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Discussion Starter #1
I have a booming hive that made it through the winter (Chicago area).

Here's what it looked like on March 10th. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM0qpkTN7Q0

Here's the entrance today, 61 deg. out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYkU6za9Jjo

This is a second-year queen. I reversed, and am wondering about the best time to add a super to help prevent swarming.

I'm thinking that the best time to add a super is when the temps get above 60consistently during the day.

However, the hive sits on a hive scale. I could monitor to see when the hive is gaining weight and add it then.

Or, I could just add it now.

Any suggestions?

TIA,

Ken
 

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Do you have any drones? If so, then a split (artificial swarm) would be one way of preventing a swarm and also getting some decent honey. No drones? then add the super when the weather is right. You might think of replacing the two year old queen to prevent swarming. OMTCW
 

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If you rotated an empty bottom super to the top, I'd wait for the queen to get a brood area going in both supers and then pull some frames to start another hive. But then I want more hives! Temp and time are not the clue when to super but how the hive grows.
Your queen seems to have good genes, maybe read up on how to reproduce her to keep things growing strong.
 

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How many frames have brood? how many frames have capped honey? even the addition of a super may not prevent a swarm if the queen feels that she doesnt have room, can you take frames out and equalize with another hive?
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, I only have one hive. I plan on putting a swarm trap out there for if/when it swarms.

I guess I could split, but I always heard that you cut down on the honey the hive produces. I really would like to try to get through the year without splitting or having it swarm.

I wouldn't mind getting those genes out into the environment. That hive over-wintered in two deeps, and the the hive still weighs 90 lbs! I can't believe the number of bees that hive has for March (Chicago).

KEn
 

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That is a tough question for your area. But since you are on a hive scale you can use that data.

Two drawn, empty deeps should go about 15-17lbs. Therefore you actually have 70 lbs of feed in the hive. That is 7-9 frames of stores. That limits the available brood space.
So, you might want to remove 4 frames of stores and replace with drawn comb. If no drawn comb is available, leave it alone and add a super.

Please be advised that I can only imagine your climate. We hit 83F today and we've been getting swarms for a month already. Won't be offended if you ignore my advice.

Fuzzy
 

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Well, I only have one hive. I plan on putting a swarm trap out there for if/when it swarms.KEn
And you hope they move into your trap, they may not. If your undecided whether to split or catch them when they swarm..SPLIT, catching the swarm is not guaranteed they might find a nicer home than your trap.
 

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A good way to insure that you don't get much honey is to allow them to swarm. A big colony like this may throw 3 swarms this spring leaving little workforce to gather a nice crop. If you don't want more bees, then sell a nuc or two. As mentioned, a swarm trap is FAR from a sure thing. I'd take steps to split this before they do. See Bush's website for the cut down split: http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm


Well, I only have one hive. I plan on putting a swarm trap out there for if/when it swarms.

I guess I could split, but I always heard that you cut down on the honey the hive produces. I really would like to try to get through the year without splitting or having it swarm.

I wouldn't mind getting those genes out into the environment. That hive over-wintered in two deeps, and the the hive still weighs 90 lbs! I can't believe the number of bees that hive has for March (Chicago).

KEn
 

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I second AstroBee's advice. Taking three frames out of the hive and making a nuc is something that many beekeepers do every year to prevent a hive from swarming. It does not decrease by very much the amount of honey that you will harvest and the artificial swarm (nuc) prevents swarming when done at the right time. AND later you could requeen the same hive with the nuc that you made originally. Requeening every second year is very advisable. OMTCW
 

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I cannot believe that a hive in IL is any place near swarming. Have you had ANY major nectar flows yet? Are there any drones? Being on the NY/PA border latitude, my hives look very busy and look like a lot of bees flying but I know there has been very little going on in there as far as brood rearing and would never consider a split under these conditions. Packages and/or retail queen sales aren't even available until early April!
Didn't I see a weather map that showed temp in the 30s there today?
I saw 35 degrees in Dallas TX on the map!
Patience young grasshopper!;)
 

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Kind of the same thing I've been thinking about. Would hate to lose half my colony to a swarm and they are booming here in South Sac area. I inspected a hive I have in the country yesterday and saw a few queen cells with larva sitting in a large pool of royal jelly. I figured they probably already have swarming on the mind since the hive was really full of bees. I've heard that once they get this in their head, there practically no stopping them. So while inspecting, I took a couple of frames of brood. I was going to take the queen cells with me, but when I found the queen, I figured I would take her and put her here at the house and a bunch of bees instead so that the country hive would think they swarmed already. Now I might try the queen excluder on the bottom board to keep the old queen in the new hive at the new location. Any thoughts?

