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Thread: tbh swarmed

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    key largo,florida, usa
    Posts
    14

    Default tbh swarmed

    i have a tbh that swarmed twice. i,m a new bee and i just trying to understand how to stop this from happing. i have read a lot on mr bush web site
    my top bar is mr bush design it had 18 bars full out of 32 and they swarmed it was booming with bees i noticed some queen cups being built
    did not take action i did not really understand what to do from what i have now read should i have been putting empty bars in the broods nest is this correct.
    i have a few caped queen cells in the hive now i guess i just have to wait and see.
    thanks for the help Franky

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Houston, Alabama, USA
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    126

    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    was the 19th bar full of honey?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    key largo,florida, usa
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    14

    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    no the last three bars were not even completely drawn out just a little caped honey on top edge.

  4. #4

    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    I've been keeping my bees confined, and only adding a few bars in the brood nest each week as needed. I don't know if this is the right thing to do or not, but I have not seen any signs of swarming. I just know you don't want to keep them too confined or too open. I may actually start adding more bars to the brood nest, as many as I can based on how many good bars of straight comb I have available. Unfortunately, my bees are still trying to build a little crooked. As soon as I get a real bee suit I imagine I'm going to get in there and reshape all the bad comb to try and line them out once and for all. As is, I just keep cutting the cross comb as needed.

    Let us know if you figure anything out! Thanks.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Some people call TBH's swarm machines. The best advice I seen (here at the bee forum of course) is to move honey comb back from the brood comb and move all the comb back from the entrance. The queen wants to keep the brood together and won't cross honey comb to lay discontinuous brood, so you need to set it up so that there is empty comb around the brood. Also brood laying works towards the entrance, so have free space between the comb and the entrance is suppose to help. They build fast so frequent management seems to be necessary.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    I think the secret is, as mentioned above, to keep empty bars in the broodnest to give the nurse bees plenty to do. We've had them swarm when we didn't want them to, and then couldn't get them to swarm when we did want them to.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    key largo,florida, usa
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    well i just took a look in my top bar and at the front entrance of the hive.bars 1 and 2 were full of caped honey and i found a 4 fully caped queen cells
    bar 18 has more like 30 % caped honey what should i do remove honey bars 1 and 2 or take 18 out what about queen cells leave them alone ???

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,424

    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by captcatfish View Post
    i noticed some queen cups being builtdid not take action i did not really understand what to do from what i have now read should i have been putting empty bars in the broods nest is this correct.
    Moving some empty combs to the middle of the brood nest will help, but once all frames are full not much you can do. Once the hive is choca with bees, they have nowhere to expand any more they will swarm, as top bar hives are not expandable.

    Quote Originally Posted by captcatfish View Post
    no the last three bars were not even completely drawn out just a little caped honey on top edge.
    This is the issue with long hives, if it's too long the bees don't naturally like going too far out to the side they will sometimes swarm rather than work all the way out to the far end, which is why other hive designs are verticle.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Something that I have been thinking about. This year before the dandelions bloomed I shifted things back and put empty brood bars between the brood nest and the entrance. That gives them some room to expand. I then tried to add empty brood bars in the brood nest. I was worried about adding to much to quickly, but in the end I didn't add enough. Today I found queen cups all over the brood nest.

    So next year i will add around 5-8 empty bars towards the front. Then as soon as the dandelions start I need to add 2 bars somewhere in the brood nest weekly.

    So that is likely my plan for next year. As for this year, i caught them in time and performed a cut down split. I don't have an issue with swarming, but I want to catch them before they do.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,464

    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#management

    Q: What is different about the management of a top bar hive or long hive?

    The need for empty bars in the brood nest during prime "reproductive" swarm season to expand the
    brood nest more and prevent swarming.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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