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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    BETHEL, NC USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Now what to do and expect?

    Yesterday I did a complete hive breakdown and in the process i found 2 swarm cells. looked like fangs hangin off the bottom of the frame. So here is what I did. Cleaned brood comb from between and collected brood in cells. Bees were over flowing the top so I thought I would swap places with bottom hive body (med) with the second brood box (deep) to give them more room. I checker boarded a few empty frames of foundation against brood frames (for swarm control). I never found the queen. Found larva, capped brood, and emerging brood. I didn't check much for eggs but confident they were there. Then took the frame (med) with swarm cells and set it aside (no queen). Pulled brood (2) frames 2 honey and some empty comb (from dead out) and placed on top of the hive. All this after I swept the bees off the frames and added a queen excluder. Then left them for the night. I took the brood comb I cleaned out between the frames and disected to look for mites (none seen). This afternoon I pulled the top portion of hives, above the queen excluder, off and set them facing south perpendicular to the original. Put a deep, with drawn comb, on the medium lower box with the swarm cells. To hopefully draw the bees up to have all deep bood boxes. Went back to the original box and shook bees off in to the new hive. Now my goal is to prevent swarming, have all deep frames for brood boxes, start a new hive, and have honey this year I can pull of to sell. Now what? What did I do wrong what did I do right? thank you Doeboy

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

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    Lots of stuff going on. If I read right, you took the swarm cells and put them in another hive with a few frames of brood and workers. I've done same with great success.

    As far as preventing swarming, IMHO you're throwing the dice. They swarm to propagate during good times and survive during bad. Many feel once their set on swarming, not much will change their mind. I've tried every standard method and none with the same result. The more I fiddled, the weaker my hives.

    I now just look for opportunities to split and leave well enough alone. Same success with the least effort.

    I suggest you new use your bees as the best resource for what to do.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    454

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    Usually, if the swarm cells are capped, they have already swarmed. If not and they swarm anyway, they will need one of the those cells in the hive, otherwise they could end up queenless.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    BETHEL, NC USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    Thank you Throrope. There were a total of three swarm cells in different levels, 2 on the bottom of top frames and one on botton of bottom frame. The one to itself was damaged so it was scrapped off. I was thinking of trading places with the hives to allow the workers to bring in food for the new smaller hive. But I'm trying to get ready for the 6 packages and 2 queens I have coming in on the 19th. Now that I have this split how long should I leave it alone. The swarm cells are capped dark yellow/orange. Is there a way to predict the age with in a day or two? Doeboy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    How long is a good question. I'd start with Michael Bush's bee math as a minimum and be patient thereafter. Once hatched, she will need to mate and weather can create delays. Finding a virgin or young queen is very difficult. I'd monitor entrance activity and look for eggs long after you anticipate finding them. If you introduce a package or queen into a small but active colony, kiss your investment good bye.

    Bees don't read books and go about their business with no regard to our actions or desires. I doubt they know we exist. They do more for themselves than we can do for them.

    IMHO your efforts are better now spent on your new arrivals. If successful, your operation will by twice mine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,349

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    Your biggest and costliest mistake was interpreting supersedure cells as swarm cells. If the colony has already terminated the old queen (no eggs) they may be hopelessly queenless.

    I keep trying to dispel that old wives tale of swarm cells are on the bottom of frames and supersedure cells are on the face of the comb. While it's generally true of first year colonies in the establishment mode, it doesn't hold up for overwintered colonies - especially those wintered in multiple boxes. Supersedure cells are TYPICALLY off the bottom bars of fully established colonies.

    Further, have never seen a colony with only 3 cells swarm. Up to 6 cells is typically only supersedure.

    Walt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    BETHEL, NC USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    update on hive. Checked hives today and queen cells are still there no brood no eggs no queen and bees are not happy. Got another split I did on 4/14 no eggs only two of 3 qc in hive. Now I'm thinking that I need to combine the two splits and make one strong one. Any ideas anyone? I checked number one hive and found swarm cells, brood, eggs and larva, but no queen. I made a split installed hive body on top over queen excluder, will make new hive in the morning. guidence please. thanks Doeboy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,540

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    I will repeat what Walt said: Make sure you don't have normal supersedure cells and not swarm cells! If the bees want to supersede the queen in that original hive and you will end up with a queenless hive if you keep removing the supersedure cells as the old queen is likely going to quit on you.

    It's normal of the bees to replace the queen every few years, queens don't last forever. I suspect they know things we can't determine as to when this should be done.

    As far as your splits go, I'd combine them, sooner or later you will either get laying workers in the queenless split or the hive will dwindle away. However, remember that cold weather will keep a virgin queen in the hive longer than normal, and it can easily be a month after she emerges before she starts laying well.

    Peter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    BETHEL, NC USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    I checked the hive and it is busting with bees. I realize that supeceedure cells dont have to be on the upper part of the frame, but each of the swarm cells were on the bottom of the frames. I have been in the hive three times and each time I have there have been a minimum of three swarm cells on the frames. Question being if the queen has hatched in the splits then why didn't she tear the other queen cells open. The cells in the first hive look the same as when I put them. Today I broke the bottom of the queen cells in the current hive, so will the bees repair the swarm cell or will they start fresh from larva? thanks Doeboy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,974

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    3 cells is typically a supercedure. I just went through this, I nuc'd the old queen and 3 weeks later she's gone, (presumably dead). The nuc built a really bad cell to replace her with but I'm curious just to see what comes out. They had day old larvae to work with too, but when I checked them the other day, I could not find the queen or eggs. She was laying a great pattern, and the original hive was much like yours, 3 deeps, full of everything. I removed the first cell I found and 2 weeks later they had 3 more. I nuc'd the original cell which I will check this week as the queen should be laying, and I was able to nuc another cell and I left two with the original hive. Sad to see her go, she was laying great in the nuc for the two weeks I saw her not sure why she's gone now.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    BETHEL, NC USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    I would like to take the old queen out and start some queen cells like melvin disselkoen has discribed to put in a nuc to start some queens in these hives. I checked for the queen in each of the hives and couldn't find one so just trying to be patient as I can. I am leary that swarm season is upon us and know that the queen is less than a year old and survived through the winter, so would hate to lose her from inaction. Any advise to have the best of both worlds? Without distroying the original hive? Doeboy

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,974

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    put an excluder between boxes, check 3 days later, the box with eggs will have ur queen in it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    BETHEL, NC USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    Got the excluder on it now for the new split. Thought I would take another split with capped brood and the queen cells and combine all the splits to make one good hive. Then I will find the queen and put her in a nuc to get some queen cells to put in a castle. I think this hive will be my play hive. I have 6 packages that I just put in and would like to pay for them with this hive.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Grass Valley, California, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    Wow great info! If I could put in my two cents, I would make splits by useing one frame of bees and brood, one frame of eggs and larva, two frames or so of honey/pollen, one frame of drawn comb, a qcell or two, and feed feed feed. This I hear is a way to turn 10 frames of bees and brood w/ cells into 5 nucs. I have never done this but know that this is what a 5 frame nuc is. I have bought two nucs this year and caught one swarm.
    By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,584

    Default Re: Now what to do and expect?

    The location of the cells is irrelevant. It is very doubtful that a colony that is swarming will only build three cells. They are probably supersedure cells.

    One of the most important distinctions to make is whether they have larvae in them or not. If they don't, I would not call them queen cells, I would call them cups and they mean nothing.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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