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Colony Prepping to Swarm need Advice

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In my 3rd year of beekeeping and need some advice. My strongest colony is getting ready to swarm. Found 10 swarm cells today, most were uncapped and some were capped. The box the cells were built in was added on April 29th. I'm guessing most cells are at day 7 for nearly being capped. Though a few were fully capped. So max age could be day 14 based on when I added the box.
There were no queen cups in the hive on 4/29 during my last inspection.
My response upon finding the cells today -5/13- was to make a split. But I couldn't find the queen (there were 4 medium boxes full of bees to look through). I had been planning to make a small split from them this coming week to raise a new queen (as she's 2 years old at least). I hadn't wanted to do 50/50 because I was worried I'd weaken the colony enough that I wouldn't get honey this year.

I ended up rearranging the queen cell frames that I found into one box on the bottom with a shim. Replaced all the brood boxes accordingly and added a honey super. With the new super, I now have 4 mediums and 3 supers on this Hive.

There's the possibility that they just swarmed, but I highly doubt it because I did see new eggs in some of the frames today and the population looked the same as they looked two weeks ago.

At this point, I'm contemplating just leaving them to rear their queen that needed replacement anyway, and keep at eye on it in the off chance I see them prepping to swarm. I just really don't want to lose half my colony. Any advice on how to prevent the swarm? Much appreciated 馃檹
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If they haven鈥檛 swarmed already, the only sure way to prevent them from swarming would be to find the Queen and pull her with a few frames to make a split. I鈥檇 also recommend tearing down all but 3-4 (max) of the swarm cells. This will limit the likelihood of virgin afterswarms.
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There's the possibility that they just swarmed, but I highly doubt it because I did see new eggs in some of the frames today and the population looked the same as they looked two weeks ago.
given that new bees have been emerging everyday for the past two weeks, and even though some bees would have been lost due to aging over that time period, there should be a lot more bees now than there was two weeks ago.

unless the queen is good at hiding, or you just missed her, or both, there is a good chance they have swarmed already. eggs take 3.5 days to hatch, so they may have swarmed in the last day or two, especially if there are already fully capped swarm cells.

i don't believe it is possible to stop swarming at that point, although some advocate removing all the swarm cells, and repeating this over and again. effective swarm prevention keeps them from getting to that point in the first place.

i would consider dividing the colony into 3 equal splits, giving each a couple of the best looking swarm cells. you aren't likely to get much honey from this one, especially if they issue more than one swarm.

you could donate some capped brood and nurse bees from your other hive to the splits to strengthen them, and maybe dissuade the other hive from swarming. if you do that, the best thing to replace those brood frames with are foundationless frames. getting them into the wax making mode also seems to dampen swarm ambition.

the second year is the hardest one to prevent swarming, mostly because of the lack of enough drawn comb to practice swarm prevention.
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I do not know of any other obvious signs you would see, prior to swarm leaving.

Them making swarm cells is the main sign. Very experienced persons may notice the queen slimming down, to prepare to leave with swarm.
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i would consider dividing the colony into 3 equal splits, giving each a couple of the best looking swarm cells. you aren't likely to get much honey from this one, especially if they issue more than one swarm.
ditto this advice.
put 1 super on each split, fullest supers on the 2 take away parts emptiest on the old location. then add 1 more to the old location.
you want honey, each split can finish the single super , and the old stand can get 2.
4 supers would have been a fair year for you, from the one hive.
you still can get 4 AND have 3 new laying queens.
Once the supers are full add a second brood box in between the brood box and the super, say mid july ish.

IMO the queen has left, unless the weather was bad the last day or 2.

when you get lemons.......

GG
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Being the curious type,when I find a colony like that I try to guestimate the age of the Q cells.By observing the color and thickness of the wax,and then pulling it open,one can see the aproximare age.Older cells tend to have more(darker) travel stains
Just before emergence,the bees thin or remove most of wax from the tip of the cell.Sometimes you will come across a cell where the Q has emerged but the bees have pushed the flap closed.These are pretty good signs that the colony has already swarmed.
Sometimes you may get lucky and you will see a cell where the Q is starting to cut her way out.This is a joy to watch,is worth a picture or 2 and takes away some of the sting of losing the swarm.
Plus it gives you a virgin for a split.
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I appreciate all the advice so much! I ended up going back the next day to split the hive with the intent to give 3 or 4 queen cells to each hive. (I would have done 3
but don't have the extra equipment)

I used very little smoke and when I got down to the bottom box where I put the queen cells I noticed new eggs and sure enough, shortly after found the queen. I had half a mind to make a little nuc with the queen, but decided to keep her for now as her laying pattern is still very good, and added her to the new hive.

Hoping I still can manage some honey out of my hives this year. Everyone's advice had gold nuggets of knowledge. I'm now determined to get more comfortable in my knowledge on swarm prevention. Anyone have a book recommendation?
鈥淪warm Essentials鈥 and 鈥淚ncrease Essentials鈥 would likely be good starting points. Canyon Rim Honey Bees YouTube channel also has a few informative videos geared towards newer beekeepers
excellent! did you remove the swarm cells from the hive the laying queen is now in?
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鈥淪warm Essentials鈥 and 鈥淚ncrease Essentials鈥 would likely be good starting points. Canyon Rim Honey Bees YouTube channel also has a few informative videos geared towards newer beekeepers
Great! I'll check them out. Thank you!
excellent! did you remove the swarm cells from the hive the laying queen is now in?
Yup. Went through frame by frame to remove any cells. I'm going to be checking on both hives this weekend.
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good job rd!

there are different approaches to queen rearing. i usually don't disturb the mating 'nuc' until enough time has passed for the new queen to emerge and complete her mating flights. i do this because it's a sensitive time for the colony and the new queen, and i don't want to interfere with the process.

i would consider waiting a couple more weeks before checking the one(s) that got cells. by then the queen should be laying and there might even be some capped worker brood, which is a sure sign that the queen got mated properly.

you might want to check on the split that receiving the laying queen and she how she is faring in her new environment.

good luck with the mating(s)!
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good job rd!

there are different approaches to queen rearing. i usually don't disturb the mating 'nuc' until enough time has passed for the new queen to emerge and complete her mating flights. i do this because it's a sensitive time for the colony and the new queen, and i don't want to interfere with the process.

i would consider waiting a couple more weeks before checking the one(s) that got cells. by then the queen should be laying and there might even be some capped worker brood, which is a sure sign that the queen got mated properly.

you might want to check on the split that receiving the laying queen and she how she is faring in her new environment.

good luck with the mating(s)!
OK I'm going to take your advice on that one and wait awhile more on the hive with the QCs. Got to quell that curiosity a bit but less work in the beeyard is always welcome. Thanks!
OK I'm going to take your advice on that one and wait awhile more on the hive with the QCs. Got to quell that curiosity a bit but less work in the beeyard is always welcome. Thanks!
sounds good rd. one other tip is that if both hives sit close together and look the same from the outside, it's helpful for the queen returning from her mating flights if you can do something to make her hive look different from the other one. i.e. mark the front somehow, arrange the weights on the top a little different, turn the hive so that it faces a little different direction, ect.
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