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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 24 frame top bar hive with window on the side. Last week we had pretty good weather so I opened the window to look inside and it had a watermelon size ball of cluster. To prevent them from swarming in the spring I decided to put 8mm spacers for them to have enough room. Now it seems like there is a lot of space and today when I looked I saw 2 balls of cluster. It seems like they seperated. Is that okay, or is that normal? What does it mean?
 

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You really don't want to mess with the cluster, especially in the dead of Winter like it is for us Northern folks. I wouldn't go in and bother them again, but in the future I would avoid manipulating them in any way if possible until the Spring comes around...

Good luck!

Matt
 

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It could mean many different things. It's not normal in any way! The worst case scenario is you have somehow created a barrier in the stores the bees will not cross. Bees will not cross empty comb to get to honey just inches away they will stay in place and starve to death. I would like to tell you the cluster will reform by itself but I just don't know take a peak through the window and check! Get back to us!

Matt is right once the cluster is set the colony should not be disturbed!
 

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>I decided to put 8mm spacers for them to have enough room.

You mean you spaced the frames out 8mm more than they were when the bees built them? I think that's a very bad idea. Narrower spaces are easier for them to heat and maintain.

> Now it seems like there is a lot of space and today when I looked I saw 2 balls of cluster. It seems like they seperated. Is that okay, or is that normal?

No. It's not normal, but it does happen sometimes.

> What does it mean?

They are confused. Hopefully they two clusters will find one another again. Next time leave out the spacers:

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesframewidth.htm
 

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If I understand this correctly, For some reason you felt a need to space the bars further apart which in turn created a greater distance between each comb face. Once this was done I would suspect that the bees became quite confused with the suddenly new and inaccurate bee space. The bee space means everything to these little girls. This is one area that I am quite solid on in my beliefs. I do not think that bars should be moved from one part of the hive to another as the comb faces will not match and the bee space will be all out of kilter. But that's for a different post. Back to your problem. Bee space is so important to me that I never move comb from one place to another and I never put a bar back in the same place in reverse from how it came out of the hive. Now, I may get some strong feed back on this but if this hive were in my yard I would very gently remove whatever spacers that were added and push the bars back together and close the hive up to wait for spring.
 

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I would very gently remove whatever spacers that were added and push the bars back together and close the hive up to wait for spring.
Best to just leave the spacers until next year. The reason is the spacers were placed in the spring. I would imagine the honey dome above the cluster is pretty well packed with the spacers being part of the whole dome. If you try to take the spacers out I don't think you will be able to push the bars together without causing a mess as the storage cells will have been extended out past the bars.
 

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I must have misunderstood the post then. I understood the post to say that the spacers were added just in the last couple of weeks to prevent swarming THIS COMING spring. Very sorry for the misunderstanding.
I assummed they where placed in the spring. Looking at the post again, it does read as you thought.
Maybe ivashka could confirm what was meant?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am sorry all, I didn't realize my posting was going to get confused. I did put spacers in just a couple of weeks ago to prevent swarming in the spring. Thank you for ALL of your replys. I will go ahead and remove spacers when the weather gets warmer.
 

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How would adding spacers now prevent swarming in spring? 8mm is almost 1/3 of an inch or a bee space. Sounds like the No Swarm Honey Master Frames of the '70s.
 
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