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

    Default When a hive swarms

    And today I went in to make sure no more queen cells were capped and as I'm checking frames a cell with a new virgin queen coming out as I'm holding the hive. I couldn't get to her quick enough as she went off the frame into the hive. I don't know what I should have done with her if I had caught her. The hive swarmed 2 times yesterday, will it again assuming the new queen or the workers don't this one? All cells are gone now for sure.

    Thanks,
    Clark

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: When a hive swarms

    I've tried every means to prevent swarming with no success. Reversing, culling queen cells, splitting brood chamber, stealing the queen, etc. Didn't seem to make a difference. Every intervention made little difference or worse, weakened colonies and rewarded me with winter losses. In separate years, two hives threw continually smaller swarms until all left. IMHO, bees swarm to propagate during good times and survive during hard times and fighting that is like asking water to go up hill.

    I now keep extra gear, look for opportunities to split hives and don't expect a harvest from every hive. One year my single survivor had near half dozen queen cells in early May that I split into two others, which matured into very strong colonies. The original colony provided enough honey for a few gifts and my use until the following harvest. The two packages I bought the same year became lethargic and died. I now prefer my mutt queens from splits and swarm captures to any purchase. Locally sourced, cost effective and much less hassle. This fall I'm combining the weak instead of hoping for the best even if I go into winter with a single colony.

    I really only wanted two hives, but thanks to a neighbor's invite, I have three in his yard. My two small bee yards now work well to maintain my small scale, avoid package purchases, allow experimentation, sweeten my tea, make candles with my boys and share nucs with my buddy.

    FYI, I'm in SE PA and we traditionally have a short spring flow for a late June harvest followed by summer dearth and some fall blooms that build stores for winter. I crush and strain harvest for personal use and gifts, pollinating neighborhood's flowers keeps me at it and my management style is "When I can."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,274

    Default Re: When a hive swarms

    It is hard to say how many virgin queens still inside the original hive. Let them bee so you can be ready to catch more
    after swarms. Hopefully they don't fly too far away like those 2 swarms. If this virgin is the last queen then she will
    head this hive later on.
    If you caught her then you have to be sure at least one queen remains inside this hive otherwise they will be queen less
    because you would have removed the last queen from this hive. If there are 2 queens in this hive now that you are sure of then
    you can make another split because they will do it anyways later on. You are very lucky to have so many swarms now.

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