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Thread: Swarming

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    schyuler, va
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    207

    Default Swarming

    New beek ! I have 2 deep ten frames and a medium on top. Each box has 6 or 7 frames of bees on them and they look strong . Is it too early for swarming? And if not. Can I do a cutdown split and put it on of the old hive with double screen board? Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,492

    Default Re: Swarming

    If you do a cut-down, I'd put it on it's own stand as it's going to be a full hive soon, and in a few weeks you should have real spring weather.

    Yes, it's a bit early for swarming, even there. Spring is late this year, unlike last, and they will need to fill up the hive with honey before they swarm. Mine have been inside most of the time for the last week, and will not be flying much for the next week if the forecast is right.

    Do you have drones yet? If so, you can do cut-downs. If not, wait til you do.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,531

    Default Re: Swarming

    i agree with peter that you need plenty of drones flying, and i would put the cut down split on it's own stand.

    i am a little bit south of you, and it is too early here. i'm not sure it's even warm enough for them to draw new wax yet.

    mike bush says the best time to do a cut down split is just before the main flow, which coincides with the peak swarm season.

    walt wright describes looking for signs of broodnest expansion vs. broodnest reduction as a way to assess swarm intent.

    if you see an band of empty polished cells (that have been prepared for the queen to lay eggs in) at the edge of the broodnest, that would indicate they are expanding the nest and not preparing to swarm.

    if you see the cells at the edge of the broodnest full of nectar, it means they have stopped expanding and are reducing the broodnest. they will also start filling the cells in the middle of the nest as the new bees emerge. swarm cells and swarm issue are soon to follow.

    the idea is to do your cut down split before it gets to that point.

    i learned last year that the main flow here coincides with the tulip poplar blooming. it's a good idea to journal the timing of the blooms in your area and compare that with when you see swarming. it will give you another measure as to when to do your spring splits.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,845

    Default Re: Swarming

    I got a few new hives 3 weeks ago. I let them sit a week before inspecting. Each hive was 2 deeps and a shallow above an excluder. The strongest hive was a split the guy made last year. It ended being 10 frames of bees and stores in the bottom box only, the second deep was all undrawn frames. The hive has been going gangbusters since I got it and since I had some drawn comb around I checkerboarded them a little bit. I put in two honey frames, moved 3 frames of brood up from the bottom box and put in drawn comb for the queen to expand in. They had it all filled up when I checked them Thursday. Here's a pic of a typical frame that they put brood in, some frames were all new nectar.



    I knew I might be in trouble when I inspected the first time since they had the drones coming along and on a quick check to see how they were doing on Thursday, found this.



    So, today I went in and pulled the qc with two frames of brood and bees and set it up in a Nuc. I thought I was careful looking for the queen but after pulling the nuc then going through and checkerboarding the hive with foundation I didn't see the queen. Putting the hive together they seemed a little unsettled and since I didn't find the queen, I figured I better check the nuc. I popped the top and the bees were as calm as could be so I instantly knew she was in there and sure enough she was, so back she went to the old hive and everything looked good after that.

    The day started with me stopping at Kragen, and somehow this guy got into my car or was in a box of frames I threw in.... not sure what kind of bee it is, but it was about the same size as a honey bee, and I think the abdomen was black. I rolled my window down all the way to get a better picture as I was driving but she flew off right when i grabbed the camera.



    Anyone have any ideas on what it is?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    schyuler, va
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Swarming

    Thanks Peter and Squarepeg, its been too cool up here to do anything really. Only getting 1 day a week of nice 55 degree day.im thinking around 1st or 2nd week in April to do cutdown. Yes its been to cool here, haven't been in hive but once this year. Started reading Walt Wright last night. That's for feed back.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,492

    Default Re: Swarming

    JRG:

    You should have left the queen in the nuc box, they have a supercedure going it looks like, good time to head off swarming by doing a cut-down split. I'd leave well enough alone now, but check to make sure the split is raising a queen in a couple days, if not you need to move either a frame with a queen cell or some eggs into the split.

    Peter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,845

    Default Re: Swarming

    Thanks Peter, I'll check the nuc in 4-5 days and see if they've capped the qc. I thought about leaving the queen but rather try to keep the parent hive booming and see how it does. They were cramped a few weeks back so I'm thinking it was more of a swarm impulse but supercedure was in the back of my mind. I'll keep an eye on them too just to see if they build more qc's. The queen was still laying up a storm though and there wasn't much much space left with the rate they're filling up everything with nectar and pollen.

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