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My two hives have swarmed 4 times in the last 2 months, two of those likely from the same hive within the last week.
I have tried to be thorough about destroying queen cells. In any case they are trying to get out of here.
Temps have been between 20C to 30C or 70F and 85F.
I pulled out the bottom trays have removed entrance reducers for air circulation. There is plenty of space for them, each having two brood boxes that are 65% full, and each also having an excluder then small super on top. They are barely into the supers yet.
Should I be cracking the covers a bit for ventilation? I have been mixing the empty frames with the full frames, and had two swarms right after.
I am not noticing the bees bringing any pollen back lately. If I feed them are they more likely to stay? I'm new to this but have been reading up, but there still must be something I am missing.
Thanks again for any help.
 

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Are these new packages?
If so, they shouldn't really swarm.
Haven't got a solution for you, I'm a newbie, first year as well!
You can put a screen vent on the cover, I just have done on mine today, the bees are hot and allot of them outside.
Konrad
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They were both good sized nucs from this year. What is a screen vent? Is it as basic as it sounds?
Antero that's a great page. That's the first I've seen of it and there is heaps of info on all aspects.
Thanks.
 

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I've had the same problem...4 swarms from one or two of my 3 package hives...now I have 5 colonies. But probably my fault. They have three deep brood boxes packed and are on their second honey supers and are bearding 3 thick on the front of the boxes and under the cover. Vent holes in each deep and top propped up a bit. Italian bees from CA. This isn't normal for packages right? They are in Beemax polystyrene if that is of interest.
 

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>I have tried to be thorough about destroying queen cells. In any case they are trying to get out of here.

My experience is this never stops them from swarming and often results in queenless hives.

>I pulled out the bottom trays have removed entrance reducers for air circulation. There is plenty of space for them, each having two brood boxes that are 65% full, and each also having an excluder then small super on top.

I never count what's in the supers as room, although I like to have room there. The critical issue is room in the mdidle of the brood nest for the queen to lay. Make sure you have some empty space in the middle of the brood nest. Put an empty frame or two in there.

>Should I be cracking the covers a bit for ventilation?

If they are bearding on the outside, I would.

>I have been mixing the empty frames with the full frames, and had two swarms right after.

Once they make up their mind to swarm not much will stop them. Once I see queen cells I do a split.

>I am not noticing the bees bringing any pollen back lately. If I feed them are they more likely to stay?

If you feed them they are more likely to clog up the brood nest with syrup and then swarm.

>I'm new to this but have been reading up, but there still must be something I am missing.

I think the first thing you need to get a grasp of is that they need room in the brood nest. Not room in the hive. If the brood nest is clogged with honey during swarm season they almost always swarm.

The second is that if you see queen cells they ARE going to swarm. Probably nothing you do wills top them, short of doing the swarm for them by doing a split. Even that sometimes isn't enough, but it usually means LESS of them will swarm.

The time to prevent swarming is about a month before they actually swarm. Once they are trying to swarm about all you can really do is try to salvage the situation.
 

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>>What is a screen vent? Is it as basic as it sounds?

You can cut a hole into the cover, rectangle or round, and staple a metal window screen to it. I also propped up the hive cover.
In my case, the hole is round and put a screen on a metal frame, [movable] so I can utilize the hole for pail feeding in fall.
Konrad
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Some great info here, thanks.
Am I getting this right- if I remove or leave swarm cells it makes no difference, they'll still swarm the same- it's all about keeping your bees from making the cells? My book says otherwise, but my removing the cells has not stopped the swarms.
I removed 6-8 from one frequent swarmer hive this morning, I guess I should have left them. Maybe they just want a better queen.
 

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>Am I getting this right- if I remove or leave swarm cells it makes no difference, they'll still swarm the same-

Sometimes it postpones swarming to destroy cells IF you catch it before the cells are capped and IF they don't decide to swarm anyway. If you destroy them AFTER they are capped they probably already swarmed and if they didn't they will probably swarm in the next day or two and leave the hive queenless. Basically to catch them before they are capped and to keep any from getting capped means you have to go through (and not miss any) and destory them every four days.

> it's all about keeping your bees from making the cells?

It's about keeping them from wanting to swarm.

> My book says otherwise

Yes the books say to destroy them. A few beekeepers I know do this. I have never found it to be effective.

> but my removing the cells has not stopped the swarms.

EXACTLY!

>I removed 6-8 from one frequent swarmer hive this morning, I guess I should have left them.

I'd just split them. They WILL swarm if theya re building a lot of swarm cells. Just beat them to the punch.

>Maybe they just want a better queen.

If the cells are up in the middle of the frames, maybe. If the cells are hanging from the bottoms, they are probably trying to swarm.
 

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Excessive swarming is often partially atributed to genetics. By the time swarm cells appear the hive is already well into the process. You can deter swarming if all queen cells are destroyed before they are capped. I think this is all but impossible to accomplish. I agree with Michael, once you see the cells its too late, split and make the best of the situation. I do consider the space in honey supers, especially if you have foundation as the bees will move honey from the croweded brood nest into the supers and the foundation will draw young bees up to make the wax which helps with congetsion. Adding a frame of foundation in the middle of the brood chamber also helps. Whatever else swarming is the method for propagation of the species and we won't stop it despite our efforts. Go with the bees and you'll make out in the end. Sometimes requeeing with a well bred young queen will help, after the fact of course.
 
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