Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!
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  1. #1
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    Default Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Okay, third year beekeeper and looking for feedback on my thoughts/plan or suggestions for a better approach. I have 3 hives that all came through the winter here in Ohio and 2 are absolutely booming. After my first inspection, I reversed my deeps and both of these hives pretty much filled a nearly empty deep in a week - I wasnít expecting it to fill that fast! One hive also had several empty queen cups last Wednesday. I scraped off those early queen cells and added supers.

    I checked back today and the hive in questions now has lots of new queen cells, many empty but a few now with larvae - yikes! (Theyíve also started to draw out the frames in the super, really booming hive!) I do have 2 nucs set aside and mostly ready to go, and I also have a doubled screened board if I wanted to go that route, although I donít have any empty deep boxes but have several mediums that I intended to use as supers.

    My primary goal is to prevent swarming and queen/bee loss (and to hopefully have some honey this season). Iím okay with splits to that end, but am not necessarily looking to increase number of hives for the sake of expanding. I actually only planned on 2 hives, had lots of extra equipment for emergencies, but ended up with three hives at the end of last season and now all my deeps are used up).

    My next day off is Wednesday. With larvae in cups but no queen cells capped, am I safe to wait two days? I plan to try to find the queen (of all three hives, this is the one queen I never see, even though I did see eggs at all my inspections so far), put her in a nuc with 3 frames of brood and nurse bees (and no queen cups, of course) and some honey/pollen stores. Then I will add some empty frames back in the spaces of the original hive and close it up and let them requeen, wait 4 weeks, and check back.

    Is this the best plan or am I better off manipulating with the double screened board? Is my timeline for this (to allow prep and another chunk of time to work without being hurried) correct? When I put the current queen in the nuc, do I put a medium empty nuc box on top right away since weíre in the thick of a nectar flow here, or wait and check later? I know to leave the hive alone as it raises a new queen, but how long do you let the nuc alone - a week?

    Please, please, any feedback or suggestions is much appreciated - thank you!

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Overall your system sounds fine.

    Yes, you can probably wait two days. Generally speaking most swarms don't leave the hive until the first queen cell is capped. I say generally, because there is always the odd swarm that issues early. But assuming none of your queen cells are capped, and won't be capped in the next two days, you should be fine.

    Your plan is probably the easiest, and best to implement based on your experience. You can try a double screen board, but I'd work on getting your first split to occur first. Once you get it to work, you can try a double screen system next year. That's my take on it though.

    If you give the new nuc a frame of foundation to draw out, with no forager bees (they all stayed behind in the old hive) you should be fine for a week or two space wise. Check a week or two later and see if they need space. If so, moving them to full size equipment may make more sense than adding a 5 frame medium super. But your mileage may vary. After the week or two check (just crack the lid and see if they need space) leave them alone until you hit the 4 week time period. Then check for eggs.

    Good luck!

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    All I can offer until you get someone to help is read about reproductive swarms at http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    I ran into a similar situation with one at an outyard this spring. I did a "flyback split".

    I located the queen and put her in a box with the frame she was on (capped/uncapped brood), 1 extra frame of brood, and the rest were empty foundation. I put that box in the place where the original hive sat. I moved the original hive ~25 yards away. The foragers return to the original location with their queen and the original, now queenless box, makes a new one. I also gave the queen box a quart of 1:1 just to make me feel better about the process.

    In my mind, and I could be completely wrong, this is as close to an artificial swarm as I can create and it should may take care of the swarming urge and they will recover by early/mid-June in time for our flow season.

    Here are the details from another thread.

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
    In my mind, and I could be completely wrong, this is as close to an artificial swarm as I can create and it should may take care of the swarming urge and they will recover by early/mid-June in time for our flow season.
    It's essentially the same thing as a double screen, without the double screen.

    Snelgrove, the inventor of the double screen, always said a colony without brood will not swarm, and a colony without foragers will not swarm. Essentially if you separate the foragers from the brood, neither half will swarm. Your "fly back swarm" does just that (foragers with queen stays put, all brood moved away).

    In practice it doesn't always work like that. But most often enough.

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Thanks everyone! I'm a little worried that my first hive will want to swarm too. They are just thriving and I'm worried that I put supers on too late (last week). There was a tiny, unfinished queen cup (no royal jelly that I could tell, no larvae) but I’m hoping they’ll expand out and be okay. I will definitely be keeping a very close eye on them.

