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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Sherburne County MN USA
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    75

    Default should I attempt a cut down?

    One of my new spring package hive has recently swarmed. It has made a new queen.

    The other hive is boiling over. Problem is I heard a queen piping 6 days ago so I never completed my inspection for fear of disturbing the queen. Today I was watching the hive beard and heard piping again. The hive has been making honey in the super and Id like to keep it that way.
    Do I attempt a cut down and M Bush describes? http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm
    I have a spare 10 frame deep hive with empty drawn comb in storage. No nuc or anything smaller.

    Im a 3rd year newbee.
    Im worried this hive will swarm.
    Ive never done a cut down much less a split of any kind.
    Were either on the edge of our main flow or just getting started. (I cant find an answer to that.)
    What do you all think?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,858

    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stella View Post
    Ive never done a cut down much less a split of any kind.
    Are you thinking of splitting because you are intimidated or you want to avoid a swarm?

    Pile on the supers and collect the honey or split if the hive is too much for you. Any split will do.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    You might want to do the Demaree swarm control method, google it. If you have an extra deep with comb, that is all the extra equipment you would need to do it. It will work to kill off the swarm urge and you'll still get your honey. John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Upper Kingsclear, NB, Canada
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    I had a similar situation recently. However in this case it turned out the colony had lost its queen, so while I was worrying about swarming (having seen a couple of queen cells), the colony was actually worrying about making a new queen. Good job I left those Q cells alone. So far I have just been adding empty frames to the brood area to split it up, as per M. Bush, I have not seen directions for how long to go on doing this, but presumably when those added frames are mostly in use it will be time to add a couple more. Anyway, the 'split up the brood nest' approach seems to work, although it is disruptive, but perhaps the better alternative if swarming is the other one. Checkerboarding seems to have had a lot written about it in a very convincing manner, and is also an option perhaps, but it never seems clear where one is to find all the required comb and honey!
    good luck,

    Rob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk, NY, USA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    Why not do a cut down split a la M Bush. You have all the necessary conditions, and equipment.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    I was going to suggest a cut down also at first, but then I went with a safer approach with the Demaree method, what I mean is, cut downs are a great tool for getting lots of honey and a new queen, but things can go wrong, and they did with me last year when I attempted cut downs on some colonies. I still had one colony swarm on me after the cut down, when they raised queens the first one out left with a swarm. A couple others never got mated laying queens from the cut down and ended up with laying workers. Oh, but I got honey, did I ever. John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,858

    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    I don't get it. You want honey feed it frames. You want bees split it and walk away. The more you sweat about it the less you will succeed.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Sherburne County MN USA
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    Thank you all so much for the replies!

    Acebird asks-Are you thinking of splitting because you are intimidated or you want to avoid a swarm?

    I am concerned they will swarm and my honey crop will be done before the flow. Im really not interested in growing my bee yard but I will if it would prevent a swarm.

    So basically Im concerned about screwing things up for the new queen. Can she tolerate me snooping through the 3 mediums to check the brood nest? Or will I drive her away by going in the hive too soon after her hatching?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk, NY, USA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    John, I've had that issue as well. It seems that sometimes no matter what is done to head off a hive from swarming, they'll swarm anyway. At this point it seems that just adding supers without some other manipulation will not reduce the likelihood of this hive swarming. Just how I see it and do it.
    Good for you regarding the honey part!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    977

    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stella View Post
    Im a 3rd year newbee.
    Im worried this hive will swarm.
    Ive never done a cut down much less a split of any kind.
    Were either on the edge of our main flow or just getting started. (I cant find an answer to that.)
    What do you all think?
    I would inspect the brood nest for signs of swarm preps. If they are backfilling the brood nest, and have made numerous queen cells, I would split the hive. Since they have started swarm preps, it is important to take the old queen, a frame of honey and two frames of brood and put them in a nuc.

    If they have not started swarm preps, like others said, super up.

    Shane

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Sherburne County MN USA
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    75

    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    So even with this new queen it will be OK to manipulate and inspect the hive?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    At this point it seems that just adding supers without some other manipulation will not reduce the likelihood of this hive swarming.
    If she pulls all the honey out of the hive and returns the empty supers I got a feeling they won't swarm.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    deleted - double post
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
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    1,879

    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    If she pulls all the honey out of the hive and returns the empty supers I got a feeling they won't swarm.
    Is that like throwing a box of foundation on top to keep them from swarming?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    I don't think so but it is removing the resources they need in order to swarm.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    That won't stop them.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
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    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    Im not convinced. Its all well and good in theory, but I have seen bees swarm with 1/2 empty boxes. Sometimes they just swarm. These days if a colony acts swarmy I like to find the queen and take her with 3 frames of brood and make new colony. Then I place a queen cell in the original colony and let them retink the entire swarming process. Of course making sure they have ample room helps with all this as well.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    You've done it?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
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    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    Have I pulled honey left empty drawn box for them? Yeah. This isnt my first rodeo Ace. That's exactly why I am not convinced.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Sherburne County MN USA
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    75

    Default Re: should I attempt a cut down?

    Thank you all for your help!

    After reading up on the Demaree Method (thanks John, very interesting method) I decided to try it provided I could find the queen. I found her on my second pass through 3 boxes. I could hear her piping so I knew she was there.
    I also took extra time to open up the brood nests in each box.
    Time will tell.

    Thanks again.

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