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I cannot believe that a hive in IL is any place near swarming. . .
Patience young grasshopper!;)
Agree. I heard the time that a hive prepares for swarming is 8 weeks prior to apple blossom. You need to take action now, so that they don't swarm later. I think Walt said this in his checkerboarding article. I want to take evasive measures. In other words, what can I do NOW to prevent swarming later?

Ken
 

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What Walt said was that if you wanted to forget swarming for the buildup season, you could perform a management manipulation prior to the swarm prep period. A wintering configuration was established to make it easy. Double deeps don't qualify. See one of the later entries in POV.

Other posts above reflect that your area should not be in the swarm prep period yet. That means you reversed too early. Using Fuzzy's arithmetic, you placed substantial stores below the brood. Not normally a problem. (if you did not separate the brood volume in the process) To resolve that question, we need to know where the brood volume was when reversed. Typically, your brood would be mostly in the top deep, and you raised a mostly empty bottom deep.

It makes a substantial difference whether we're talking about supering with drawn comb or foundation. Supering with F isn't going to make much difference, but supering with drawn comb can avert swarming. The bees do not perceive F as space needing filling, but readily see empty comb as space that needs to be filled. When reversed, the extra bees at the top of the cluster occupy that space and adding nectar there is Encouraged. In short, Add drawn comb at the top when reversed. Too late for your first reversal. Wait 2 weeks, and reverse again. Add a super of drawn comb at the same time. The excess bees at the top of the brood volume will "see" the need to fill that comb. Keep empty comb at the top and you're home free.

Will come back to this thread in the next few days to address the above preoccupation with "splitting".

Walt
 

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Discussion Starter #16
All brood was in the upper deep. There was no splitting of brood. Lower deep was mostly empty. Upper deep was packed with bees.

The super I am going to add is drawn, with honey in some frames.

Ken
 

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This eairly I dont think you have to worry about swarming in this area.
The way you discribe the hive I would reverse the boxes in a couple weeks, now I know some folks dont like to reverse but I do but thats just me. Swarm season generaly starts around here in late April to Mid May untill the end of June.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Look guys, like I said, I realize that swarming will not take place until late May in my area. I'm not worried about swarming NOW. I'm worried about swarming later.

From: Many sources: see, e.g., http://www.dictionpedia.com/en/Checkerboarding

Timing the checkerboarding interrvention is very important. The best time for the intervention is:

at the times the elm bloom
four weeks before the maples bloom
five weeks before redbuds bloom
eight weeks before the start of the apple blossom
nine weeks before the peak of the apple blossom

For those who wait until swarm season to manipulate, from my understanding, it's already too late. That's why I am doing something now.

Ken
 

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c10...:
You are absolutely correct. Reactive beekeeping doesn't cut it. If you let them get ahead of you, it's nearly impossible to catch up. Revise my input with the added info to read:

Add the super now. Separate the frames of honey with empty frames. Rationale: If they need the honey in the added super for feed, they can retrieve it in milder weather. (they can move honey at less than flying temps - say 40 to 50 F) And you can't hide overhead honey from them in the hive. Consider feeding syrup in an extended cold period.

Retrieving the honey overhead will introduce them to the empty space and they will know it's there. In your situation, field forage supporting, they will build brood into the raised empty and continue brood nest expansion into the added super. More brood, more bees, more honey. Try to not let them fill the hive to the top and revert to swarm preps.

Second thoughts about treating splitting here. Will likely add that discussion in the closeout of the CB thread.

Walt
 

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Don't weather conditions also effect the timing of swarming? For instance, Maples are just beginning to bloom where I live. However it's been a very cold early spring and most days that it has been warm ahs been rainy. The bees have only had a few real foraging days. Does this not delay swarm prep?
 
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