Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Empty and capped? Not anything I've seen.
    Last year's queen doesn't cut it with regard to inhibiting the swarm impulse in my hives.
    I don’t believe I said anything regarding last years queen inhibiting swarming.
    Proverbs 16:24

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  3. #22

    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    I don’t believe I said anything regarding last years queen inhibiting swarming.
    Easy does it. I was simply pointing out that in my hives the queens need to be NEW to add any noticeable swarm inhibition. It wasn't an accusation or criticism or in any way intended as a slighting statement.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    That’s funny, because I wasn’t trying yo be rude or anything like that, just making a statement.
    Proverbs 16:24

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    And I did ask about those cells; it was suggested that it might be a supersedure since the queen was still present, and to check and see if the cells had been recapped. Unfortunately I took them off.
    Proverbs 16:24

  6. #25

    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    That’s funny, because I wasn’t trying yo be rude or anything like that, just making a statement.
    A fundamental problem with social media.....a lack of tone and body language.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    A fundamental problem with social media.....a lack of tone and body language.
    Yes yes! I forget to put emoji’s in.
    Proverbs 16:24

  8. #27
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    Default

    Ralph Buchler talks about this in his National Honey Show presentation about bee biology. He says that drones are the primary carriers of genes that get expressed and so breeding is largely about promoting or suppressing drones in colonies depending on traits they want to breed for. I think I understood that to be his point.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post

    Pretty sure you are right ARB. Particularly at the hobby level, much increase or replacement is made by collecting swarms, thereby propagating the swarmers. I'm pretty sure the bees where I am are a lot more swarmy now, than when I got started 50'ish years ago.
    Is there a little more to it? Bees are a little hotter in my few short years as well. Is a hotter bee more mite tolerant and more likely to swarm? Is more pressure just forcing a more natural bee?

    Am I drifting to the TF side?
    It is hard to design a safety net that some will not use as a hammock.

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Cutting out queen cells is a good way to end up with a hopelessly queenless hive to my mind. Far better to head off the swarming urge than to try to get them to stop once they are at it.

    I do a couple things -- Walt Wright's nectar management works fine when I can get in to do the checkerboarding in early spring. Tough here, as I'm still working and an gone from home 10 hours a day Monday through Friday. Days that are mild enough to get into the hives and move things around in late February are rather few, and the last couple years I'm at work on those days.

    I've also used Snelgrove boards to great advantage. They really do work if you follow the instructions and get the doors opened and closed on schedule. Not so well if you don't. They also work very well to do splits without losing your honey crop if you can handle the height of the hives that result and can move a full deep from shoulder height. Not a possibility for every beekeeper I'm sure.

    Keeping the brood nest open works well, but you must have drawn comb and be doing splits into nucs, not always something everyone has or wants to do. Works well if you stay at it, again, for me that's an issue since I have limited time in the bee yard during the necessary time frame. Still dark when I get home and often too cold in late March and early April -- in a normal year we start to see swarms in mid April.

    The last thing I do is reverse boxes (using two mediums and a deep for brood means putting an empty medium on top from the bottom) and putting supers on early. I usually put supers on as soon as it's warm enough to work the hives, late March here in Southern Indiana. No point in waiting, even if they don't put anything up there, all that drawn comb I finally have (at last!) makes them think they need more stores to swarm so they don't.

    I had one swarm I know of this spring -- since CoVid hit I've only been working two days a week, so I get to check more -- and they nicely landed on the side of the hive next door. Easy catch for sure. One other hive may have swarmed, but the others never had queen cells outside of the one I put a Snelgrove board on and did a split. They re-queened rather than swarming and made a lot of honey, would have made more if I'd have put more boxes on. Not a chance of that, a deep at shoulder height with a medium full of honey and brood on top was all I'm willing to do, and I don't like to separate the hives until I have brood in the split.

    In my outyard, two hives never showed any signs of swarming, but the third swarmed several times again this year. Did the same thing last year too. I will do the Snelgrove thing on that hive next year I think -- and make some splits from the more productive hives there.

    I do recommend propagating from hives with low swarm tendency. Swarms are a quick way to build up but no one needs to be selecting for high swarm tendency.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    I just posted this question to Bee-l I inspected a hive yesterday, healthy, strong, packed with bees, had eggs, open brood, and empty CAPPED swarm cells with last years queen still present. Unlimited broodnest, a deep and 3-4 mediums. No other cells were found.
    Cloverdale this is more common than we may realise but often passes undetected. Clyderoad is exactly right in so far as when queens hatch they sometimes do not detach the lid completely, and if it swings back shut the bees will sometimes propolis it shut. It looks totally like a normal cell, but it is completely empty. I have even found them with a worker bee trapped inside (back end to what would have been the opening), which would have been doubly mysterious to a starting out beekeeper.
    The reason I know this for certain is from my queen breeding days, when we would plant queen cells in mini nucs by the thousand. Later we would remove the now hatched queen cells and sometimes find one that was re sealed looked unhatched, but on inspection it would be empty and the virgin would be in the nuc. I have found the same thing in normal hives on occasion.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Is there a little more to it? Bees are a little hotter in my few short years as well. Is a hotter bee more mite tolerant and more likely to swarm? Is more pressure just forcing a more natural bee?

