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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    581

    Default Never thought of this before

    Midday last Friday my wife called reporting a swarm in process. The entire event from departure to cluster is really amazing to watch. This time I was 90 miles away. I arrived around 5 PM to find them clustered less than two feet off the ground in our Japanese Snow Bell. Talk about an effortless catch right into a empty hive from a winter loss.

    Timing was perfect since I needed to shift the host hive. This created the opportunity for that, an inspection and creating a home for the swarm.

    In the host colony I found a single frame with four capped queen cells. Then I found another with a couple occupied but uncapped queen cells. Dumbfounded that I never thought of this before, I put the first frame into another winter loss with a few frames from a strong hive for an instant split. Since success with a single queen cell is high, I can't imagine failure with three queen cells or the need for six. I also suspect the swarming process always leaves plenty of queen cells behind. Why I never before took advantage of this is beyond me.

    A couple years ago I had a hive that repeatedly threw ever smaller swarms over several days until all were gone. Thinking about the capped and uncapped queen cells above, I wonder if they plan multiple swarms by timing emergence of queens. One thing I know. We know much less about bees than there is to learn.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    452

    Default Re: Never thought of this before

    you can take a knife and cut the queen cells out of the comb, then cut a matching hole in another frame and use toothpicks to splice it back in. then place the new frame in a nuc.

    6 queen cells = 6 new splits.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,429

    Default Re: Never thought of this before

    How delicate are queen cells? Do you have to maintain orientation of the cell while do this?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,611

    Default Re: Never thought of this before

    I did not have enough equipment to do it this year. But of the three hives I had that swarmed I did notice I could split every frame that had queen cells on it into another hive. IF and when I get ready to have a lot of hives I see this as one way to get their. in the case of my largest hive I could have split it into at least 6 new ones. of course I am sacrificing all the honey production that way. I really wish I had been ready with more equipment. but it woudl have required about 20 new hives that I simply do not have and a place to put them which I also do not have.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,044

    Default Re: Never thought of this before

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    How delicate are queen cells? Do you have to maintain orientation of the cell while do this?
    They are pretty soft and delicate at the stage where they are nearly capped and for a couple days afterwards. As they approach maturity they develop a fairly tough covering. A very gentle squeeze, towards the end of the cell will give you a pretty good idea of their approximate maturity. I would, as much as possible, keep them in the same orientation as they were place on the comb.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    OKC, OK
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Never thought of this before

    Yes, you need to maintain the orientation of the queen cell when moving the frame to a new split or patching it into another frame. I have done it both ways.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Never thought of this before

    >I wonder if they plan multiple swarms by timing emergence of queens.

    That's one way to tell supersedure cells from swarm cells. Swarm cells are not the same age as one another.

    "Now, and the two following days, the bees enlarged several royal cells, but unequally, which proved that they included larvae of different ages. Once closed on the first of June, and on the second another. The bees also commenced some new ones..."

    "During the period of swarming, the conduct or instinct of bees seems to receive a particular modification. At all other times, when they have lost their queen, they appropriate workers worms to replace her ; they prolong and enlarge the cells of these worms; they supply them with aliment more abundantly, and of a more pungent taste; and by this alteration, the worms that would have changed to common bees are transformed to queens. We have seen twenty-seven cells of this kind constructed at once; but when finished the bees no longer endeavor to preserve the young females from the attacks of their enemies. One may perhaps leave her cell, and attack all the other royal cells successively, which she will tear open to destroy her rivals, without the workers taking any part in their defense. Should several queens be hatched at once, they will pursue each other, and fight until the throne remain with her that is victorious. Far from opposing such duels, the other bees rather seem to excite the combatants.

    "Things are quite reversed during the period of swarming. The royal cells then constructed are of a different figure from the former. They resemble stalactites, and in the beginning are like the cup of an acorn. The bees assiduously guard the cells when the young queens are ready for their last metamorphosis. At length the female hatched from, the first egg laid by the old queen leaves her cell, the workers at first treat her with indifference. But she immediately yielding to the instinct which urges her to destroy her rivals, seeks the cells where they are enclosed; yet no sooner does she approach than the bees bite, pull, and drive her away, so that she is forced to remove; but the royal cells being numerous, scarce can she find a place of rest. Incessantly harassed with the desire of attacking the other queens and incessantly repelled, she becomes agitated and hastily traverses the different groups of workers, to which she communicates her agitation. At this moment numbers of bees rush towards the aperture of the hive and with the young queen at them head, depart to seek another habitation.

    "After the departure of the colony, the remaining workers set another queen at liberty, and treat her with equal indifference as the first. They drive her from the royal cells; being perpetually harassed, she becomes agitated, departs, and carries a new swarm along with her. In a populous hive this scene is repeated three or four times during spring. As the number of bees is so much reduced, that they are no longer capable of preserving a strict watch over the royal cells, several females then leave their confinement at once. They seek each other, fight, and the queen at last victorious reigns peaceably over the republic.

    "The longest intervals we have observed between the departure of each natural swarm have been from seven to nine days. This is the time that usually elapses after the first colony is led out by the old queen, until the next swarm is conducted by the first young queen set at liberty. The interval between the second and third is still shorter and the fourth sometimes departs the day after the third. In hives left to themselves, fifteen or eighteen days are usually sufficient for the throwing of the four swarms, if the weather continues favorable, as I shall explain..."

    "I have but one fact more to mention, It has already been observed, that on losing the female, bees give the larvae of simple workers the royal treatment, and, according to M. Schirach, in five or six days they repair the loss of their queen. In this case there are no swarms. All the females leave their cells almost at the same moment, and after a bloody combat the throne remains with the most fortunate.

    "I can very well comprehend that the object of nature is to replace the lost queen, but as bees are at liberty to choose either the eggs or worms of workers, during the first three days of existence to supply her place, why do they give the royal treatment to worms, all of nearly an equal age, and which must undergo their last metamorphosis almost at the same time ? Since they are enabled to retain the young females in their cells, why do they allow all the queens, according to Schirach's method, to escape at once. By prolonging their captivity more or less, they would fulfill two most important objects at once, in repairing the loss of their females and preserving a succession of queens to conduct several swarms."--François Huber, New Observations on the Natural History Of Bees Volume I

    http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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