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Hello all,
I went out to my strongest hive today looking to rob a frame of open brood to give to another (presumably queenless) hive with laying worker(s)... , there were lots of bees flying, foragers returning with pollen, etc.This is a three-medium-deep hive that seemed to over winter very well and has been booming so far this spring.

Anyhow, after looking through the top two boxes, i was unable to find any eggs or open brood. plenty of capped worker brood, and more capped drone brood that i had seen before. When I began pulling frames from the 2nd box I found 3-4 swarm cells along the bottom of at least 3 frames (i didnt' check them all). I saw one bee begin emerging from one of the swarm cells, and two of the swarm cells had already been vacated.

Not sure what to do next. is it too late to split? There seem to be a LOT of bees still in this hive, so I don't think they have already swarmed. I didn't see the queen, but i didn't spend a lot of time looking; i figured i should close up and ask for advice.

thanks in advance
 

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If you want another hive or just want to double your chances of getting a mated queen, go ahead and split the bees and cells into another hive. Your hive has already swarmed. The primary swarm leaves as the first queen cell is capped. If one half does not re-queen itself just recombine the two hives.
Dave
 

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yes they have already swarmed. if you saw one queen hatching, I would leave them alone and let them sort it out.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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They've already swarmed and probably afterswarmed, but I'd try to make a split for each queen or frame with queencells and wait for things to settle down. You'll get a lot of nice queens out of the deal and they won't afterswarm anymore...
 
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