    Thank you for the feedback, links, and info about the flyaway splits! I’m very small scale here and only have one beeyard and am limited to whether I could expand to two due to areas where my husband has his hobby equipment (he restores antique tractors, no interest from him in live stuff!) and areas where my young son plays. I’m also just one woman managing my hives solo, work full time as a nurse, and have a 6 year old son. Three hives is already pushing it for me time-wise, and adding a 4th (nuc) will still be okay. I worry a little about expanding anymore (and already out of deeps and will need to restock!) because I don’t have space or time for more hives than that. I know that that’s really an okay problem to have versus the alternative, but still.

    I really do need to read up more on the Snelgrove board. I used it last spring with a lot of help from enjambres on here and following the article. I know there are several uses and ways to arrange things. It’s like making a vertical split, yes? Can you prevent swarms with a Snelgrove board (well, I have the Mann Lake double screen boards, but same thing, I think) without a split/increase?

    I think I will still plan to make my nuc split I described above, just because I have what I need for that and it is straightforward, but I definitely need to learn more about swarm control methods that don’t always involve making increases because of my time/space limitations. I think I will also try to make up some extra deep frames so I can checkerboard up my other two hives. I have some slatted bottom boards that I have actually never put on, so perhaps I’ll add those too to free up some congestion as the spring takes off. So much to consider!

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Quote Originally Posted by clarekate View Post
    I'm a little worried that my first hive will want to swarm too.
    Meh. I wouldn't worry about it. You're going to lose swarms occasionally. It happens.

    I've lost several this year. I just don't have the time to prevent them all, or the desire to cut back hives enough that they don't have a chance at swarming.

    Many people's hives swarm on them and they don't even know it.

    Quote Originally Posted by clarekate View Post
    Itís like making a vertical split, yes?
    Yup. Two hives, one stand, one bottom board, one top.

    Quote Originally Posted by clarekate View Post
    Can you prevent swarms with a Snelgrove board (well, I have the Mann Lake double screen boards, but same thing, I think) without a split/increase?
    Yup. You split the brood from the foragers. The foragers (that have no brood) become hungry for a queen. The half that has the brood destroys their swarm cells, abandoning swarming attempts because they don't have the bee resources they think they need. A week later you can recombine them. Back to one hive.

    Downside is sometimes they try to swarm again. Not always though.

    I highly recomend reading Snelgrove's book: Swarming: It's Control and Prevention (https://www.amazon.com/Swarming-Its-...grove+swarming). Not expensive, easy to read, and very straightforward.

    If you don't want to have another hive, but still need to split, put it on craigslist for sale. $140 to the first person that shows up with the money, they bring their own equipment to transfer the frames into. Easy money for you. Around here if I posted that type of thing at noon the nuc would be sold by 2 pm. 4 at the latest.

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Clarekate,

    How can I help you with this? Using a double screened board once you have charged queen cells is a little more complicated than described above, but it can be done quite easily and it has always stopped the swarm, cold.

    Do you still have a copy of the "The many uses of a Snelgrove board", by Wally Shaw? Google for it, if needed again. You are wanting the Modified Method II that's described at the end of the document. Is the hive you want to use the double screened board on the one you have trouble finding the queen in? This particular manipulation doesn't require that you find her at the beginning. But you do have to set the boxes up exactly as described, and then do the swap-over right on time (give or take a day or two). But it is an easy, not time-consuming thing to do at that point. I know you work an irregular schedule, but I think you'll be able to fit it into your schedule


    I'll check back later to see if you seen this reply to you. I am also up very early in the morning (4 am-ish)

    Nancy

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    I highly recomend reading Snelgrove's book: Swarming: It's Control and Prevention (https://www.amazon.com/Swarming-Its-...grove+swarming). Not expensive, easy to read, and very straightforward.

    If you don't want to have another hive, but still need to split, put it on craigslist for sale. $140 to the first person that shows up with the money, they bring their own equipment to transfer the frames into. Easy money for you. Around here if I posted that type of thing at noon the nuc would be sold by 2 pm. 4 at the latest.
    Thank you for the book link. I actually just ordered it since I have looked up articles here or there but think it will be really helpful to learn more. And yes, I hadn't really considered selling a hive or nuc before (haven't really been doing this long enough and, to be honest, expected to lose at least a hive or two over the winter). If it came to it, it might be worth considering since I'm a bit limited in how many hives I want to have. Thanks for the recommendations!

