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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Gardnerville, NV
    Posts
    2

    Reminder Need advice, hive expanding fast!

    Hi all,

    I have two Warres full of Carnies that were started last spring, one from a package and the other from a swarm from the first. On the original hive, I have three boxes. As recently as one month ago, the bottom box was empty.

    Today, I noticed the bees in that colony going crazy. After a rainy, cool weekend they came out and filled the entire yard with chaotic flight. After about 30 minutes they settled down but made a huge beard on their hive, which seemed odd because it was only about 60 F. I peeked in the window of the formerly empty bottom box and was amazed to see that it is nearly full! And it's weirdly cross-combed. I was shocked that they built so much and so early in the spring and feel stupid for not checking more often but, in defense, there was still snow on the ground about 3-4 weeks ago.

    So, they are running out of room and I imagine there is a potential they will swarm soon. So I'll be on swarm alert but I'm wondering what to do in the meantime.
    1. Order/make a new box in the next couple of days and nadir it?
    2. Take off the top box, harvest honey from it and then nadir it? I didn't harvest this past fall as I wanted to make sure the bees had adequate stores for their first winter. From the window it looks like it's full of honey.
    3. Something else? Nothing?

    I'm still new and I was foolish enough to get into this without a mentor, so any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thomas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Rescue, California, USA
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Need advice, hive expanding fast!

    Since mentors are far and few between, don't stress over that. Sounds like you need a fourth box for your hives, regardless.

    Space is what you need, adding a box (1) would be best since you may still have some bad/cold weather in April so the honey supply needs to stay with the hive.

    If you have enough honey in the lower boxes, then you could do number 2.

    Number 3 is get new equipment for your third hive in case they swarm again.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    3,326

    Default Re: Need advice, hive expanding fast!

    If you have drones flying do a split on the first nice day. It sounds like they are fixing to swarm. If you do not intervene they will. Which is no big deal as long as you can tolerate the loss of bees. Simply giving them space will not prevent swarming at this point. Do a thorough inspection. You probably have queen cells and can make several splits.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Vernon, AZ. USA
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: Need advice, hive expanding fast!

    A warre box is a great split size.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Gardnerville, NV
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Need advice, hive expanding fast!

    Thanks all, for the replies. I'm still watching, expecting a swarm. But we've had a cold front move in over the Sierras - very high winds and dropping temperatures - and maybe that is delaying their departure?

    I don't have the expertise or confidence to attempt a split but I did get in touch with guy who wants the swarm and has set out a bait hive on my property.

    I'm probably not the first beek to have this realization, but it seems swarming is quite a paradox. If a colony thrives, that's great but then you have to deal with the expanding numbers, splitting, swarming, etc. I love bees but two hives is plenty for me. Weak colonies don't present those issues but obviously have other, worse issues! (I guess they're not so different from us humans in that regard.)

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