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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My bees are flying frantically in front of my existing hive like never before. I have been told that this hive is pretty healthy. Since I'm brand new at this, I would greatly appreciate some advice from experienced beeks.

If my hive was preparing to swarm, would it work if I put a new hive right across (say, 15') from my existing one to give the swarming bees a new home. Or, should I put the new hive right next to the existing one. Do you think they might just go there and start a new hive?
 

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If you are really lucky that will work. The best way is to make a split into your new hive. Use the search function for Beesource and you will find all the info you need on making a split/artificial swarm/increase hive
 

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First off you could be seeing orientation flights which many new folks mistake for swarming. Here is a video of orientation flights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtH9nG929OU

Second I have never seen a hive swarm directly from one hive to another, they always gather at a congregation point first. Not saying it can't happen just never heard of it.
 

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Tom, my two hives are 2 months old now and are booming in population. It amazes me to see the vast numbers of them racing in and out of the hive on warm sunny days. Just clouds of them! Such activity is quite impressive, and might easily be taken to be a pre-swarm sign by us newbies. :) But I learned that it was just normal activity for a bustling hive on a good bee day.
Have you been inspecting your hive inside? What's it like?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
NasalSponge,

That's funny that you have responded to my inquiry. I watched your video yesterday (which I found on another thread), and based upon what I saw, I got my "idea" to put another hive out there for me bees to go to. In your video, it looks like they were leaving the larger hive to go to the single box by the house. The one where your dog peeks around the corner to check things out.

By the way, the music is perfect for the frenzied activity of the bees!

My wife called me while I was at work to tell me that our bees were extremely active. So, I thought of your video, and figured I could just stick another hive out there, and it would be a "no brainer" for the bees if they were looking for a new home. :)

By the time I drove home from work, the bees were acting normal again. But, at least I'm ready with new hive equipment if they swarm, and I can coax them into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Omie,

Thanks for your reply. The bees have settled down now, and they are "bearding up" like they have been doing since our temps have gotten into the 90's.

I have been into the hives the last (4) weekends. My top deep box was loaded with frames of honey and the bottom box was loaded with brood. There wasn't any more room for anything, so I harvested (3) frames of honey and installed new frames with foundation.

That's why I've been concerned that there wasn't a lot of room for more bees, and so maybe they were getting ready to swarm. Since, I am new at all of this and don't have a mentor, I come here hoping to get some information in a timely fashion, in case I have to do something fast.

I know I'll eventually get caught up on my knowledge, but right now there is a lot to learn in a hurry. My wife and I are really having fun with all of this! :)

Thanks again for your willingness to offer advice. I am certainly in need of a lot of it.
 

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Actually, the smaller box was a captured swarm that where also doing orientation flights you just have to look real close to see them, no crossover of bees from one to the other. :D Thx on the music choice, just seemed to fit.
 

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I have been into the hives the last (4) weekends. My top deep box was loaded with frames of honey and the bottom box was loaded with brood. There wasn't any more room for anything, so I harvested (3) frames of honey and installed new frames with foundation.
That's why I've been concerned that there wasn't a lot of room for more bees, and so maybe they were getting ready to swarm.
Yeah well with your description, it sounds like you need to get another box on your hive before they run out of room completely. :)
 

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I am a first year beek also and can only pass along my experience. I had a strong hive and a weak hive from three lb pkg started the last of March. The strong hive grew at a fast rate and I added a 2nd deep brood box when I was down to 2-3 frames drawn comb in the first deep. Everything continued to progress o'k. Started to have bearding along front of hive. As the 2nd brood box reached the last few frames added a medium super with excluder. Found out that bees would not go through the excluder to draw new foundation (beeswax). Removed the excluder, apparently too late because to date the bees have still not drawn comb in the med. super. The hive swarmed a little over 3-weeks ago. Some postings on beesource said that bearding was normal -- may be?? -- but it wasn't too long till the hive swarmed. So be ware -- it seems that each beek may have a little different views based on what has worked for them-- which obviously is normal. Good Luck. Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Omie,

I did add another box too, but like Jim, whose post is right above this one, I couldn't get my bees to do anything in that box with an excluder in between it and the brood boxes. Sooooo much to learn!
 

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Some postings on beesource said that bearding was normal -- may be?? -- but it wasn't too long till the hive swarmed. So be ware
Not trying to be an ***** here but I think you need to read some bee books before making comments like this because it is clear you are sorely lacking in the basics of bee behavior. Try ABC-XYZ's of beekeeping.
 

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Tom try pulling the excluder out from between the boxes, let them get some comb built and some brood started. Then if you like make sure the queen is below and reinstall your excluder. Are you using SBB? Also might try adding a slatted rack too, gives the bees a place to hang out. They might have just been hot, you said it started when temp hit the 90's, also sounds like your population is building good too. Ventilate your hive well while it is hot. I was down your way last week to Mrytle, returned home to find it much more miserable here. Good luck with your bees, keep having fun.
 

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Don't put the excluder on until they have started drawing a little comb. Then make sure the queen in below (shake the bees off of the upper combs, or look carefully) and then add the excluder. They will keep drawing comb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Mike S.

I will do as you have said this weekend.

And, no, I don't have a SBB. The hive that was given to me (which I paid $200 for) doesn't have a screened bottom boad. But, I can make one. As hot as it gets here, the bees would probably appreciate it. I did prop open the back side of my outer cover to give them some air flow in there.

Thanks to all of you for your helpful advice! :) I really do appreciate it.
 

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Thats good you have the top cover propped a little for air flow, I do all mine year round about 1/4", helps cool in the summer and helps in the winter here for condensation. I think once you install a screen bottom board you will be fine, might consider a slatted rack too on your SBB, my bees seem to love them and I have them on all my hives, A little more expense but if they like it fine with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think once you install a screen bottom board you will be fine, might consider a slatted rack too on your SBB, my bees seem to love them and I have them on all my hives
Mike, I'll have to look into the "slatted rack," since I don't even know what it is yet. Like I said before - Soooo much to learn. :)

A little more expense but if they like it fine with me.
If they like it, they might even produce more honey! Fine with me too. :D
 

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I am running slatted racks on two of my hives to check them out. They did nothing for swarm prevention but these two hives don't beard.
 

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You don't want to wait until the bees swarm and then try to catch them. The chances of you actually catching the swarm in your empty hive is small. You want to try and keep them from swarming. And you need to do an inspection to know if they are preparing to swarm. Just watching from the outside won't tell you all you need to know. There are multiple ways to help keep them from swarming, that is a decision you have to make. Just search on the forum and you will have days worth of reading. You can split the hive, checker board, add more drawn comb above, lots of ways.
To help get the bees working in the upper box, just move a frame with brood up to that box and they will move up and start working in the new box. Then you can move it back down or just leave it. Bearding is very normal in the summer and doesn't mean they are getting ready to swarm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
To help get the bees working in the upper box, just move a frame with brood up to that box and they will move up and start working in the new box. Then you can move it back down or just leave it.
John,

I did move a frame up there last weekend when I did a hive inspection. But, I don't think it had any brood on it. If it had lots of comb and honey, would that work?
 
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