Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Hamilton TN USA
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    Default Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    My first hive that I bought as a package last year swarmed. I was checking hives and I found them right in front of the hive in the hole of a cinder block. I looked in the hive and found alot of swarm cells. Probably 15 or more. I shook the swarm into a new hive and brought to a new location. I stole 2 frames of honey from the old hive and put in the the new swarm hive. Should I let the old hive do it's thing as far as requeening or should I remove some of the queen cells? I'm afraid that they are going to swarm several times with all those cells. Any help is appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    Just make sure the brood nest is opened up so they won't afterswarm. I would leave the cells. If you want more queens, I would take a couple of the frames with queen cells out and put them with some honey and make up some mating nucs.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Hamilton TN USA
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    38

    Default Re: Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    Thanks Michael. I moved an empty drawn out frame to the middle of the brood nest. I also added two frames of undrawn foundation to either side. I had read that I should remove all the queen cells except for 2 on the same frame? Should I do that or just let it ride?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    Default Re: Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    Life rule #1: The more you mess with something the more you mess it up.

    At this point I think the only thing I would do is try and make up a nuc and get three colonies out of it. If you have a nuc move one of the frames with cells into it along with a frame of brood that has no cells, honey, pollen, empty, and shake in some more bees (do not shake any frame with a cell you want to keep). If you don't have a nuc, get one for next time this opportunity happens. Then stay out for three weeks.
    Zone 6B

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Bunker Hill, IL
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    891

    Default Re: Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    Are you on plastic or wax foundation?

    Plastic foundation you wont be able to cut the queen cells out for splits. So you'll need to use a press in cage to isolate the queens to keep them from killing each other when they hatch.

    Id make splits. As many as your comfortable making with the resources you have available.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    Default Re: Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    As MB says, don’t leave too many cells behind. Even if they’re not in a mood to cast after swarms the emerging virgins will get fighting and one or two will flee the hive and take bees with them. I wouldn’t leave any more than two or three after making the splits.
    Rod

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
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    Default Re: Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    use a press in cage to isolate the queens
    I've got some of these, but I've never used them. Probably because I didn't have enough to cover enough cells to be worth the effort, it was just simpler to move a frame for make a cut out.
    Last edited by JConnolly; 04-17-2019 at 12:07 PM.
    Zone 6B

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL
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    205

    Default Re: Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    Do you want honey or more colonies ?

    If the former, good advice already.

    If the latter, divide it up as many times as possible with at least two frames of brood with at least two queen cells each into nuc's, cross your fingers, get ready to feed them and monitor them.

    With luck (and a double deep to start off with) you might be able to make 4-5 out of it.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    I don't worry about leaving cells behind, but I like to use them if I need queens. Mostly you want to make sure you have opened things up so they are not crowded so they won't decide to afterswarm.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Hamilton TN USA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    Thanks for all the advice. You guys are a wealth of information and I'm having a blast trying to learn. I ended up taking 2 frames with stores and putting them in the new hive with the swarm. I replaced them with the only thing I had which was plastic foundation that I had painted pretty heavy with beeswax. I put those frames beside the capped brood. I'm really wanting a honey harvest of some sort this year and hoping for the best. Hopefully the virgin queen will do her thing and get to laying eggs soon.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    1,441

    Default Re: Well they swarmed. What to do with swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by rtaylor View Post
    I ended up taking 2 frames with stores and putting them in the new hive with the swarm. I replaced them with the only thing I had which was plastic foundation that I had painted pretty heavy with beeswax. I'm really wanting a honey harvest of some sort this year and hoping for the best. Hopefully the virgin queen will do her thing and get to laying eggs soon.
    Did you add any additional boxes and frames to the swarmed hive?
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

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