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Discussion Starter #1
I watched one of my hives swarm on Father's day.

Started with two packages of bees this spring. The weather was good, then bad, and my brood chamber got plugged before I caught it. On Wednesday last week I saw about 15 queen cells, two of which were capped. I went back Sunday to try the "shook" method of artificial swarming. When I got there they were just starting to swarm out.

Lucky for me, the bees lit on a near-by low hanging branch. I was able to capture the swarm and put it into a two box hive with 8 frames of bare foundation in the bottom box. (I used the top super as a funnel to help catch the bees.).

So now I have three hives, and I'm wondering the best course of action now. Should I recombine the daughter hive with its parent, or keep three hives going? And how would I do the recombine, if I decide to?

Phil in Minnesota
 

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Well it depends if you want two hives or three hives. To be honest I would probably break the hive that swarmed down into two or three hives, especially with the amount of queen cells you said were in there. That hive will probably swarm again if it hasn't already.
 

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reduce the caught swarm box to one box till they have 7 or 8 frames drawn, and dont forget to feed'em. be prepared to be shocked at how fast they draw wax.
good luck,mike
 

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wait a few day to a week and check to confirm you have a queen, sometimes they are missed when catchin the swarm. should be fairly easy to find her on the small sections of comb they will have drawn by then
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the advice guys. I'll reduce the hive to one box tomorrow. I didn't think about feeding them but I suppose it can't hurt since they have to draw out a lot of comb.

I had heard that a typical hive produces about 15 swarm cells, and that afterswarms are not common. Yuleluder, it sounds like you've see more than a few afterswarms. I don't think I'll be able to tell if the parent hive has swarmed twice or not, unless I actually see it.

Still don't know if I should rejoin the swarm hive with its parent (like Shook method) or have three hives. My worry is that starting this late they (the parent and child hive) won't be strong enough going into winter.
 

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Phil,
There is no need to make the decision now. Let them build for awhile. If you eventually decide to combine, you will, at least, have some extra drawn comb. If they do well, keep them as a third hive. September/October is a good time to determine which hives need combining.
 
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