Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)
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  1. #1
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    Default Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    I have done 7 Snelgrove splits this spring where cells were not present, which is the Snelgrove's original purpose for the board. This weekend, I found a hive with swarm cells present so I am attempting to use Method 2 as modified by Wally Shaw.

    I placed two frames of capped and open brood in the bottom box, put and excluder over it and placed a super (really just another box of combs that will serve an additional brood box when this is done) then put the SB on top of the super. I placed a brood box with all remaining brood, plus the queen on top of the SB.

    I was uncertain of the age of the capped queen cells (only found 2) so I destroyed them.

    So in 7 to 10 days I am supposed to remove the two brood combs from the bottom box and replace with a two brood combs from the top box. I am also supposed to transfer the queen from the top box to the bottom box.

    My question is: Why does this work? I can't figure out what is triggering them to call off the swarm that would otherwise not be triggered if I had just destroyed all of the queen cells in the box and let them be as they were.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    pms
    I will give this question a go. You have seperated the old bees from most of the brood and the queen. The age groups are also seperated with the bottom being mostly old bees and the top being young.
    I am sure there is much more but I think this is the big one.
    Cheers
    zone 5b

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    pms
    I will give this question a go. You have seperated the old bees from most of the brood and the queen. The age groups are also seperated with the bottom being mostly old bees and the top being young.
    I am sure there is much more but I think this is the big one.
    Cheers
    I suppose so gww. Just surprises me that that is all it takes.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    psm
    I suppose so gww. Just surprises me that that is all it takes.
    I am new enough that I won't mind if smarter people add more then what I think.
    You did destroy all the started queen cells didn't you? If not, you did not go far enough and so the above is only part of the picture.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    psm

    I am new enough that I won't mind if smarter people add more then what I think.
    You did destroy all the started queen cells didn't you? If not, you did not go far enough and so the above is only part of the picture.
    Cheers
    gww
    I did. The Wally Shaw article is a little vague about that. It seems to say that a newly capped queen cell is ok, but a capped queen cell ready to emerge is not. I don't know how the heck to tell the difference, so I removed them all.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    psm
    Be nice if in about a month if you would write your progress and thoughts on this.
    I just love closure.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    psm
    Be nice if in about a month if you would write your progress and thoughts on this.
    I just love closure.
    Cheers
    gww
    I will.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    gww has the gist of it correct. Let me try to add some details as I understand them. When you use the SB after QCs are present (method II), Snelgrove directs that you place the queen in the top box with all of the brood , with the adhering bees and all the queen cells. The capped QCs should be destroyed.
    In the bottom box goes all the frames without brood, with adhering bees and1 frame of capped brood, perhaps with a little bit of OLDER open brood, too old to start a QC. The brood boxes are separated with the SB, a honey super and a QE. See the diagram in Snelgrove's book on page 43 for the order of placement.

    The flying bees from the top box exit and join the bees in the bottom box thru the original entrance which they are familiar with. As the house bees in the top box start to fly outside the hive , they are diverted to the bottom box when the doors of the SB are changed after 5 days.

    So, the queen is left in the top box with house and nurse bees that can't fly, therefore they cannot swarm so the bees tear down the queen cells. They no longer need them. After the queen cells are torn down (7-8 days), the queen , with the frame she is on is placed into the bottom box. The queen has been laying in the top box for about a week.

    The bees in the bottom box have been queenless for the past week, with no way to make a new queen, and have lost the urge to swarm. They are now in survival mode. They welcome their old queen with open arms, and she resumes her job to fill up the available frames in the bottom box with eggs.

    The bees in the top box, now with a week's worth of eggs and open brood now suddenly find themselves queen less and set about to make some emergency queen cells. If you wanted to try and improve the quality of these emergency QCs, you could use the OTS method and notch 12 hour old larvae in the top box.

    Snelgrove's book "Swarming it's Control and Prevention" can be downloaded for free as a pdf file .His summary for method II (with QCs present) is on page 45. Method I summary can be found on page 39. I would encourage anyone interested to read his book. Yes it is a little hard to understand at first, but if you re-read it a couple of times you'll begin to understand it . It's about 100 pages. Once you are using the SB in your bee yard, it will all become clear what is happening and why.

    I'm not familiar with Wally Shaw , so I can't comment about his modifications.
    I hope this helps someone.
    Don

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Shaw's modified version of Snelgrove Method 2 is a little less complicated, IMO, but essentially the same. It does not require finding the queen in the first round, but does require finding her after 10 days when you do the switch with the two frames of open larvae left below.

