I have a colony that I caught as a swarm earlier this spring (early May) who are just starting on their fourteenth bar drawing comb! Good, healthy hive that's expanding rapidly, with a strong queen and a nice tight laying pattern. Going through the comb I noticed a bar full of drone cells and some drone cells on other bars. This tells me they're starting to think about swarming (?) - I also noticed some swarm cells under construction at the edges of the comb. They are still very small and I almost missed them, I only saw them because the drone cells tipped me off to look hard. They're "play cups" (acorn hat shaped) and not all the way drawn down yet.Zoom.jpg
I am leaning towards allowing the hive to "swarm" by splitting the hive by the artificial swarm method. I'm also a brand new beekeeper this year and I want to make sure this is ok, like the hive is strong enough to split and still survive winter (or should I combine them again before winter depending how it goes?), and I have some concerns about being able to find the queen.
To make matters slightly more complicated, I also have a (failing) trap out that I'm working on, which is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Due to a series of unfortunate events, this has left me with a cup or two of bees without a queen, in my other hive with a couple partial bars of comb. Not sure this is pertinent, eg if I could trap out more bees from the trap-out, could I use a bar of comb with a swarm cell on it to give them a queen to raise?
Mostly though I need help with bee math. I don't want to check the hive too regularly (like, daily) because I don't want to disturb them, but I don't want to miss the opportunity to split and have them swarm on me. How frequently should I go back and check on those swarm cells? How quickly will it go from this point to swarming?
Last edited by KateMonster; 06-30-2020 at 10:22 AM.