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Clarekate,

    How can I help you with this? Using a double screened board once you have charged queen cells is a little more complicated than described above, but it can be done quite easily and it has always stopped the swarm, cold.

    Do you still have a copy of the "The many uses of a Snelgrove board", by Wally Shaw? Google for it, if needed again. You are wanting the Modified Method II that's described at the end of the document. Is the hive you want to use the double screened board on the one you have trouble finding the queen in? This particular manipulation doesn't require that you find her at the beginning. But you do have to set the boxes up exactly as described, and then do the swap-over right on time (give or take a day or two). But it is an easy, not time-consuming thing to do at that point. I know you work an irregular schedule, but I think you'll be able to fit it into your schedule


    I'll check back later to see if you seen this reply to you. I am also up very early in the morning (4 am-ish)

    Nancy
    Nancy, you are always so helpful - thank you!!!

    Yes, I googled it and reviewed it just now. My problem, though maybe itís okay, is I actually donít have any empty deep hive bodies at all. I only ever expected to have two hives at most and had two deeps as spares, but then I ended up with three full hives that all made it through the winter. Exciting, but Iím short of supplies. There is a local supply company, but not one that I can make it to with my scheduling limitations. I work a 12 hour shift (plus long commute) tomorrow. (Iím actually a pediatric chemo RN, which is the farthest thing from the ďnaturalĒ beekeeping hobby as one could be!) I have a few hours of time Wednesday between when I drop my son at kindergarten and pick him up early in the afternoon for a doctorís appt, and then I work 10 hour shifts Thursday and Friday. So I canít make it to the supply shop but I can put together some extra deep frames and believe I have those supplies in my stash. In my bottom box below the screened board (what would be the new box as described in the article), could I do the two frames of young brood and nurse bees, a few frames from the original boxes with some honey/pollen stores, and some undrawn new frames? Would that be a workaround since I donít actually have a spare deep?

    For the box on top of the screened board, I could then combine brood frames taken from both of my deeps (minus the two frames below the screened board). I could leave a frame on both sides of pollen and honey, and then since Iíll have several leftover frames since there will be new, undrawn frames below, they would mostly be honey stores that I could freeze to put aside to add back in the fall?

    And yes, you are correct in that this is the hive I can never seem to find the queen in! I think I saw her once, maybe twice ALL of last season! So this is fortunate that I may not need to actually see her if I go this route.

    My hesitations for using the double screen board are that I do not have the spare deep, which would be helpful (the spare on the bottom, with the two frames, and just leaving both current deeps above). Also, looking at my calendar, I would not be able to have a chunk of time to do the full second part of the manipulation until day 11, so I would worry I would miss my window.

    I am confused, mostly because it is late and I need to get to sleep but also because I need to read this through several more times. In this modified method, do you produce a second queen with the aim to split? Or no, just prevent a swarm and eventually can reunite the hive?

    Do you feel this would solidly prevent the swarm, over putting the queen (if, god-willing, I can find her!) in a nuc and letting the current hive go forward with producing a new queen? Iím torn between wanting to do the best method or going with the simpler method that I have the supplies ready for. (I will definitely be getting more deeps to have on hand though!)

    There are those few empty queen cups in my other strong hive as well. Would that hive be a good candidate for using a screened bottom board with Method I to prevent? And if so, can this be used to prevent swarming without making a new queen and increasing hive numbers? (Again, I do need to read this when Iím less tired.)

    So much to consider. I will try to check in tomorrow while I am at work, or at the latest later evening when I am home. I will be able to prep some supplies after work. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your help!

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Quote Originally Posted by clarekate View Post
    My problem, though maybe it’s okay, is I actually don’t have any empty deep hive bodies at all.
    Are you part of a club, or do you know anyone locally that you could borrow a deep box from?

    If not, do you have any spare mediums? I've done a modified system using mediums before, although it isn't preferred.

    Quote Originally Posted by clarekate View Post
    In this modified method, do you produce a second queen with the aim to split? Or no, just prevent a swarm and eventually can reunite the hive?
    You can do either.

    The Snelgrove board system works great, but if I were you I'd just make a nuc. A) you already have the supplies ready for it, and B) I think it's something every beekeeper should feel comfortable doing, so you get to practice it now.

