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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Posts
    72

    Default Need a little adivce on wheter to split or leave alone

    I'm guessing I'll have a swarm on my hands before long, but wanted to get some advice. One of my hives is a really strong hive that I got last summer off a swarm. It was my strongest going into the winter and as soon as the weather warmed up it started building up so I put another deep on it with new foundation. The bees have now pulled like the middle 3 frames of the new deep and now putting honey at the tops of the frames but have put capped drone comb in the middle lower part of the center frame. So I dig deeper into the lower brood chamber to find about 7-8 swarm cells (at the bottom of the frames). I know I put the top deep on in plenty time I feel and it has now queen excluder so I guess they just want to swarm? I checked all the cells and all but 2-3 have holes in them so either a queen came out or they never used it I guess. I have a good bit of drone cells, capped brood, and open larvea in the bottom. Alot of bees both workers and drone already running all over the hive. I didnt see the queen today but feel that she is there, she hasn't been replaced since I got the hive last summer so with it being a swarm she may be older, but has laid ok from what I see.

    My question is would you just do a split with some of the queen cells I've got, and if some queens did hatch and are virgin queens in the hive would they have already swarmed or do they hang out until the queen mates and then swarm? Sorry for such a long post.

    Thanks,

    clark

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,588

    Default Re: Need a little adivce on wheter to split or leave alone

    Once you found the swarm cells they should all be ready to swarm. It is a matter of time before they do it. One way is to split up
    the hive with the virgin queens that had hatched. But then you must be sure that there are virgin queens inside the hive. Many times
    we see the swarm cells but inside does not contain a larva. They just build them for an in case situation if they want to swarm. Some
    bees will build while others will tear them down. So seeing swarm cells may not mean there are virgin queens. Usually when the
    virgin hatched they are swarming already. So the delay maybe that there are no virgin queens inside or no viable queen cells. If they have then they will try to kill off the rivals once hatched. Since they are prepping now it means they have the urge to later on when the hive grow some
    more. Have to be sure if you have some queens in there to make the right decision. Maybe to do some swarm prevention if it is not too late now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Madison, WI, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Need a little adivce on wheter to split or leave alone

    This colony needs some action on your part for any chance of preventing a swarm (and a huge set-back for this hive). A split is a man-made swarm, or at least the best we can manage. At the very least, reverse your deeps, they likely will not swarm if the hive needs rearranging, so that will buy you some time. Doing nothing does not mean nothing will happen.
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Need a little adivce on wheter to split or leave alone

    If I reverse the deeps instead of splitting I need to remove the queen cells correct? The capped ones.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,588

    Default Re: Need a little adivce on wheter to split or leave alone

    Reversing this hive is just a temporarily trick we use to minimize their urge to swarm. When their population has build
    up enough they will swarm if no more open space for them. It is hard to maintain an active hive full of bees to not let
    them swarm. Since they already built the queen cells and capped them that is a sign that they are ready to. If the
    new queen hatched tomorrow then they will with the old queen. Who knows what they will do next. Luckily you still have the time to manage them, I hope.
    Giving them more room may not help now that they had decided to swarm. You can try but hopefully be successful at it.
    Or move the old queen to form a nuc for an artificial swarm. I know you don't want to separate them but when the time comes they have to decide if you don't for them. This is their natural behavior when the time comes for better survival by multiplying their hive. We can only manage but cannot tell the bees what to do next--go or stay.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Aguadilla - puerto rico
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Need a little adivce on wheter to split or leave alone

    i think everyone is telling you to do the split not rearanging your hive , if i was you i will do it today as soon as possable or you will lose half of your bees!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,646

    Default Re: Need a little adivce on wheter to split or leave alone

    If they are strong swarmers, you should check out checkerboarding. As long as your in a warm spell it works great. If its too cool you will lose brood.

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