    And I think it reduces the time until you have a laying queen in the both sections again, by about a week, or so, because you start the new queen from young larvae present on the day of the manipulation not from eggs laid a week later. I prefer this because I think that the bees may have a good sense of when to swarm based unknown-to-us factors such a drone availability. Maybe not, but it's always useful to move things along as smartly as possible when you've got a unavoidable period of queenlessness in a new colony.

    GWW is correct about why it works: you have completely scrambled the age-class distribution of the two sections rendering neither one of them able to assemble ALL of the needed population elements to launch a swarm.

    By the time they get things back on track, the reproductive swarm season is usually past for the year. Of course you can still through mismanagement, or inattention to the bees' needs for space, still prompt a swarm later on. But the biologically driven mania for swarming that is typical as the finale to the spring build up has passed.

    When using SBs just for increase I often don't bother too much about moving the bees around using the doors. (Unless I really goof up setting it up in the first place, which happens.) But when using a SB in the presence of established queen cells I make sure to move bees out of the top on the fifth day, just to keep the queen's section as unsettled as possible until I am ready to return her to the lower section.

    I no longer use OTS in this manipulation because it results in such an ove rabundance of queen cells being started and by that time a lot of nurse bees have already been moved downstairs so making up more nucs from these frames would need some shake-ins from other resources. But YMMV on that. I hate culling queen cells, and have no real interest in making more colonies.

    Nancy

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Don
    I had copied this a long time ago but had not looked at it in a long time.
    http://www.killowen.com/swarmcontrol2.html
    Here is the thread where we discussed this earlier.
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...oard+questions
    The one differrence from what you describe and what we disscussed is that you are saying the lower part is made hopefully queenless and we were trying to give the lower part young enough larva to start queen cells to switch with the queen in 7 days.

    When I think about it, I could see that if the hive had already started queen cells in the hive, the queen might have quit laying long enough that you could not find young enough larva to move down so that the lower box could make queen cells. Hmmmm.

    I noticed on the first link I posted, it was recomended that you not make queen cells with the eggs that the queen layed in the top part due to there not being enough nurse bees to feed it properly. Hmmm.

    This leads me to want to try to use it like the conventional slpit at the bottom of the page of my first link, which leaves the queen in the bottom with one frame of brood and moves the rest of the brood and queen cells to the top of the board as a split.

    I once removed the young bees but left the brood and old bees and queen cells together under a board and had two swarms. I wonder if reversing and leaving the queen and very little brood with the old bees would work differrent. It seems like using the queen cells that were started at prime time would save a week of no brood or more.

    For something so simple, you still have to think a little.

    Psm
    Have your bees in you lower box started queen cells with the two frames of brood you gave them? In our earlier discussion, I never once factored in that the queen may have stopped laying and started thinning down and you might not have young enough larva to start queen cells in the lower box.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Don, gww, Nancy: Thanks for all of the discussion. As Shaw says, Snelgrove was under the impression that swarming was triggered by the overpopulation of nurse bees. This notion has since been proven untrue. That, coupled with the "plasticity" of a honey bee colony (i.e. nurse bees can be pressed into service as workers and workers can be pressed back into service as nurses) made me question why this Method II works. But I suppose the plasticity of the colony has its limits and they cannot reassign quickly and efficiently enough to carry our their swarm plans.

    I suppose the overpopulation of nurse bees may not be a catalyst for swarming, but the absence of foraging bees will not only prevent swarming, but will cause a colony to abort an imminent swarm.

    I did the door maneuver on day 6 after the manipulation. Today is day 10 post manipulation, so I am headed back down to the bee yard this afternoon to move my queen into the bottom box.

    Again, thank you all for the help and discussions. I will report back what I find today.
    Last edited by psm1212; 03-27-2018 at 09:53 AM.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Update on Method 2 (modified): Went text book. Found my yellow-dot queen in the top box where I left her. Removed her and another frame of brood to the bottom box. Pulled the two frames of brood that I had transferred to the bottom box back to the top box. They each had at least 3 queen cells a piece on them. If I had resources and time, I might have made another split, but I currently am way over my head with splits and swarm captures. (I went from 8 colonies to 21 colonies in a month). Anyway, populations looked good and have every reason to believe that the old queen will resume her reign in the bottom box and I will have another colony (#22) in the top box in about 3 weeks.

