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I have a really strong hive that seems like it is preparing for a swarm.
The signs:
1. I have maybe 6 queen ups and one is closed and near the top of the frame. The other queen cups are either right at the top of the frame or at the bottom. This has happened in a week.
2. The hive is full of nectar.
3. There are a lot of bees.

What I have done already:
1. A month ago I put a honey super on
2. Two weeks ago I swapped the hive bodies.
3. I have added empty frames only to have them filled up w/ nectar.
4. Today I put on another honey super.

What should I do next? Tomorrow I am getting a nuc. I can put some full frames of nectar in there and put empty frames in my strong hive. I could do a split. I have never done a split and I am nervous about it. I think I would do a walk away split by putting the frame with the closed queen cup and some other brood and nectar in an empty hive body.

Suggestions?
Thanks!
 

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I have a really strong hive that seems like it is preparing for a swarm.
The signs:
1. I have maybe 6 queen ups and one is closed and near the top of the frame. The other queen cups are either right at the top of the frame or at the bottom. This has happened in a week.
2. The hive is full of nectar.
3. There are a lot of bees.

What should I do next? Tomorrow I am getting a nuc. I can put some full frames of nectar in there and put empty frames in my strong hive. I could do a split. I have never done a split and I am nervous about it. I think I would do a walk away split by putting the frame with the closed queen cup and some other brood and nectar in an empty hive body.

Suggestions?
Thanks!
Once my bees start to backfill the broodnest, they are making swarm preps. If I find capped queen cells and a backfilled broodnest, I would do a split as soon as I could. Find your queen, put her in a new box with one frame of capped brood, one frame of honey. Couple of shakes of bees you are done. You could do this with queen cells as well, really you could make several splits. The more you split, the less honey the parent hive makes. You probably want to leave no more than two queen cells in the parent hive. More than two and they could still swarm.

There are many ways to split. To me it seems once they have made swarm preps, if you leave the old queen in the parent hive, they may still swarm.

I move my splits, many beeks do not.

HTH,

Shane
 

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How does one tell the difference between bees storing nectar to feed brood and back filling the brood nest? Seems this is a basic feature of swarming that I should learn to identify.
 

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look at it from the queens perspective - do I have anywhere to lay eggs?
if she is getting low on room because pollen and honey are being stored in the brood comb, they will start building swarm cells.
Im new at this and this is my second year but this is one of those lessons I learned the hard way last year. Seeing swarm cells today makes you think about what you saw in your hive a week ago... 2 weeks ago... so on..
 

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Generally what I see.....on a strong hive is all of the frames are filled. Not necessarily with honey, but pollen and bees too. You will see a bunch of new queen cups at the bottom of frames. A bunch, 10-15,20 or more. They are all over. Then the eggs are soon layed inside the cups because the queen has no where to lay.

Best practice is to catch it before royal jelly stage, when cups are being produced and eggs layed.
 

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If you split a hive to prevent swarming knock down the swarm cells in both halves of the split or it is likely to swarm anyway. Of course make sure that they have eggs/young open brood first. But I agree that if the hive is swarmy splitting the queen and open brood into another hive is as much of a reliable once and done way to deal with it as any. If you remove the swarm cells.
 

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I have a really strong hive that seems like it is preparing for a swarm.
The signs:
1. I have maybe 6 queen ups and one is closed and near the top of the frame. The other queen cups are either right at the top of the frame or at the bottom. This has happened in a week.
2. The hive is full of nectar.
3. There are a lot of bees.

What I have done already:
1. A month ago I put a honey super on
2. Two weeks ago I swapped the hive bodies.
3. I have added empty frames only to have them filled up w/ nectar.
4. Today I put on another honey super.

What should I do next? Tomorrow I am getting a nuc. I can put some full frames of nectar in there and put empty frames in my strong hive. I could do a split. I have never done a split and I am nervous about it. I think I would do a walk away split by putting the frame with the closed queen cup and some other brood and nectar in an empty hive body.

Suggestions?
Thanks!
Have a read: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm
 

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An empty nuc box is better. But if all you have is an empty hive, split into the empty hive. Typically, once they cap that swarm cell, a swarm is imminent.

Shane
If that swarm is imminent, will splitting out the old queen and some bees satisfy the need to swarm, or will they still swarm with a newly hatched virgin queen?
 

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If that swarm is imminent, will splitting out the old queen and some bees satisfy the need to swarm, or will they still swarm with a newly hatched virgin queen?
Typically, if you remove the old queen, that seems to satisfy the swarm urge. If you leave too many swarm cells in the parent hive, they may still swarm.

By removing the old queen, I have not had the parent hive to swarm. I have had splits throw mini swarms. In these splits, I had left too many queen cells.

HTH,

Shane
 

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If you are grabbing the queen, you're better off to put them in a regular box as opposed to a nuc. She will have the nuc full in no time flat.
Depends on amount of comb transfered over, 1 to 3 frames ill put em in a 6-frame nuc. If I pull 5 or 6 frames comb i put them in a 10 frame and checkerboard with new foundation. They will draw out the new foundation quickly this time of year, sorta like a pseudo swarm
 

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>I have a really strong hive that seems like it is preparing for a swarm.
The signs:
1. I have maybe 6 queen ups and one is closed and near the top of the frame. The other queen cups are either right at the top of the frame or at the bottom. This has happened in a week.

Queen cups mean nothing. Do they have larvae in them?

2. The hive is full of nectar.

"The hive"--like the brood nest? That may mean something...

> 3. There are a lot of bees.

As there should be.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Everyone's thoughts have been helpful! I am sure she is about to swarm so I will do the split from the parent with the old queen tomorrow. I hope the parent succeeds in raising their queen and that she mates and gets back to the hive. Seems very risky!
 

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Seems very risky!
Not really,

You mentioned you had a closed (I assumed capped) queen cell. Many hives are started with queen cells. The first time I did a split, I had a knowledgeable buddy help me. I was very nervous. After your first split, you will have a lot more confidence.

Shane
 

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If you move the queen a split is pretty safe to do. You still have the queen in a weaker hive, so if for some reason the original hive fails to get a properly mated queen you can always recombine the nuc with the original queen to the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yup, I've got a nice, long, plump capped queen cell and brood nest (and everywhere else) full of nectar. As long as they don't abscond early tomorrow, I think I'm in good shape as long as I can find the queen.
 
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