    Am I drifting to the TF side?
    You have correctly put your finger on the situation here Saltybee. We do not have africanised bees in my country (yet), and in fact the bees here have become less aggressive since AMM's were wiped out by varroa mites when they showed up. However the move to more swarmy has been partly genetic.

    New Zealand is a "young" country in terms of European settlement and honeybees have not been here as long as the US or many other countries. The first bees to arrive were AMM's brought by the English settlers, then later Italians were introduced and became the preferred bee due to their docile nature, high productivity, and low swarm impulse.

    Then in the year 2000 2 things happened. Varroa mites were first discovered, and Carniolan bee semen was imported. Black bees here used to be associated with aggression because the blackness came from AMM genetics, and rule of thumb was the darker the bee, the more aggressive. But then varroa mites set about eliminating AMM's, and beekeepers set about breeding from the imported Carniolan genetics, so soon a new thing was seen, a dark bee that was very docile. But a lot of beekeepers turned against the newly introduced Carniolan bees, mostly because they are so swarmy. However the cat was out of the bag so to speak, and by now, nearly all NZ bees are some degree of Italian / Carniolan hybrid.

    Anything Carniolan is more swarmy, and those swarms are collected by beekeepers and installed in hives. So, despite that many beekeeperes are actively trying to breed away from Carniolan and keep Italians, over the last 20 years since Carniolans were introduced, I have seen our bees get blacker and blacker, and swarmier and swarmier.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 05-31-2020 at 05:25 PM.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    “Pretty sure you are right ARB. Particularly at the hobby level, much increase or replacement is made by collecting swarms, thereby propagating the swarmers. I'm pretty sure the bees where I am are a lot more swarmy now, than when I got started 50'ish years ago.“

    I am wondering how you can select non- swarming genetics in a honey bee?
    The first outfit I worked for had bees with a very low swarm impulse. Back in those pre varroa days queens were good for longer, we requeened each hive every second year, unless they had superseded naturally. When we requeened we wrote the strain of the queen and the date, on the hive inner cover. Hives that did well, were docile, and were true to the strain they were supposed to be, were marked as potential breeders. But even though my boss encouraged natural supersedure in fall, any hive that attempted to swarm or was found with so much as an egg in a queen cup in spring, was automatically excluded from being a breeder.

    In other words, for many years, no hive that made any attempt to swarm had ever been bred from. We had around 4,000 hives that had been bred from many generations of bees that had never attempted to swarm. Of course we still had bees that tried to swarm, but it was only a minority that attempted it, and near zero that succeeded.

    However that was almost 50 years ago. On the death of my boss, that outfit was broken up and sold to several other beekeepers who did not maintain a vigorous no swarm policy. Speaking to the current owners of the descendents of those bees, best I can tell, those bees now swarm just as much as any other bees.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Cloverdale this is more common than we may realise but often passes undetected. Clyderoad is exactly right in so far as when queens hatch they sometimes do not detach the lid completely, and if it swings back shut the bees will sometimes propolis it shut. It looks totally like a normal cell, but it is completely empty. I have even found them with a worker bee trapped inside (back end to what would have been the opening), which would have been doubly mysterious to a starting out beekeeper.
    The reason I know this for certain is from my queen breeding days, when we would plant queen cells in mini nucs by the thousand. Later we would remove the now hatched queen cells and sometimes find one that was re sealed looked unhatched, but on inspection it would be empty and the virgin would be in the nuc. I have found the same thing in normal hives on occasion.
    Thank you for the explanation, seems I’m learning all sorts of different stuff about our honey bees this year.
    Proverbs 16:24

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    All of creation is amazing. I have been working bees since I left school but still learning, just about bees.

    In fact one of the reasons I'm still keeping bees at this late stage of life, is that other than the physical exercise, I'm sure that the constant problem solving and figuring stuff out that a beekeeper has to do, keeps the brain active, probably staves off dementia.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    I do wish that there was a guarantee of that!
    Proverbs 16:24

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    I have about 8 hives and cutting queen cells is what I do as well. For the first time I overwintered in singles and kept them in singles all the way through our dismal nectar flow. This is my first attempt at it and i will say it was more of a challenge than doubles for swarm prevention. After about 3 weeks of cutting out cells they finally gave up, except 1, and made a small amount of honey with not so great (cold and really wet) spring weather. I found that if the cell was capped it was much harder to "convince" them to hang around. That one hive I would go in as much as every 4 days and cut out cells. I will say in every case before I removed any cells, I found the queen and made sure she was in the hive. I removed cells and a shake of bees from each hive the first time I found cells. I also tried to use the open the sides of the brood nest method, but shook off the bees and would remove honey frames and add half sheets of foundation. I managed to keep them in the boxes, but it took way more work and diligence than doubles.