    When I'm stuck in an outyard and a hive is about to swarm, I don't have the flexibility of looking around for a snelgrove board, extra queen excluder, extra deep/medium combo. All of that stuff takes up space too. Instead I carry around a 5 frame nuc box (with the bottom board nailed to it and a simple top, filled with frames) that acts as my swarm box (in the event I get a random call for a swarm). Takes up less space and is easier to move around. So I just make a quick split and move it to another yard. Because I've done literally hundreds of them, I feel very comfortable with how many frames and how many bees should go in it, depending on the time of year and the needs. If you don't make the splits, you don't learn how to do it.

    But that's my take.

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    ClareKate,

    Snelgrove's book is somewhat confusing to read (partly because he goes on about a now-disproven theory of the reason for swarms.) The practical info you want is towards the back.

    The double screen board does make a new colony, with a new queen. But so does splitting using a nuc box.

    It also reliably stops a swarm that already has charged queen cells from progressing any farther.

    You don't need an extra deep to complete the manipulation on the first day, though it would be helpful to have one.

    One alternative would be to use two mediums, stacked, in place of a deep as the box in the lower section in order to get started tomorrow. Yes, they may drawn some comb below the frames, but they can't fill it with brood since they have no laying queen, so you can just scrape it off. And they may not even do that, if you give them supers to stow their nectar. My own stacks have a 2" high shim placed below the lowest box all the time and I only rarely get little nubbins of comb drawn hanging down into this void. Using two stacked mediums will make this possible to do tomorrow at the slight cost of extra work later to transfer the frames when you can get a deep to replace them. (I would do the transfer on whatever day you move the queen back down.)

    How are you fixed for drawn comb? You'll need whatever size your boxes are, minus two for the lower box. You can use a couple of frames of foundation. And you'll need two extras to fill out the upper section (foundation OK.)


    Either way you are going to need two more deeps in short order, but maybe not tomorrow.

    The advantage of this particular manipulation i.e. Snelgrove II- Modified, in the document - is that you don't have to find the queen to get it started. You just have to make sure she's NOT on one of the two frames of eggs and young brood that are placed in the lower box with the otherwise empty frames. Later on you will need to find her, but by then, the population upstairs will be much smaller.

    You do, without fail, have to accomplish the second step no later than day 11. But I find it's much easier to find the queens, then, because there will be far fewer bees in the upper section with her. It shouldn;t be a huge deal to do.

    To make the door-changing step on day 4/5 easier to do on time, prepare for it a few days ahead of time by loosening the needed doors. The bees tend to propolize them, which if you are pressed for time on the right day can turn an easy thing into a struggle. But if they are loosened beforehand, on the right day it takes only a few seconds to do. A flat screwdriver is useful for this - a hive tool's blade is too wide.

    If you really don't want an additional colony, or queen you can interrupt that in the usual way by culling the queen and then recombining the parts. (If you do that, I would plan on having, at least temporarily, a three-deep brood box after the combine until your flow slows down later in the season, in order to make it less likely that the recombined parts would think themselves too crowded and get swarmy, again.) But you might want to mature the queen in the upper section for the same reason you might want to get one going in a nuc - flexibility and for use as a resource hive.

    This would use the double screen board on the colony with the hard-to-find queen and preserve your nuc boxes for the next colony that gets itchy feet.

    You should add queen-marking to your essential skills to-do list. It's very easy to learn to do, and then you can find your queens whenever you like. I use a non-toxic latex paint, rather than the more-commonly used solvent-based model airplane paint (which I wouldn't want on my own skin, never mind a smaller body-mass queen.) The paint I use doesn't last as long as model airplane paint, but I can usually see that it's wearing off in time to catch her and give her another little 'tat. Which keeps my queen-marking skills current, too. I find using a push-in queen marking ring is the easiest way to corral her, with no need to handle her.

    Nancy

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    The double screen board does make a new colony, with a new queen. But so does splitting using a nuc box.
    Actually the double screen board may make a new colony, but doesn't have to.

    When you normally would move the queen from the top section to the bottom section, you could just confirm that neither section has queen cells and recombine then. The odds are they'll probably swarm though. So instead, you can move the queen down and wait 7 days. The top section will now have emergency queen cells. Destroy those and combine the two colonies. Usually works, but sometimes about two weeks later the bees may want to swarm again.

