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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is a larger than fist-sized cluster congregated under the screened bottom board. The mite board insert has been removed. What could be going on there? I didn't see anything awry on the bottom board last week when I did a hive inspection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update: I got out to my side yard at lunch. I smoked them a lot underneath and scraped off the comb they had built. I put the mite board back in and sealed the slot with tape. The comb had some nectar in it. I will fully inspect later today.
 

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Has the big hive swarmed? How is the population in the big hive? Do you see any capped queen cells?
I doubt if it is a primary swarm but it may be a virgin swarm.
 

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I don't know why you leave out the inspection board put a small layer of oil on the board and leave it in. Some bees coming home are heavy and miss the landing and go under the hive with the inspection board missing they think they can go right up into the hive then they are confused it smells like the hive but they can't get in guess I'll make some comb right here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am gathering I made a mistake in removing it in the first place. That said, I am learning and trying to recover from the error.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The population was high last week, but I did not see capped queen cells. I believe I should be splitting soon. Should I add a third deep until I split? I wanted to split using a survivor stock queen when the local store gets them in from Old Sol in Oregon. My timing may not work with the bees timing.
 

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One of the reasons I gave up on SBB's was the fact that over the years I have had many hives supercede and the new queen returns from her mating flights and ends up under the screen, Over time the hive dwindles and becomes broodless and when you get to the bottom you find where they have attempted to build comb and raise brood, by then it is too late and the hive is done, So they will not build comb under thr screen unless there was a young queen there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I haven't seen one before live, but I am pretty sure the hive just swarmed. Bees are pouring all over the entrance and thousands in the air. Is there anything to be done now besides try top track them?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Track them and the when they settle, try to shake them into a box. Not much else can be done. I have seen four of my swarms. Three landed where I could get them with a ladder, one did not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Now they have settled a bit, heavily bearding on the front and side of the hive more than I ever have seen. I could not see the bees moving en masse anywhere, just so many bees flying around and high. It almost looked like the world's biggest orienting flights. Is there a chance it was not a swarm?
 

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It may be a false swarm. You need to split before they really swarm. Also, pick the 2 best looking queen cells on the same frame and cull the rest to prevent virgin swarms.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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When the bees do their orientation flights, they tend to stay right in front of the hive and do not get all that high. It looks more like robbing than a swarm. If the bees were flying up around 20' high and going around in a big circle, that is swarming. If they landed back on the hive, it was "false swarm" like eric said. Often means the queen was not with them. You must split out the queen and a lot of the bees if you want to hang on to them. Then do as eric suggested and cull all but two cells. This is the kind of urgent need that you call out sick to work so you can handle it first thing in the morning.
 

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This was a false swarm I had the other day. The swarm slowly went back into the hive. I got into the hive the next day and found some capped queen cells. Unfortunately, I could not find the queen to split the hive but fortunately I have not seen the hive swarm again. Probably because I damaged some of the capped cells which may have put them off. I decided it would be easier to collect the swarm than it would be to find the queen.
False Swarm.jpg
 

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One of the reasons I gave up on SBB's was the fact that over the years I have had many hives supercede and the new queen returns from her mating flights and ends up under the screen, Over time the hive dwindles and becomes broodless and when you get to the bottom you find where they have attempted to build comb and raise brood, by then it is too late and the hive is done, So they will not build comb under thr screen unless there was a young queen there.
This is one reason why I quit using them as well. Had queens mating on days with cold nights. Found queens and clumps of bees dead from cold on the pallet under my hives. Some were still hanging on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
There were at least six fully formed queen cells. We found the queen, so they had not yet swarmed. We split the hive. My bee club mentor said had we not got to them when we did, they would likely have swarmed today. The only thing I was not expecting is that he wanted to keep the original queen in the same hive and put the split with two queen cells in the new location. He said he did that since the original hive was so strong, acknowledging there are a couples schools of thought on that. That goes against what I have learned about splits in my beekeeping certification classes. Are there any opinions on how the split was done?
 

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If the swarming instinct has passed it can be a honey producing colony but most of the time the queen should go with a shook swarm for that instinct to pass. It can work both ways,make the shook swarm if they start making queen cells again .
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Yep, to curb the swarming instinct, queen should go with the split. Your guy is thinking about keeping the hive strong for honey. May work out, may not. Original queen could still swarm and leave the colony hopelessly queenless if she has stopped laying already.
 
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