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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday, March 20, I inspected both of my colonies. I’m so glad that I did.

The largest colony that was already in 2 deep boxes had the top box packed with brood with the exception of honey in the outer frames. The lower box had 2 partial frames of brood but was largely underutilized.
In the top box there were 10-15 swarm cells that were not sealed. I removed all (hopefully) the queen cells then reversed the boxes. Then added a QE and a medium honey super. I’ll add another brood box next week if warranted.

Is there more I should have done? I know I could have done a split but I am not set up yet for a third colony. I do have a nuc box and could have utilized it. May use it if I see more queen cells in a week.

Any thoughts and opinions appreciated?

Colony #2 is smaller with no observed queen cells but I went ahead and reversed the boxes (a deep and medium) plus added a QE and honey super.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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You kept them from swarming for now, but probably have not curbed the instinct. Expect to find new cells in another few days. You may want to consider putting a QE between the bottom board and the first hive body until the swarm season is over or they stop building cells.
 
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If you want to equalize their numbers, you can simply switch their location, thus reducing any congestion and swarm instinct in the larger hive. The foragers will now go into the weak colony, strengthening its numbers.
 

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Just remember OP - scraping is not 100%. Sometimes I'm successful, other times, it won't be enough.

I've done it before - I thought they were all scraped, came back, something like 5 days later...gone. Obviously, I missed one.
 

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I'd equalize the colony by placing frames of brood from the strong colony into the other.

The swarm instinct can be strong. Make sure to shake all the bees off the frames as you go to check for hidden cells. It's amazing how many the girls can hide otherwise.

If a hive insists on swarming then I remove the queen with a few frames of brood and shake in bees from half the frames. Original location gets to raise a queen from their swarm cells and I get to keep the queen in a new hive. If they fail or the new queen doesn't come back from mating you can always recombine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate all of the suggestions. Thank you.
The 2 colonies are close to each other so I may try the switching location technique.
 

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I appreciate all of the suggestions. Thank you.
The 2 colonies are close to each other so I may try the switching location technique.
If your not interested in more colonies then you could just let them swarm.
If you got all the queen cells then here is what should happen. (repeat should)
They build more queens cells(Which if you had any capped ones, they are prolly going to do again anyway)
And they are prolly working on them as we speak. In 11-13 days, they should swarm.
The old queen is losing weight and laying lots of eggs for the new queen.
Half of your hive will leave with the old queen but your going to have alot of eggs and new foragers earning their wings everyday.
The strongest virgin queen will emerge first on the 14th day. She will kill the others that had inferior nutrition. She will hang out for a week then go on her mating flights.
Now a big question. Are there ferrel bees or other apiaries in your area? And are there any drones from your other hive yet? Because that would be my only concern is a successful mating flight or flights for your queen.
If successful mating flights are of little concern then??? Let them do what they want.
Also, when you say you seen queen cups, did they have royal jelly when you took them down?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If your not interested in more colonies then you could just let them swarm.
If you got all the queen cells then here is what should happen. (repeat should)
They build more queens cells(Which if you had any capped ones, they are prolly going to do again anyway)
And they are prolly working on them as we speak. In 11-13 days, they should swarm.
The old queen is losing weight and laying lots of eggs for the new queen.
Half of your hive will leave with the old queen but your going to have alot of eggs and new foragers earning their wings everyday.
The strongest virgin queen will emerge first on the 14th day. She will kill the others that had inferior nutrition. She will hang out for a week then go on her mating flights.
Now a big question. Are there ferrel bees or other apiaries in your area? And are there any drones from your other hive yet? Because that would be my only concern is a successful mating flight or flights for your queen.
If successful mating flights are of little concern then??? Let them do what they want.
Also, when you say you seen queen cups, did they have royal jelly when you took them down?
struttinbuck, thanks for the reply.
My 2 colonies have plenty of drones so I assume any other local managed or feral hives would have drones. My second colony is from a walk-away split I did August 25, 2020. That new queen successfully mated and returned. I am not aware of any large apiaries in the vicinity but there must be feral and other backyard colonies.

