I opened up my carniolan hive yesterday and immediately could see 20 or so swarm cells. They are not yet capped, but there are several that have a fat larvae in them, so I assume they will be sealed soon. I am going to make a split today (it was the last hive inspected yesterday and I didn't have time to do it then). The goal for this hive is to have it be a production hive and harvest some honey. This is my second year beekeeping so this would be my first harvest. It is currently a deep 10 over 10 standard langstroth setup with 4 full frames of honey from the fall and 10-12 frames of brood. A very strong hive from all perceptions.
My question for all of you is about the splitting. My initial thoughts were to take a few frames of brood that have the swarm cells on them and a couple shakes of bees and place them in a nuc. Then clean out any leftover cells and put in new foundation to give them some space. (This of course being the strategy if they haven't started thinning her out yet). However, a friend of mine that has been keeping bees for a little longer talked about a strategy that involved leaving the cells in there and taking the queen out to place in the nuc with a frame of brood, a frame of foundation, and a few shakes of bees. He explained that as the brood in the main hive emerges the bees will have nothing to do but frame out the supers and make honey, since there will not be new brood to raise until the new queen comes back.
All that being said I was wondering if anyone had any feelings on this either way. All information and opinions are more than welcome. Thanks everyone!
Last edited by Kevin Wessler; 04-23-2018 at 08:58 AM.
You may only have a day or so. (Maybe a bit more if you do a very thorough job of looking for and culling every single swarm cell, even those hidden on the face of the frame.)
Do you have a nearby bee-supplier where you could buy a double-screen board (also called a Snelgrove board?).
This far along that would be the only splitting method I would be willing to recommend based on my own experience. If you already have or can buy one in the next day, I can explain how to use it to stop the swarm, and still pretty much stay on track for some honey. (Plus you get a new colony out of the deal.) In addition to the board, you'll also need another deep box and 10 more frames (drawn is good, but foundation is OK, too.)
Google up: The Many uses of a Snelgrove Board, by Wally Shaw. You're looking at Method III (modified), the alternate technique for when you already have cells in the hive. It works very well, and I have never lost a swarm when using it.