Bees swarmed. Still do a split?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Dutchess County, NY, USA
    Posts
    19

    Question Bees swarmed. Still do a split?

    2nd year beekeeper. One of 2 hives survived the winter (10 frame w/foundation, double deep). Added 2 new packages this year...one in the dead out and one in new 8 frame foundationless mediums (trying to save my back and experiment with foundationless).

    All colonies were doing well. Surviving hive so well that I planned to do a split. A family emergency took me away for a week but I added a super before leaving to give them more room. Upon returning, rainy weather kept me out of the hives for a few days. When the weather cleared I planned to do the split but that the day I saw a cloud of bees gather in front of the hives. It took them a few minutes to organize then off they went. I followed them across several acres of trees and open fields hoping to spot their staging area and maybe retrieve them. But i lost them in a heavily wooded area.

    I checked the hives. The new colonies seem intact and doing well so the swam must have been from the survivors. I saw that they had done nothing in the new super. I didn't do a frame by frame check for fear of disturbing them too much after the swarm but saw that both deeps are pretty full. Clearly they were too crowded.

    I think I should proceed with the split to prevent another swarm and losing the rest.

    Question: Should I wait to see evidence of a new queen before splitting?

    I am concerned that one group may have the resources to re-queen and the other won't. Maybe that is ok and I can buy a queen if they don't produce one themselves. But am also concerned that they may re-queen and swarm before I get a chance to relieve the overcrowding.

    Any suggestions or advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Re: Bees swarmed. Still do a split?

    If you still have a lot of bees in the hives you can make a split for each queen cell you find. I split with capped queen cells with 2 frames of brood and I make as many that I can.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Bees swarmed. Still do a split?

    Are you even sure the swarm came from your hive? We have swarms around our apiary all the time and all our hives and marked queens are intact. Bees attract bees.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
    Posts
    904

    Default Re: Bees swarmed. Still do a split?

    I would do detailed check of that hive you suspect. Lot of people talking about after swarms at our bee club and one of my own hives had multiple queen cells with plans to afterswarm. Dont lose more bees to after-swarms.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Dutchess County, NY, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Bees swarmed. Still do a split?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    Are you even sure the swarm came from your hive? We have swarms around our apiary all the time and all our hives and marked queens are intact. Bees attract bees.
    Good question. I didn't see the bees actually come out of the hive so I suppose it's possible. None of our queens are marked (survivors came from a local beekeeper and for some reason the new ones this year arrived unmarked). The swarm was only 2 days ago (rain still in the way of a detailed inspection) so I assume it's too early for a new queen? If I find a queen in there now then it would seem it was a "visiting" swarm.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Dutchess County, NY, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Bees swarmed. Still do a split?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    I would do detailed check of that hive you suspect. Lot of people talking about after swarms at our bee club and one of my own hives had multiple queen cells with plans to afterswarm. Dont lose more bees to after-swarms.

    My goal is to avoid another swarm. Weather has not been cooperating for a detailed inspection. Hopefully tomorrow.

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