    On a disappointing note, I checked my 7 hives that I did the Method 1 procedure on February 17th. 2 have recently swarmed. Large populations, no brood and swarm cells in the hive. Basically, Method 1 bought me, at most, 5 weeks of swarm delay. I think I am going to hang "swarm control" up. Last year was opening the brood nest and checkerboarding, to which I lost all of my white-dot queens by the first week of April to swarming. This year was Snelgroving (yes, that is a verb), and I have already lost 2 yellow-dot queens.

    I think my 2019 strategy may be to do absolutely nothing until after the first swarm of each hive, which should be by the middle of March. Then try to manage the hives so that they do not swarm a second time prior to July 4, when my nectar flow is usually over.

    I know that probably sounds foreign to most of you, but when you live in my climate, and Spring comes in like a lion in February, there is just no way to battle Mother Nature until mid-July. She is obviously going to win every year.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Psm
    Thanks for the update. How cool.
    (I went from 8 colonies to 21 colonies in a month).
    Stop it, you are scaring me. I have eight coloneys right now and so over winter I built another 13 hives. I have been sitting in the lazy boy for the last month cause I thought I had enough hives built ahead for this year.

    My hives last year swarmed on the first day in april that got to 70 degrees. I was splitting and catching swarms for the whole first half of april. I got scared this year and reversed boxes and then read all the newbee totorials out there that said that should be done in may. I am going to try and get a handle on it this year but have little hope that I will be real successful. My peach trees are about to pop but we don't have a 60 degree day forcast yet in the ten day forcast.
    Wish me luck. Again, thanks for the follow up report. It may help me as it seems my stuff happens about a month later then yours.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Shaw's modified version of Snelgrove Method 2 is a little less complicated, IMO, but essentially the same. It does not require finding the queen in the first round, but does require finding her after 10 days when you do the switch with the two frames of open larvae left below.
    Nancy: If you found fully capped queen cells, would you not find the queen before proceeding just to insure that they had not already issued the swarm? If I found charged, but uncapped, queen cells, I would not bother finding her. But if I found capped queen cells, wouldn't you want to make sure the queen was still present before you went through the manipulation?

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Psm
    I am not nancy but if I did not find the queen and had capped queen cells, I would not destroy all the queen cells but would leave the youngest ones. If the queen is there, the bees are supposed to tear the queen cells down and if she is not, they have a way to make a queen.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    I suppose you could do that gww and it will still likely result in 2 mated queens in 2 separate colonies. But if your original queen had already left the hive, before the manipulation, on day 10 or 11, you likely have an emerged virgin queen in the top box who is on the cusp of her maiden flights. Not an ideal time to be changing boxes.

    I think I am going to have to find that queen at the time of manipulation in order to feel good about it. I agree that it does work without finding her though.

    Having just completed my first Method II, I like it a lot more than I thought I would. It is very easy.

    BTW, lost another 2 swarms yesterday from hives I did the Snelgrove Method I on February 18th. That is a total of 4 out of 7 hives that have swarmed since the procedure.

    I am beginning to think that swarm prevention in South Alabama is a myth like unicorns or mermaids. But not BigFoot. BigFoot is real.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Psm
    BTW, lost another 2 swarms yesterday from hives I did the Snelgrove Method I on February 18th. That is a total of 4 out of 7 hives that have swarmed since the procedure.
    Have you inspected enough to know if they had filled the supers that you had on them or did they swarm inspite of having empty space they could have used?
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    Psm

    Have you inspected enough to know if they had filled the supers that you had on them or did they swarm inspite of having empty space they could have used?
    Cheers
    gww
    I run a 2 box (Deep + Medium) brood nest. On February 18, I removed all brood from both boxes and replaced it primarily with empty comb and some new frames with foundation, with the exception of one frame with a small amount of foundation and the queen. I moved most of the food stores to the upper box as well. (Snelgrove Method 1). I diverted all foragers through two manipulations to that box and the population was very heavy on the 18th. Her first nurse bees should not have been emerging until March 11, and she swarms by March 28? The Deep has at least 4 frames of beautiful capped brood, but there is plenty of room in the Medium for her to lay in.

    I don't think I have a space issue. I think I am fighting a reproductive urge that I don't know how to win. It's like trying to keep pants on teenagers.

    I honestly am doing the math right now to determine if I want to encourage an early swarm (Late February/Early March) next spring. Then, I can do Snelgrove Method I in mid-April and MAYBE make it through the nectar flow at full staff. It is not a bad problem to have, but it vexes me.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    Psm
    Yes, I am facing what you were faced way back in feb, when you made your first moves. I only have three double screen boards built and so am going to not do all of the hives. I probly have about 10 to 15 days to figure out which way I want to jump and so if you think of anything or maybe some more people will participate here and show how it might be improved.