    Some areas I think I could improve on. I think I started the colonies to strong coming out of winter. I have to figure out the sweet spot for frames of bees and brood to control the buildup to some degree. I think I need to equalize better to keep things on a more even playing field for colony strength and not be "afraid" of taking excess bees from colonies that are too strong and making splits. I also, think in certain situations I will need to add a 2nd deep and then take it back down to a single.

    Looking forward, the next challenge and unknown is feeding. When the supers come off, so does 95% of the honey stored in the colony since they are in singles. We have a long dearth her in NC and it started early this year.

    Beekeeping is fun and challenging. You never know the pros and cons until you try something. I have again learned a lot this year. Every time I make a mistake the bees seem to bail me out. If I had 50 or even 25 colonies, I may rethink singles and if they are right for me.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    I watched a UoG YouTube video on swarm management. They overwinter in single deeps. When the fellow opened the hives in spring they were packed....I mean bees hanging out the front loaded with bees. One had absolutely no swarm cells and the other had one with an egg. Heck…mine would have been in the trees three times over already. They clearly select for bees that don’t tend to swarm. I may have to rethink my queen suppliers.
    So I read, and re-read what you wrote here. Then I look at your location, and I look at the location of the UofG. I suspect in Athens GA, the bees are in swarm mode already while at UofG they are still in the winter shed. I have watched some of the other videos from the same folks, and if you look carefully at part 1 of making up mating nucs, they are out shaking bulk bees in t-shirts and shorts, try that in my yard and you would be in the hospital rather quickly. Then watch the ones about placing those mating nucs and it starts to make more sense, they have a very controlled breeding program with some distinct advantages over most of us

    a - Mating yards on two islands away from all other bees
    b - Unlimited supply of cheap labor (students)
    c - They dont need to make a profit to survive
    d - A beekeeping program highly adapted to the specific climate issues they face in central Ontario.

    So now consider the season there. The bees will be coming out of the winter shed approximately 4th week of March, so they will start brooding then, first round of brood starting to emerge the 3rd week of April, then the second round of brood emerging by 2nd week of May. Then the big issue for swarm season start, when will they have drones available? It would be 2nd week of May at the earliest, and likely not for another couple weeks. Swarm preps therefore wouldn't be starting till mid May, and honey flow in full swing by first week of June. That's why the concept of 'single box, cut cells, give them storage space' seems to work for the setup they have, then add to it a highly targetted breeding program, it all works well.

    Look a bit farther west out to the prairies, the concept there is equally strait forward. Out of the shed in singles by the end of March. By early May seconds are going on to let them brood up into two. By mid June queens pushed down, and seconds taken off as splits, then the bees set out for honey with supers over a single plus excluder. It's a very common recipe on the prairies.

    Now contrast that to say my area. Around here, bees start brooding in the first week of February. By the 2nd week of April our bees are happily making 3rd round of brood, they fill a box to overflowing and the queen is filling drone cells. By first week of May we have boxes overflowing even in a double deep configuration, drones are out, and the bees are thinking swarm. Compared to the UofG bees, ours have had an extra two brood rounds by the time spring flows hit, and it shows in the populations, there is no way we can effectively keep them in the boxes by simply cutting cells and giving space, the larger ones will head for the trees without doing more. I did 1->3 splits this last weekend and all three components of the split ended up with 10 frames of bees.

    I think the big thing most folks miss when talking about swarm control, before you can think realistically about methods, you have to look at the season, ie, when does it start and how many rounds of brood can the bees raise between start of brooding and the start of the first major honey flow, because that will be the ultimate definer of population and the state of the colony as you approach swarm season for your area.

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Effective to simply keep cutting out swarm cells?

    Now contrast that to say my area. Around here, bees start brooding in the first week of February. By the 2nd week of April our bees are happily making 3rd round of brood, they fill a box to overflowing and the queen is filling drone cells. By first week of May we have boxes overflowing even in a double deep configuration, drones are out, and the bees are thinking swarm. Compared to the UofG bees, ours have had an extra two brood rounds by the time spring flows hit, and it shows in the populations, there is no way we can effectively keep them in the boxes by simply cutting cells and giving space, the larger ones will head for the trees without doing more. I did 1->3 splits this last weekend and all three components of the split ended up with 10 frames of bees.
    what you describe certainly reflects what I saw with my 2 over wintered hives in this my sophomore year. I did a 1 to 3 (1 was a captured swarm, April 15th)split on my strongest hive. I watched those U of G videos and could never figure out how it would work here on the Island.

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