Splitting w/ Swarm Cells...will they still swarm
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  1. #1

    Default Splitting w/ Swarm Cells...will they still swarm

    I split a really big hive today into 3 single deeps and a 4 frame nuc. Each split got a frame with multiple capped swarm cells. They also got open and capped brood, eggs, pollen and honey frames.

    When these swarm cells hatch out do you think they will swarm in spite of being split or should I go back and cut out all but one swarm cell for each.

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    918

    Default Re: Splitting w/ Swarm Cells...will they still swarm

    I guess the answer is it depends. I think the best way to keep them from swarming once they have already gone to all that trouble to make queen cells and such is to find the original queen (if she hasn't already left) and make a split with that or more, making sure to leave the original a a couple cells and weaker, with more space. I had 2 hives in the condition you describe this year, the first one I went through with a fine tooth comb and couldn't find the queen so I left frames with cells and stole a few frames with cells (I figured I was gonna get something out of it one way or the other.), the 2nd one I was harvesting honey and didn't want to take the time to look for the queen and I was pretty sure she was gone, because I saw queen cells that had already hatched so I took a frame with some cells that hadn't been touched yet and made another split.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    3,021

    Default Re: Splitting w/ Swarm Cells...will they still swarm

    The chances of them swarming now is very slim in my opinion, but I wouldn't waste too much time in giving them another box if they are real strong deeps. John

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    North Tazewell, Virginia
    Posts
    344

    Default Re: Splitting w/ Swarm Cells...will they still swarm

    The 1st queen hatches she kills the others and if there is no queeen in the hive she will will grow and prosper. I use cells all the time.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rogersville, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Splitting w/ Swarm Cells...will they still swarm

    Keeping in mind this is mother natures living creature that you are dealing with so there is no 100% certainty but... It is unlikely that they will want to swarm after your manipulations, with one exception... Did you find the original queen? Leave the bees with her even slightly crowded and that split will still swarm. If they have built out queen cells then they are in swarm mode and it is difficult to reverse that, except by making them queenless. At this point checker boarding is the best way to keep them all from swarming (still not a guarantee, esp. with the original queen). Keep the brood nest together in the center of the hive (if they are strong then maybe drop one frame of foundation in the middle) and then on each side of the brood nest put foundation then alternate drawn comb (empty or with honey/pollen doesn't matter) and frames of foundation till you get the box filled. These frames of foundation not only give them some space, but also something to do. They will feel less crowded and fell like they have work to do to make room for mom to lay some eggs and are much less likely to swarm on you.

    Good news is you have split them up enough that even if one split swarms you will not loose 1/2 your original hive.

    GL,
    Jeff - like me on facebook
    See my bees @ www.ozarkshoney.com

  7. #6

    Default Re: Splitting w/ Swarm Cells...will they still swarm

    Should I cut out all but one capped queen cell from each split or let them have multiples?

    Thanks

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Princeton, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    172

    Default Re: Splitting w/ Swarm Cells...will they still swarm

    I split a hive earlier this year when I found multiple queen cells. I wasn't sure which box the queen was in. Afterwards it appeared to me that both boxes still swarmed. I found many queen cells that had been opened, no new queen. This might be rare, but if I had to do it over again I would have split them up into a few nucs making sure that each nuc only had two queen cells or three at the most. If I didnt' have the equipment for nucs I would have cut out the queen cells leaving again only two. If I had time I would find the queen and start a nuc making sure there were no queen cells in it.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,071

    Default Re: Splitting w/ Swarm Cells...will they still swarm

    i agree that two to three is a good number to have in your queenless splits. if you kept the original queen in one of them, i would try to not have any queen cells in the hive with her and keep an eye out for new ones.

    not all virgins are successful in getting mated. my hives that swarmed this year ended up with multiple virgins in there at the same time. listening with a stethescope, i could hear them piping back and forth to each other, and their voices were just different enough so that you could distinguish individuals.

    i went ahead and left 5 - 6 and more queen cells in my splits, because i have had colonies fail to make a new queen before. i think it's because there is an endless supply of queen eating birds nearby. they just love those larger slow flying queens returning home from mating.

    most of splits were successful this year and produced mated laying queens, but a couple were not successful.

    of course, having a bunch of virgins in there fighting it out may also not be ideal for requeening success, i don't know.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,274

    Default Re: Splitting w/ Swarm Cells...will they still swarm

    Not all queen cells live to emerge. If you cut them down to one cell and that virgin dies in the cell you're in trouble. Give them a few cells and let the bees determine the outcome.

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