High certainty swarm prevention in dense suburb
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    7

    Default High certainty swarm prevention in dense suburb

    Hi all.
    There are so many good advices on swarm prevention, but having multiple hives in a dense suburb neighborhood I'm looking for the most certain process to prevent swarms without damaging honey production. I'm OK with extra cost (e.g. requeening) if that guarantees no swarming. I have three hives with marked clipped queens and not interested in adding a 4th, but can accommodate a split that will be merged back.

    Any advice for this scenario?

    Thank you so much (and hope I did not ask something that was answered a million times before

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Wayne, WV, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: High certainty swarm prevention in dense suburb

    can accommodate a split that will be merged back.
    You might look into the Demaree method. Essentially it involves separating the brood from the queen, and re-uniting later.

    I don't know where you're located, but re-queening every year would be a high-priority management tool, IMO.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,810

    Default Re: High certainty swarm prevention in dense suburb

    I am in a suburban area with multiple hives in the yard. I do a lot of queen rearing and usually pull the existing queen from a hive over to a nuc in order to make the queen cells. I start doing this in mid April and in all the years I've been beekeeping, only had a hive swarm once.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,824

    Default Re: High certainty swarm prevention in dense suburb

    At the beginning of your local swarm season, locate your queen and remove her and the frame of brood she is on from the parent hive. Select another frame of brood to go with her. Place those frames in a hive body set next to your hive and fill the box with foundation if you need some drawn or brood comb. Replace the frames you removed from the parent colony.

    Put a queen excluder over the parent colony. Put a two supers on top of parent colony. Place another queen excluder on top of the supers. Place another queen excluder over supers. Place hive body with queen and two frames of brood on top of the queen excluder.

    Provide the split with a small entrance of their own. Boring a one inch hole in the front of this box right above the handhold is ideal.

    The now queenless colony on the bottom will start building emergency cells which will produce an emergency queen in 12 1/2 days. She will be mated and laying in another fifteen days weather permitting.

    The queen on top will never quit laying. In fact she will be on a mission to build a new colony. Unemployed nurse bees from below will start smelling the brood above and migrate up to provide all the nurses the queen above needs to raise her enhanced egg laying.

    In a month from moving the old queen up, the new queen should be laying eggs by the frame. It is prudent to wait until that brood is capped so you can judge her pattern and verify she is not a drone layer. Any time after that, you can destroy the old queen on top and move the brood down below the supers. The swarm season is over and you have a vigorous young free queen! If the replacement queen fizzles, you still have a vigorous laying queen and you are again past the swarm season.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    creek county oklahoma
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: High certainty swarm prevention in dense suburb

    I Like this, Vance!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,060

    Default Re: High certainty swarm prevention in dense suburb

    What Vance is describing would work very well and uses no special equipment. I accomplish very similar results by using a Snelgrove double screen division board which takes the place of the queen excluders but has a few more tricks to play on the bees.

    Do a google on "The many uses of the snelgrove board" or do a Beesource search for quite a few threads on using this method of swarm control and colony increase.Bee Equip + 002.jpgSnelgrove Board in Hive.jpg
    Frank

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: High certainty swarm prevention in dense suburb

    Thank you all. These are great ideas.
    A combination of Vance approach with Franks suggestion of snelgrove board is very appealing. I can find the queen in most attempts, so just moving her and another brood frame is easier than identifying most of the brood frames (as suggested in snelgrove methods).

    I think my only challenge will be figuring the right timing for this preemptive split. Should I wait to see capped brood? Or is having more than 2 frames of eggs/larvae enough?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,060

    Default Re: High certainty swarm prevention in dense suburb

    I wait till there is roughly 6 frames of mostly capped brood before splitting but cold nights is more a problem for me. Two underpopulated colonies grow very slowly. For certain though it is advised to act before any swarm cells appear. Some claim that the swarm decision is made well before the cells are started and it becomes more difficult to discourage once they have decided.

    Local advice on timing will be a lot more use to you than mine.
    Frank

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,281

    Default Re: High certainty swarm prevention in dense suburb

    Sterlinggold, Ruthie is in Hampton Roads, I am outside of Richmond. For us, these manuevers must be completed by the second week of April. My plan is April first this coming year because several of my hives swarmed last season mid-April. If you are DC metro, follow the same time line. If by Winchester, you have an additional week or two.

    Vance, I like the ease of your method vs flipping the doors of a Snellgrove board. Especially since it does not involve a piece of additional equipment.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    1,033

    Default

    Have a look at Opening the Sides of the Brood Nest (OSBN).

    I haven't had any swarms when using this method.

    http://daveybees.wikidot.com/openingthesides

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