    My General ideal this year was to maybe do a flyback as early as I saw drones and get some extra queen cells going and then use the first round of queen cells to pull some frames of brood from the others and in a week maybe do another fly back and get a few more cells and then pull a couple of frames of brood and see what happens. Last year my hives swarmed (One may have even got away from me cause I lost a queen in a hive). I pulled two brood combs (and broke one but some of it probly hatched) to tether swarms and then watched space and added early by pulling up frames from the brood nest and it was the only hive that did not swarm but I also only got one medium super of honey from it.

    So, Pulling two frames of brood (I am all mediums) and putting empty frames for replacement every two weeks or so till they are drawing wax and on a good flow might stop them but it might also stop them from making lots of excess.

    I have a good tree that the bees stop at when my hives swarm and so I have not lost that much by the swarms though I did split both and still got two after swarms from one of them.

    The above was sorta my ideal of what to maby try this year and it does not sound like it will be much worse then you are getting with what you are doing. We may have simular bees or skills.

    I don't know the answer but am getting ideals from you at a good time due to my stuff happening a little later then you.

    Thanks for letting me tag along and also telling me what is happening compared to what you are doing. Maybe somebody will yet answer this thread with some ideals of what could be added to what you have already done that might bring you efforts home to something a little more successful.
    Thanks
    gww
    Ps I am correct in assumming that it is your lower hive with the old bees and queen that is also the hives that are swarming?
    zone 5b

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Snelgrove Method 2 (Modified)

    I am so sorry to hear you lost swarms after having made splits on Feb. 18.

    Which part of the split swarmed, the upper part that was supposedly was making a new queen, or the lower part with the old queen? I assume you were using the method described in Wally Shaw's paper, "The many uses of a Snelgrove board?" I ask because there other documents out there describing other methods of making a split using s Snelgrove board, some of which arrange the brood and queen in quite different ways between the two parts.

    Snelgrove boards have gotten an undeserved reputation for being a swarm prevention tactic. But I think of them more as an emergency, or a near-emergency, swarm rescue method. My main swarm discouraging tactics are reversing, checker boarding and opening the side of the brood nest. And this is a months-long effort extending from early April through the first weeks of June. These alone seem, for me, in my location and with my bees, to be sufficient to discourage most of my colonies from starting down the swarm-path. With these other anti-swarming tactics, I hope to delay and discourage early swarms until such time as I think it best to make increase (if that is my goal for the colony.) If I am not interested in making another colony from one that nonetheless looks like it might become swarm-ish while I can continue hoping for the best, all the while I am inspecting the colony every five days by tipping up and looking under every single brood box. This will reveal any serious swarm probability in enough time to slap a board on them in time to do either Method I or II depending on how far along all the QCs are when I pull the frames to inspect. I only rarely have to resort to Method II. I try to be very faithful about checking the queen cups on the bottom of the frames for eggs, so I can nip it in the bud when it is very early in process. Still sometimes bad weather, or extra-eager bees get slightly ahead of me, even on these intervals, so then I do Method II.

    One thing I don't do much of is using the tricky little doors to add back bees from the upper section to the bottom, perhaps even much less than the "regulation" method. This keeps my bottom colonies perhaps just a tad weaker than they would need to be to get themselves back in the swarm-mood. (I do Method II by the book, however, for Method I have found laziness, works, too. Perhaps I have done Method I enough times to have a better idea of how much brood to have, and where, so neither section needs too much adjustment.)

    There have been times, though, when I have hauled the queen-rearing upper colony off, removed the SB and the supers below and tipped up every brood box in the bottom section every five days just as if I hadn't divided it a few weeks earlier. I try to do this just before any mating flight might be occurring, and then not again until I have a good reason to search for eggs. I can remember one time when it had to be done on a day I thought a mating flight was sure to occur, (due to a long weather delay). I got up early and did the unstack and tip-up check on the bottom section's boxes at 7 am when it was still cool enough that I was pretty sure the virgin queen would still be resting up for her big adventure later in the day. Every thing was quickly back in place and the virgin queen must have gone out and had a fine old time because she came back very well-mated. But she comes from sneaky-stock, so I still watch her very closely 'cause her Mother was very sly and tenacious about swarming.

    Nancy

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