Preventing a large hive from swarming.
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  1. #1
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    Jan 2017
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    Maysel,WV
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    Default Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    How do you do it? Trying to keep the population up for honey harvest but they keep building queen cells.
    My two largest hives are overwhelming me. I pulled the old queens in a spit last Thursday 4-26 and introduced purchased queens. Due to work I didnít get to check the queens for release until today. I found capped queen cells in both hives and queen cells with fresh eggs laid in them so I pulled of another split from both and knocked down the newest cells. I could see eggs and larva new enough to be the new queens.
    So whatís next? Both hives have plenty of room to expand into the next box up and I have added empty drawn comb. Do I just give up and bait a couple empty hives and set them close by?
    Last edited by coalsmok; 04-30-2018 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Spelling

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Read up on Snelgrove boards and search for Enjambres posts on their use here. You need to move quickly. J

  4. #3
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Have you tried checker boarding?
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  5. #4
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    Jun 2016
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    washington, vermont, USA
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Why not pull the queen and let them raise a new one during the flow? Hives pack lots of honey on with no brood to tend.

  6. #5
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    Maysel,WV
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    I have pulled the queen once. I couldn’t find the new queens to pull them tonight.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Fertile, MN
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Last years queens are prone to swarming. You may consider doing an OTS notch in your big hives to slow them down. If you are trying to gain more hives however,, I would keep pulling spits off the main hives and also replace the 2017 queens with new purchased queens.
    Young queens - Tanner Christianson

  8. #7
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    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Do you have or can you get (in the next 24 or 36 hours) a double screen or Snelgrove board? (Maybe ask in your bee club?) It may still be possible to interrupt things, but the continued production of queen cells and the introduction of the new queen certainly complicates things.

    Otherwise, I think your only choice would be to bust 'em up even further, which will be hard on your honey crop.

    If you think you can get your hands on a Snelgrove board (one per colony), you should Google: The many uses of a Snelgrove board by Wally Shaw. You will want to use the method described (towards the end of the document) for when you have queen cells with larvae. I guess I would count the introduced queen as the "parent queen" when working out who goes where in the initial stage the split.

    I suspect you don't have much time left before they hit the trees, though I am not sure what effect the new queens will have in swarming. Will they swarm as if they were the original queens - I don't know the answer to that. That would be very annoying since you just paid good money for them!

    If you decide to go the Snelgrove board route, post back and I can help talk you through it. It's not hard to do, and it has always stopped imminent swarms, at least in my experience. I think it will work unless they are actually massing to swarm when you start.

    I wouldn't waste time checkerboarding or opening the sides of the brood nest at this stage - those are earlier season swarm preventive tactics. Make sure they are generously-supered, though.

    Good luck!

    Nancy

  9. #8
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    Jan 2017
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    Maysel,WV
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Nancy I know I canít get a Snelgrove board in time now. Will add more super to the one hive tonight it has started up into the next to last super. The other one has not started filling the first of three super I put on earlier.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    London, England
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Snelgrove boards seem an awful lot of work. I clip my queens. Have you added foundation or drawn comb? Foundation has zero impact as it provides no space.

    My swarm control is:

    1. clip the queen
    2. requeen every year
    3. If they start to swarm I pull brood and a queen cell into a nuc, replace the space with drawn comb (or foundation) and leave the old queen in there. Hopefully, the drop in population stops them raising new queens. Drawn comb she'll lay it back up quickly, the foundation gives them soomething else to do.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Snelgrove boards are not a whole lot of work. Not sure where you got that idea.

    I never clip a queen, and I don't requeen every year. (I let the bees be the judge of the need for replacement.) But I do not allow my bees to swarm. I do other pre swarm-season manipulations to try and damp down swarming preps. In the vast majority of my colonies each year, that's enough, even without any splitting (I don't want or need any extra colonies.) But some of them need a preemptive division and every now and then one of them needs an emergency division (when they make swarm cells despite my earlier interventions). In both of these cases Snelgrove boards are what I use.

    The OP has already pulled the queen and a nuc, and that hasn't stopped his bees. That's why I suggested the Snelgrove boards as an alternative to just keeping on breaking down the hive into nucs, which will hammer his honey production for the year. It appears he has already supered up with plenty of drawn comb.

    Nancy

  12. #11
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    May 2017
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    Sheboygan County, WI
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Are you using queen excluders between the brood boxes and the honey supers.... Queen excluders can sometimes keep bees from moving as freely as they want, get more congested in the brood boxes and make the bees want to swarm...

    Just my opinion, for what it is worth.

  13. #12
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    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    What kind of equipment set up look like?

    With the correct setup, swarm control is not that difficult.