    Last option, you go through the entire process, have two queens (one on top and one on bottom), and then right before the honey flow starts you combine the colonies into one. You can either find one queen and pinch her while doing a newspaper method, pull one queen out (and have a spare), or just combine them and let the bees work out their differences (one queen will survive).

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    To make the door-changing step on day 4/5 easier to do on time, prepare for it a few days ahead of time by loosening the needed doors.
    It's a whole lot easier if you just smear Vaseline on all of the doors before you put the snelgrove board on. Months later you can still move the doors with your finger. No propolis, no fuss.

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    @SpecialKayme,


    When you normally would move the queen from the top section to the bottom section, you could just confirm that neither section has queen cells and recombine then. The odds are they'll probably swarm though.
    That has never been my experience. If you follow the instructions in the cited Shaw paper and give the lower section two frames with the eggs/larvae of the correct queen rearing age, they will make queen cells. This is basic bee biology.

    And if you move the queen out of the top on schedule, to the bottom box and swap the two frames with the queen cells out of the bottom box and into the top one at the same time, you will prevent her from swarming, again, be cause she is once more without brood. This particular manipulation, done on time and exactly as described, separates the queen, the developing queen cells, and the bees necessary to make up a swarm, twice.

    This is an improvement from the method described by Snelgrove himself.

    But its success relies completely on following the instructions to the letter. Since I regard it as a kind of emergency anti-swarm Hail Mary, I make an effort to completely stifle my own natural tendency to wing it and things just sorta like it's described. This is your last shot, make it count.

    The are other ways that use double screen boards, some described in Snelgrove's book. They are much iffier if you already have charged cells, but they work really well for making splits in the absence of any queen larvae already swimming in royal jelly. Perhaps you have used one of those methods and not had much success with it in stopping a swarms?

    Try this one, next time.

    Nancy

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    That has never been my experience. If you follow the instructions in the cited Shaw paper and give the lower section two frames with the eggs/larvae of the correct queen rearing age, they will make queen cells. This is basic bee biology.

    And if you move the queen out of the top on schedule, to the bottom box and swap the two frames with the queen cells out of the bottom box and into the top one at the same time, you will prevent her from swarming, again, be cause she is once more without brood. This particular manipulation, done on time and exactly as described, separates the queen, the developing queen cells, and the bees necessary to make up a swarm, twice.
    You didn't understand what I was saying.

    If you give the bottom box one frame of older larvae, and put the queen in the top box with the remaining larvae and queen cells, the top box will (usually) destroy most of the queen cells. The bottom box will not have larvae of appropriate age to make a queen cell. From there, at their first manipulation, you move the frame the queen was on, with attending bees and brood, and move her to the bottom box, the bees on the bottom (of which they had no queen and no queen cells) will be elated to accept the queen. The bees on the top box have larvae of appropriate age, panic, and construct emergency queen cells. On your next manipulation, if you go to the top box and destroy all queen cells, the top box is in panic mode for a queen and is now hopelessly queenless. As a result, they've abandoned swarming. The bottom box likewise had no brood, so it too has abandoned swarming. With no queen cells in either box, you can combine them with no issues and have one monster colony.

    When you do this, the bees more often than not (depending on the time of year) in two to three weeks will pick up where they left off and begin swarming attempts again (unless you Demaree'd the brood when you combined).

    That system has nothing to do with allowing either part to raise their own queen. But does allow you to have one colony instead of two.

    A very serious flaw to the screen board system, or the Snelgrove system, if you want to separate them into two, is that it relies on e-queens. Read up on the papers done by Dr. Tarpy at NCSU. E-queens are by definition reared from the wrong aged larvae, are morphologically inferior, and hold a high instance of failure and supersedure.

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    @Specialkayme,

    You are not accurately describing the process which I am suggesting for ClareKate. I am not surprised that what you describe gets the results you are predicting. But this is different.

    I have read some of Tarpy's work on e-cells, and I am not sure I buy it entirely. I trust the bees; if given a full range of resources, both in terms of egg and larval resources and sufficient bees to care for the queen cells and a surfeit of nutritional resources already in the division, then I think you get pretty nice queens. I've had some of mine for three years, already, and they are laying satisfactorily so far this spring, though I suspect this will be their last one. And if they do get a queen they don't like, then they can make their own, from scratch in a supercedure. I don't get in their way. (Even if I am mourning the old queen.)

