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Thread: TBH Swarmed?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Franklin, New Hampshire
    Posts
    128

    Default TBH Swarmed?

    Hi All,

    This is my first year keeping bee's (located in central New Hampshire) and we started off with two hives of Italians. One hive doing great and one hive seeming to be a little slower.

    My questions and the advice I'm seeking is about the one doing "great."

    I've been going into the two hives each Saturday or Sunday to inspect and see what each hive is doing. This past Wednesday 06/26 I went into the hives since I had a day off from work and I added two top bars (to the hive doing great) since they were filling each bar out nicely. I looked at each bar (in the strong hive; about 12 in all) and there were no swarm cells. Fast forward to today 06/30 and I have about 10+ capped swarm cells in my strong hive.

    I've inspected the hive the best I can and haven't located the queen, but my guess is she's left since I was only able to spot larve on one frame that didn't have the appearance of being drone comb. I could be wrong here. Also, I'm not sure how much this matters, but the hive doesn't look like it's lost any bees. Compared to our weaker colony, it has a very high population. Could the queen of left by herself? Or could she have left with only a few thousand other bees?

    My questions are how to go about dealing with the 10+ capped cells? Would it be smart to split the hive? I have two nuc boxes and it doesn't look like I've lost any bees but the thing I'd hate is to watch half a dozen after swarms take place and be left back at the starting gate (which wouldn't be terrible since they've already drawn lots of comb).

    Would putting 2-3 frames in a nuc box with 2-4 capped queen cells be worth trying inorder to prevent the hive from completely swarming?

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: TBH Swarmed?

    Yes. I would split them if you he 10+ swarm cells and they are crowded. Just make sure each split has a queen cell.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Franklin, New Hampshire
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: TBH Swarmed?

    @ Michael Bush -

    Thanks for your response! When I posted this yesterday I went to work building a few nuc boxes. My top bars from my TBH actually fit with the dimensions I found online for a Langthroth nuc box.

    Yesterday after noon I split the hive. I put three full top bars into a two different nuc boxes (removed 6 bars total). Was splitting it this much bad?

    The main hive has about 6-7 full bars after pulling out the other 6. I made sure the main hive and each nuc had the following:

    -3 Full top bars loaded with bees
    -A small section of drone comb
    -Larve that doesn't appear to be drone larve (it was in smaller cells, but I could be wrong)
    -Capped swarm cells (2-3)

    The bees clustered the swarm cells in groups of 2-4 on the bottom section of the bars.

    Then I drove the two nucs about 15 miles away to my sisters property, a neighbor has a massive farm about a 1,000 feet away, so hopefully some great foraging there.

    Can any one point out the pros / cons of this split. I tried reading as much as I could before splitting but realize I probably did a few things wrong.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: TBH Swarmed?

    >Yesterday after noon I split the hive. I put three full top bars into a two different nuc boxes (removed 6 bars total). Was splitting it this much bad?

    It depends on what you want for an outcome. When I split a hive intent on swarming, I put every frame that has at least one queen cell in a nuc with one frame of honey. I like free queens...

    >Then I drove the two nucs about 15 miles away to my sisters property, a neighbor has a massive farm about a 1,000 feet away, so hopefully some great foraging there.

    I have never moved a split out of the yard I made it in. But I suppose if you have a place you can and don't mind the drive...

    >Can any one point out the pros / cons of this split. I tried reading as much as I could before splitting but realize I probably did a few things wrong.

    Sounds great.

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Franklin, New Hampshire
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: TBH Swarmed?

    @ Michael Bush -

    Thanks for the reply. It's good to know I'm not completely messing things up. But I realize things can change over the next few weeks.

    I would have loved to kept the nucs with the main hives, but was told by a local experienced beek that if I had the ability to move them away that would help keep the bees in the nucs from going back to the main hive (if on same property as the main hive).

    My intentions with the splits, I'd love to gain a few more hives. Packages or nucs aren't cheap and if I can increase my chances of not losing bees and growing the number of hives I have that'd be great.

    Thanks for the link, I'll make sure to give it a good read tonight. You've got some great stuff on your website!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Franklin, New Hampshire
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: TBH Swarmed?

    Back with a few more questions.

    The local apiary has queens in stock (both my two hives are currently queenless) and the apiary has queens that are a Carniolan-Russian mix. My bees are both Italians.

    1) Is it hard to get the hive to accept a queen of a different breed and is it even alright to do? (My weaker hive just lost a queen due to my poor decision making when attempting to split it since they were making queen cells, there are no capped queen cells and no eggs or larve to use; at least from what I can notice)

    I've read the bee math on Michael Bush's website. According to the math my queens should be hatching from the hive (my stronger hive)

    2) How long do mating flights take? I think I have 1 or 2 queens on a mating flight since I inspected the hive this morning and noticed all queen cells have been de-capped and one contains a whiteish (earlier stage queen?) queen that is dead. I'm guessing the first-to-hatch queen killed this one?

    I'm just debating on where to purchase two queens or one because neither hive has eggs or larve that are in right time frame to be used for making a queen.

    It's been a great learning experience but I feel like I've been getting my butt kicked a lot.

    Thanks for the response and insights!

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