If my hive keeps making swarm cells I’ll probably utilize my nuc box and do a small split.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
They swarmed😳
Not sure when they left the hive but I found the cluster this morning in a shrub about 2 feet off the ground. I clipped the branch and shook them into a Pro Nuc box with 4 frames. There were so many bees that It was crowded so I rushed off to the only place in town that has bee supplies (Tractor Supply). By the time I got home the bees were gone from the nuc. Dang!

I went ahead and set the new box up for a swarm trap.

I’m still going to keep a close eye on the colony. My concern now is that I destroyed all the swarm cells then had the queen take off with the swarm. If that is the case hopefully there are some good fresh eggs.

Live and learn.
 

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They swarmed😳
Not sure when they left the hive but I found the cluster this morning in a shrub about 2 feet off the ground. I clipped the branch and shook them into a Pro Nuc box with 4 frames. There were so many bees that It was crowded so I rushed off to the only place in town that has bee supplies (Tractor Supply). By the time I got home the bees were gone from the nuc. Dang!

I went ahead and set the new box up for a swarm trap.

I’m still going to keep a close eye on the colony. My concern now is that I destroyed all the swarm cells then had the queen take off with the swarm. If that is the case hopefully there are some good fresh eggs.

Live and learn.
Well the moment that queen left the hive, you can bet the bees that stayed behind got to work pronto on several more queen cells. Make sure you feed them up good .. Now you will prolly get several more queen cells and if it was me just let the strongest one win. Alot of folks will go through and pick a queen cell themselves and finish the ones they dont like. I tend to think the natural process will pick the strongest queen. The cell that gets the best royal jelly and genetics will win. I would guess 2 weeks from the day you got rid of those other cells youll have new queens emerging and fighting.
You will hear piping 2-3 days before the queens emerge. If you listen close enough. Or have a good mic.
 

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They swarmed😳
Not sure when they left the hive but I found the cluster this morning in a shrub about 2 feet off the ground. I clipped the branch and shook them into a Pro Nuc box with 4 frames. There were so many bees that It was crowded so I rushed off to the only place in town that has bee supplies (Tractor Supply). By the time I got home the bees were gone from the nuc. Dang!

I went ahead and set the new box up for a swarm trap.

I’m still going to keep a close eye on the colony. My concern now is that I destroyed all the swarm cells then had the queen take off with the swarm. If that is the case hopefully there are some good fresh eggs.

Live and learn.
they would normally not leave with out a "sealed" QC,, likely you missed one.

And you now know the value of having a box with top and bottom and frames ready :)
good day for you.

Do not rule out they went back into the hive, could check it to see if the population is down, and/or you find a QC.
can give them eggs on a frame from another hive.

good luck

GG
 

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If your not interested in more colonies then you could just let them swarm.
IMO, Not a great choice if you have neighbors, or if they/you have any cracks or crevices in the home. I try to have at least one swarm trap setup in all my apiaries. Reads like the nuc may have been to small..
 

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They swarmed😳
Not sure when they left the hive but I found the cluster this morning in a shrub about 2 feet off the ground. I clipped the branch and shook them into a Pro Nuc box with 4 frames. There were so many bees that It was crowded so I rushed off to the only place in town that has bee supplies (Tractor Supply). By the time I got home the bees were gone from the nuc. Dang!

I went ahead and set the new box up for a swarm trap.

I’m still going to keep a close eye on the colony. My concern now is that I destroyed all the swarm cells then had the queen take off with the swarm. If that is the case hopefully there are some good fresh eggs.

Live and learn.
If your interested in buying a virgin or mated queen, there is something else you can do to. A mated queen wont take long to start laying eggs. And either or a mated or virgin ,you would have the option of going with different races or hygienic strains.
Main thing is since your still a small apiary it's not a big deal whatever you choose. You can do absolutely nothing and the bees are going to do everything.
 

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The swarm instinct can be strong. Make sure to shake all the bees off the frames as you go to check for hidden cells. It's amazing how many the girls can hide otherwise.
Guessing this didn't happen lol.

Give them a few weeks before you freak out. You likely have a virgin in there. She'll need up to 3 weeks to get mated and start laying. If after 3 weeks you don't have eggs, order a queen.
 
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