    Crazy Roland

  14. #13
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    Apr 2013
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    Mahopac, NY
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Nancy-
    does this work as a Snelgrove board?
    https://www.mannlakeltd.com/10-frame...e-screen-board

  15. #14
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    I really like my snelgrove boards. Excellent tool for the backyarder. They produce nice queens too.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    @ Mahobee:

    Yes, that will work perfectly as a Snelgrove board. Technically, even I use similar double-screened boards since mine only have the same three pairs of doors, not the four pairs that Snelgrove's design used. But there is less readily-available information on how to use a double-screened board (the same way you use a Snelgrove Board) out there so I always call what I use a Snelgrove just to make it easier for readers. (And three pairs of door is plenty!)

    Snelgrove boards are apparently more popular and more-frequently used in the UK, so that's where most of the info comes from. Here in the US they have unfortunately been dismissed as too-complicated, or not effective, or something. But they are not, at all. Perhaps they just don't fit as well with the more-assertive, less detailed, style of beekeeping practiced here.

    Whatever, they work very well if you take the trouble to use them correctly when trying to forestall, or stop swrming.

    I consider them an essential part of every beekeepers' kit. And I find them handy to have around all season long since, for example, as you can see they can temporarily double as a ventilated screen top to a hive, among other things. I use them for all kinds of other purposes throughout the year, not just in swarm or splitting season.

    Nancy

  17. #16
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    Jan 2017
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    Maysel,WV
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Both hives are currently in a stack of 4 boxes, deep, med, and two shallows. Tonight I am adding an additional med between the deep and the original deep that has been checker-boarded. And maybe another shallow.
    I am on my third year of keeping bees. I usually pull the old queen and a heavy load of bees and that works. I think the long cool spring we have had along with lots of pollen pattie and fondant has made a swarm prone situation. The queens keep laying but the bees just havenít been able to get out and fly. And to top all that off I installed new queens instead of letting them raise their own due to the weather being so cold and wet so far, so no real brood break.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    I may have to build and try a Snelgrove board. The problem for me though is most of my hives are on the backside of the farm and I work late so the manipulations of it seems to add a lot of trips. Not that what Iím doing now is any less trips.
    The flow here is about to bust wide open so if I am just hold them a little longer.

  19. #18
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    Jan 2018
    Location
    London, England
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Snelgrove boards are not a whole lot of work. Not sure where you got that idea.

    I never clip a queen, and I don't requeen every year. (I let the bees be the judge of the need for replacement.) But I do not allow my bees to swarm. I do other pre swarm-season manipulations to try and damp down swarming preps. In the vast majority of my colonies each year, that's enough, even without any splitting (I don't want or need any extra colonies.) But some of them need a preemptive division and every now and then one of them needs an emergency division (when they make swarm cells despite my earlier interventions). In both of these cases Snelgrove boards are what I use.

    The OP has already pulled the queen and a nuc, and that hasn't stopped his bees. That's why I suggested the Snelgrove boards as an alternative to just keeping on breaking down the hive into nucs, which will hammer his honey production for the year. It appears he has already supered up with plenty of drawn comb.

    Nancy
    I get the idea from doing it, this is why I didn't like it:

    1. You still split the hive into two hives - I found it easier to put them in another box
    2. Fiddling with three entrances just seems a faf - I may as well use a Horsley board it's simpler
    3. Once you add supers it just seemed to me I was adding more kit to the process - I was using six of them for two seasons and they took way more time than simply doing a normal split

    Anyhow I would suggest the OP look at Wally Shaw's most excellent swarm control booklet - as he doesn't have a board maybe a deamaree would work well.

    http://www.wbka.com/wp-content/uploa...Wally-Shaw.pdf

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by coalsmok View Post
    I may have to build and try a Snelgrove board.
    Have a look at the Horsely board - http://barnsleybeekeepers.org.uk/horsley.html

  21. #20
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    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: Preventing a large hive from swarming.

    When you say "checkerboarded", what do you mean? Alternating drawn and undrawn, or alternating drawn with stores and drawn with empty cells?

    I don't think undrawn foundation will do much for you, unless your bees are already in prime wax-making mode. And I also think that the time for checkerboarded boxes a la Walt Wright is long past.

    I would just add a box of drawn, but empty, comb so they have no excuses for complaining that the new queens have no place for eggs. It may not slow them down completely, but I think it can't hurt.

    Do they have brood in both the deep and the medium above it? If so, I would add another medium above the medium, but below any queen excluder. In other words really expand your broodnest area. I am not sure about the effect if you inserted the empty space between two boxes with brood by putting the new medium box between two brood boxes Or maybe you could insert individual frames of drawn, empty comb between or amongst frames of brood combs in the current medium box, kind of shuffling the two sets together. Maybe leaving a few brood frames in the central core of the lower medium, but moving some of the brood frames from that medium (if there's brood in there) up to the second box.

    If you only have brood in the deeps, and if you have the drawn comb resources for it, then I would consider adding a second deep brood box. One or two frames of foundation wouldn't hurt to fill out the second box, if needed. You can work the whole hot mess out after they've settled down with their new queen.

    Check out the status of the queen cells, including estimating their time to capping. You might be able to cull some of the oldest and that way buy a few more days to get a Snelgrove/double screen board on site.

    Hope to hear soon that they have settled down to just making you some honey.

    Nancy

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