    And from a technical stand point an emergency queen cell raised during the use of Snelgrove board (with all the resources mentioned above) would have the same chance of being a good queen as an emergency cell raised by a split (given the same set of resources.)

    I think the bees are likely to make excellent choices as to which larvae to raise as a queen, assuming they have their choice of age-appropriate resources. I would not describe the visible demeanor of my bees when I do this in any way as a "panic". In fact one of the main reasons I like the S/B is the calmness of the bees after the split compared to a split that involves moving some into a different box right away.

    Nancy

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    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    You are not accurately describing the process which I am suggesting for ClareKate. I am not surprised that what you describe gets the results you are predicting. But this is different.
    OMG Nancy. I'm not talking about the same thing as you. Please read what I'm writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    I trust the bees; if given a full range of resources, both in terms of egg and larval resources and sufficient bees to care for the queen cells and a surfeit of nutritional resources already in the division, then I think you get pretty nice queens.
    And yet the ovary development, as proven through dissections, shows otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    And from a technical stand point an emergency queen cell raised during the use of Snelgrove board (with all the resources mentioned above) would have the same chance of being a good queen as an emergency cell raised by a split (given the same set of resources.)
    No. It doesn't.

    When an emergency situation arises the bees panic and choose a wide range of larvae to turn into queens. Some are 3 days old, some are 4 days old, some are 5 days old, and a few are older. 5 days old and older have already started the process of developing into workers, but now their diet is altered and they are forced to switch to becoming queens. The older the larvae you select, the more likely you'll get a queen that holds more worker characteristics, which means fewer ovaries, lesser developed QMP, and overall a worse queen.

    But if select a 3 day old larvae, a 4 day old larvae, and a 5 day old larvae, and convert all into queens, which one gets hatches first? The 5 day old larvae. The first one that hatches kills the rest.

    By definition, you get the oldest larvae every time. By definition, you get the worse queen available.

    Which makes sense from the bees perspective, and from a biological survival standpoint. They need a queen and they need one now. The shortest time period possible the better. The queen that they get doesn't have to have fully laying capability, full QMP production. They just need a queen. If it's a bad queen, they can always superseed them later.

    But then all of that is outlined in Tarpy's work.

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    I think the bees are likely to make excellent choices as to which larvae to raise as a queen, assuming they have their choice of age-appropriate resources.
    And yet science says otherwise.

    I always find it so interesting how people dismiss scientific peer reviewed evidence, backed by extensive empirical evidence, replicated several times, based on their "feelings" and "beliefs."

    But to each their own.
    Last edited by Specialkayme; 05-08-2018 at 05:30 PM.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Johnstown, OH
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Okay, I’m still at work but have been reading some posts through the day, looking over “The Many Uses of a Snelgrove Board,” and trying to wrap my head around it all – whew! It is complicated but does make so much sense, minus a few details I need to clarify.

    A few other questions though. I do NOT have extra drawn deep comb. I have a total of 6 deeps all with drawn comb BUT they are all occupied by my three hives. Having never planned to have more than 2, three at most, hives I am woefully unprepared in the area of deep boxes and drawn deep comb (although I do have lots of deep frames and foundation on hand). Nancy, what a genius idea to stack two mediums to house deep frames! I just had never thought of that as an option until I can get more deep boxes! I can take a few frames of stores or empty-ish frames without brood to put in my bottom box so that is not the 2 (queenless) brood frames with just plain foundation, but I don’t have much else to put in. That considered, is doing the Snelgrove II modified method still wise without a full deep of mostly drawn frame to start with on the bottom?

    The copy of the article I have refers to “figures” but I don’t see any. I have searched a few times and either need a subscription or it doesn’t include the full article with the modified version for when you can’t locate the queen. I am a little confused with which ways the doors are open during each part of the manipulation. Also confused when they refer to boxes as parent box (assuming the top box with the brood and the queen) and artificial swarm (bottom box). Is that right?

    For the initial setup, I have no queen in the bottom with two frames of brood, entrance to the bottom is pointing to the front (original direction) to encourage returning forager bees to come in here – yes? So I would just keep it on the hive stand with the regular bottom entrance open? And at the top with the screen board, it is closed initially to let them use the regular bottom board entrance and then at 4-5 days I can open up the screen board entrance facing the front to encourage even more bees to come into the bottom box? This bottom set up would also have the super I currently have on this hive, separated with a queen excluder, under the screen.

