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Have I not read on Beesource that first year hives will not swarm unless very overcrowded? And what is the definition of a first year hive?
 

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If you start a hive in the spring and give it enough room to grow, it should not swarm on you until the next spring. Since bees don't read books, I'm sure its happened, but it would be really weird.
 

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I've never read that here, or elsewhere. A nuc made in early spring with a spring mated queen can and will swarm. I had to split my best hive last year when i saw a number of swarm cells. ended up with two great hives, but if I wasn't checking them often enough, it could have worked out differently. I overfed syrup, which I'm sure had a lot to do with this.
 

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A first year hive could be defined as a colony started with a package of bees or a nucleus colony. If you put them in a single deep and feed them as long as they will take feed, they will get so honeybound that the queen has no place to lay and they will indeed swarm.

Two deep colonies often swarm because the novice is told by the oh so knowledgeable that "YOU NEVER get a crop the first year!" Bees need more room before they plug up or they will swarm sometimes too late to have any hope of the swarm establishing and living thru the winter.
 

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I am pretty certain one of my first year hives swarmed last summer. It was an early May package. Grew quickly...was 2 deeps and 4 dadant supers packed with bees when I went away for 2 weeks the end of July. When I returned all the dadants were full of honey but the bee population was way down and did not build back up for 6 weeks. I never saw the swarm but don't know what else would have happened. I am new to this so if someone knows please share:)
 

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We started from packages on April 19 3 years back. Was about June 20, went down to the bee yard, found a swarm in a tree. While hiving that swarm, watched another one come out of the other hive. Bees will swarm when they think conditions are good to swarm. The number of days / years in the box, doesn't enter into the equation. Ours had the first box of 10 frames pretty much all drawn out, and a second box of frames above, which they didn't hardly touch, instead they chose to swarm. If I knew then, what I know today, I probably would have managed them differently, and possibly pre-empted those sarms, but I didn't know better, just left them with a feeder on (so they would build more comb) during a relatively strong flow.

I think those that are convinced a first year colony wont swarm, have only dealt with weak colonies in the first year.
 

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Complete myth. I have seen nucs so full that once installed into a hive they swarmed the next day. I've also seen first year hives with lots of room swarm. Congestion is only a part.

My definition of a first year hive is one that has not wintered as a cohesive unit. So an over wintered nuc is not, in my book, a first year hive.

It is a colony with a queen that has successfully lived through its first winter. Brother Adam maintained those are the most productive/effective queens.

First year hives are less likely to swarm - primarily due to the strength of the queen pheromones.
 

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Yea, I had a nuc swarm last year too, despite having a new queen and ample of room. I blamed the crappy weather for it, the poor sods probably thought the sun shone brighter elsewhere. Maybe these just had an overwhelming swarming urge. Not sure, though I do know I requeened it afterwards to end that there.
 

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I had a September queen swarm last week ten minutes after I added supers to it. I did not dismantle the four medium brood chambers to look for swarm cells because "young queens do not swarm".
 

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Bees do not read the rules, l had a hive swarm last year from a new 5 frame nuc in early may. They had plenty of room, they had filled the deep and a medium and had just started drawing comb on the 2nd medium. No idea why they swarmed.
 

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I had a similar circumstance, a 5 frame nuc started in May. They occupied two deeps and started building comb in a third deep, then swarmed. Fortunately, I caught the swarm and started another hive. The original hive still gave me a medium super of honey and I left them with two deeps for winter.
 

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I had 3 swarms last year out of my nucs it was my first year managing nucs I caught 2 no real lost.
I had 10 DBL.deeps and no swarms nucs are a different game.
 

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>Have I not read on Beesource that first year hives will not swarm unless very overcrowded?

Feed them constantly and even though you added plenty of boxes, they will swarm 90% of the time...

> And what is the definition of a first year hive?

I think most people mean a package that was installed that spring.
 

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And what is the definition of a first year hive?
It would be when you buy the hive components but I don't think that is what you wanted to ask. A first year colony (queen) would be when the queen gets mated and starts her own colony regardless of the hive components. Typically a swarm. Even with the old queen because she will be replaced.
 

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my 2 hives last summer both started from spring nucs both swarmed even though they had yet to fill the 2deeps they were in and were just starting to draw out a super.
 

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I hived 2 packages last Spring on April 27th. One of them would not fill the outer two frames of the initial medium brood box...I added a 2nd medium and moved a frame from the bottom box up to try to draw them up, but they would not move up. They swarmed on June 11th...my wife caught them on the edge of the field and we started another hive....both hives grew strong and are still alive and look like they are going to make it through the winter.

As a new beekeeper, I too had read that a package will most likely not swarm it's first year. I had noticed queen cells and cut them out the first time I saw them...but they immediately built new ones...I don't think cutting them out is really going to ever convince a colony not to swarm...just makes them work harder to build more queen cells...

I built 8 D. Coates nuc boxes over the winter and if I see any swarm cells this spring, I plan to put the frames with queen cells in separate nucs along with some brood and bees to make some splits.
 

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I built 8 D. Coates nuc boxes over the winter and if I see any swarm cells this spring, I plan to put the frames with queen cells in separate nucs along with some brood and bees to make some splits.
If you know the queen is a first year queen why would you want to encourage the swarmy characteristic?
 

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I don't really want to encourage them to swarm, but based on my limited experience if they start building swarm cells, they're gonna swarm...unless you do something to change their mind. The first time I saw swarm cells, I cut them out, and within a few days, they had built more. I don't think that method works too well...plus you're killing new queens that could be used elsewhere.

What I also read is that if you see swarm cells in a hive, this is a good opportunity to remove a frame with queen cells, place it in a nuc with another frame of brood and some honey/pollen, and some extra bees and you can make colony increases.

Even without encouragement, swarming is inevitable at times. I had a package I installed last spring on April 27th, they had 7-8 frames filled in bottom hive body, I added a second, and they still swarmed on June 11th...never touched the upper hive body so congestion was not an issue.
 
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