One other thing to consider is there is more than 1 type of swarm. If they are really healthy and great numbers they may do a reproductive swarm regardless of how much room you have given them. Compare that to a NUC that will swarm if you don't give them more room, this would be an overcrowding swarm. Type 1 you stop by doing it for them, artificial swarm (you can always recombine later if that's your preference), Type 2 you stop by giving them more room BEFORE they start swarm preparations.
In doing an artificial swarm of 2 deeps overflowing with bees at this point in the spring, how many frames would you remove & which ones?
My goals are to prevent swarming, give the hive a brood break, replace the 2 year old queen and possibly get a few more virgins out of the deal. Also to begin another hive while not limiting the harvesting potential of the big hive. And that's all !! 😄
Last edited by JonnyBeeGood; 04-17-2013 at 10:58 AM. Reason: Adding more
>I am wondering what are the possible effects if it is done to early?
Here's the scenario. If you pull all the open brood out of the hive two weeks before the flow, and you make that hive queenless (as the queen is with the open brood) and you take pollen and honey (because the new hive has no field force they will need it) and you crowd them (removing some of the brood area, like at least one deep or two mediums) then the sequence goes like this:
They start a new queen from a four day old larva and she emerges just as the flow starts. She's not mated yet. Meanwhile in that two weeks all of the open brood emerges and is jobless because there is no brood to care for. So, since the queen isn't an old queen who is ready to swarm, and since there is no brood to care for, the young bees get recruited to forage. Since the flow is just starting they have plenty to forage and the hive makes a big crop. Since there is no brood area to put the honey in they draw comb, if needed, like crazy and store honey, like crazy. Two weeks after this the queen is finally laying again. The brood nest starts to grow, but still does not require a lot of nurse bees at first so the young bees continue to forage.
Now let's do it five weeks before the flow. At four weeks we lose a full turnover of brood we could have had for the flow. That's less foragers. Also, the queen will emerge three weeks sooner and if they are crowded and there is no flow, and the unemployed nurse bees are not employed and they are more likely to swarm. Assuming they don't, we hit the flow with as much as half as many bees (because of that lost turnover of brood) and much less honey.
Let's try two weeks AFTER the flow: This isn't as bad IF the flow is reasonably long. It just means those young bees won't get recruited until two weeks later than they would have, so you lose two weeks of their work, but things could still go pretty well.
My bees here in NM have been consistently filling empty foundation almost overnight - as fast as I can feed it to them.
NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.