a nuc or open the brood nest or whatever other control measure you choose to use. It is always easier to use the same manipulation on all colonies rather than having to figure out what each colony needs individually.
    DarJones - 46 years, 14 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Rockford, MI
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    Early season splits.

  17. #17
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Favorite swarm prevention method?

    >I'm just trying to understand but how is my plan not opening the brood nest if I am moving most most of the brood above the excluder?

    It depends on how you do it. If you leave empty spaces in the brood nest to be filled, then yes, that would be opening the brood nest.

    > what do you mean by "make more trips and manage them better to get honey and not splits"?

    It takes some intervention to prevent swarming. If I have the time to make two or three trips during prime swarm season it's pretty doable. If I only have time for one trip, then I split the strong ones and open the brood nest some in the weaker ones. If I have time for more trips, I may open the brood nest on the strong ones two or three times.

    > Is that your best method of swarm control?

    I've had good luck with it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 41y 200h 38yTF

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