    And the top has the queen and brood and the only entrance to this box is via the screen board, which the entrance opens to the back to discourage foragers from returning to the original queen’s box? In this top box with the queen, do I scrape off all the queen cells? Or just if there is a capped one? And no changes are done here in the initial period? And no super on this half of the screened board because the whole point is to have no/few foragers.

    I would really need to wrap my head around the changes made at the 4-5 and then 7-10 day mark closer to the time, so right now just need to make sure I know what I would do for tomorrow.

    I agree that the splits with the nucs are a tempting option with the consideration that I would just have to, have to find the queen to put in the nuc (which for some crazy reason I struggle with with this particular hive!). I think the screened board method is appealing to prevent secondary swarms altogether. Really, right now I’ve had the longest day at work (I’m a pediatric chemo RN, so not exactly the most stress-free profession) and my brain is mush. I’m trying hard to process it all and feeling a bit indecisive about whether the screened board method will work well with what I have on hand (substituting mediums for a deep, short on drawn comb) and with whether I should go for the simpler nuc method (with the risk of struggling to find the queen) or the more complicated screened method (with the added benefits of preventing secondary swarms as well as imminent swarms).

    Please let me know any feedback about my concerns and clarify if you have time. Thank you again for all your help with this Nancy and Specialkayme!!!

    Clare

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,231

    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    Clare
    To simplify. Just set the whole hive off to the side and put what ever boxes you are going to use on the old bottom board where the hive was. Look through the rest of the hive and find two brood frames with larva young enough for the bees to make queen cells with. Shake/brush those two frames so that they have no bees on them. Put them on the new box that is now on the bottom board. Fill the rest of that box with foundation or comb. Put the snelgrove board on top of the box on the bottom board and set the hive (after you destroy all capped queen cells in it) that you moved on top of it all.

    The queen will be in the hive you put on top if the hive has not already swarmed. If it has swarmed, the bees will make another queen cell or you can use the one the bottom makes and re combine later. In 7/8 days, go back in and move the two brood frames with queen cells up and find the queen and move her down. It should be easier to find the queen for that move due to there being lots less bees in the top then before you split. All the old bees will be on the bottom on their own cause as they leave the hive, that is where they will come back to and is why you don't need to put any bees down with the brood frames you put there. It really does not matter if you do any door minipulations on the double screen board. You can just open one on the side (only the top door) or back but probly not the front. It the top still makes queen cells or finnishes capping the ones that you did not destroy because they were not capped yet, you will know your hive had already swarmed. If you find eggs in eight days, you know she is there and you need to find her.

    So if you put the box and two brood frames free of bees on the bottom board and a double screen board and then the hive, you will have eight easy days to figure out the rest of the stuff.

    That is the first step to save your bees from the trees. The rest will come and you have time to plan for or ask more questions.

    I hope this helps more then confusess and I am not as experianced or as good a bee keeper or communicator as nancy is.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Johnstown, OH
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: Hive prepping to swarm - please tell me if my plan sounds solid!

    gww, that definitely makes the first steps seem less daunting and much more straightforward! Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    You should add queen-marking to your essential skills to-do list. It's very easy to learn to do, and then you can find your queens whenever you like. I use a non-toxic latex paint, rather than the more-commonly used solvent-based model airplane paint (which I wouldn't want on my own skin, never mind a smaller body-mass queen.) The paint I use doesn't last as long as model airplane paint, but I can usually see that it's wearing off in time to catch her and give her another little 'tat. Which keeps my queen-marking skills current, too. I find using a push-in queen marking ring is the easiest way to corral her, with no need to handle her.
    Nancy, I had an afterthought question. Can you tell me exactly the paint you use, like possibly the brand and/or picture? And do you have it in a pen form, or you paint it on with a little brush or something? I actually had a very bright blue marked queen towards the end of my first year and into my second (when I, somewhat eventfully, replaced her with some fancy genes purchased queens). I used one of those foam push up queen marking gadgets and a marking pen from Mann Lake. Last year I tried to mark a queen and she was super feisty and fought and I felt like I was squishing her, so I never tried again. The purchased queen was marked white (for 2017), which didn’t stand out and had already worn off by this spring. I would definitely be thrilled to have marked queens again (bright colors for my use, not necessarily the colors coordinating with the year since I’m not selling queens)!

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