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Hello all. I have 2 hives that I started this year. All was well until yesterday, and I'm not sure what the problem is (though I suspect both hives are about to swarm). :s In front of hive #1, maybe 5 feet away on the ground, was a mass of perhaps 1,000 bees just sitting there. So, I added an empty third hive body to the nearby hive (I don't have any more frames -- need to order some), scooped up the cluster as best I could (I did not see a queen, but she might have been there) and dumped them back into the hive they were in front of. Hive #1 seemed ok this morning, with a few stragglers buzzing around where the mass of bees had been. However, also this morning, I observed on the hive #2 bees crawling up the sides in clusters, while soldier bees were clearly attacking bees at the entrance and dragging them off. I have 2 hive bodies on each hive. I added the second bodies (with brand new foundations) maybe 3 weeks ago. When I checked them this weekend, they were pretty much built completely out and choked with honey and brood. I did not see any queen cells, but I only checked the top boxes, not the bottoms. Questions: Is my suspicion correct that this is swarm behavior? Regardless, what should I do? Do I (1) add supers ASAP so they can expand, (2) split the hives, which a friend suggested but I don't really know how to do, (3) let bees be bees and leave them alone, or (4) do something else? Please advise, and thank you for reading this far!!!
 

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Sounds like probable swarm activity to me. I would definitely try to stay ahead of the bees, give them a little more room, maybe get some honey supers on top, but remember that swarm activity starts with the bees building swarm cells and raising a queen, which occurs well before any signs of swarming show outside the hive. Not always, but chances are, that the swarm cells will be low down in the hive, and just checking the top box won't find them. Do you have any trees near the hives for a swarm to gather in? They will usually stop somewhere near the hive for a spell before they actually vacate the area entirely. Sometimes the spell will be overnight, sometimes less than an hour. I would get an empty hive ready just in case. Hope you can catch them, good luck!
 

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If they have already decided to swarm adding space will not stop it. I would put the supers on anyway and search on here for swarm prevention.
 

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You could go through all boxes and remove all frames that have cells on them put in a hive, destroy all the cells but a couple of the largest and start a new hive. Replace the brood frames with frames of foundation are with frames with starter strips. Just put in enough bees to cover the brood and maybe a frame of honey and pollen. A small bunch of bees with a lot of brood and no queen just a cell are not likely to swarm. Then in ten days go through both of the original hives and look for cells again.
 
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