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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Northeast Ohio, 80-90 degrees F. I had a very strong hive going and monitored for swarming activity weekly. One week ago I noticed 8-12 swarm cells between the two brood boxes. The hive seemed less populated but I chalked it up to the fact I was inspecting mid day ( I normally can't inspect until later in the day due to work) and figured less bees were in the hive. Two of the cells at the time appeared to be capped but were torn open when I pulled frames. I decided to do an even split but looked for the queen everywhere and could not find her. I split the resources as evenly as I could making sure each half had stores, eggs, larvae and capped brood. Eggs were plentiful in both boxes.

I inspected today and figured I would find cells in one half, the queen in the other. Well, I found no queen and no eggs in either half. I am thinking now they must have swarmed a day or two before that inspection. I wasn't thinking they split due to finding plenty of eggs and 8 of the 10 or so cells being uncapped. So now I don't know what to do.

Both halves have 5-6 cells each. One half has all swarm cells, all capped, near the bottom of the frames. The other half has 2 capped swarm cells and 3 capped emergency cells. Both contain 8 full frames, with about 4-5 frames of leftover capped brood/empty cells and 3 solid frames of stores. Both halves are getting backfilled with nectar. I checkerboarded the 8 frames across 2 brood boxes to coax them to draw comb instead of backfill with nectar. Both hive reducers are set to the smallest setting.

Did I mess up bad here? Should I let it roll and see what happens? I would imagine some of the cells should hatch sometime this week assuming they have been present in the hive for 13-14 days. Should I throw on a feeder or will the 3 full frames of stores plus backfilled nectar be enough to keep them going? The half that I moved definitely had fewer bees since the foragers returned to the old half. Should I shake a few frames from a different hive in there to keep the population up? I am curious to see where this goes but I don't want to kill off two potential hives if this is a suicide mission going into the summer dearth.

Thanks to anyone will some guidance.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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You do not need to do anything unless you wanted to make four nucs out of the two hives and double your chances of getting at least two mated queens. Otherwise, give it about three more weeks and see what you have. No additional feed is necessary but you may want to put some pollen sub out for the bees to forage.
 

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only thing I would have done different is the checkerboard.
In general I leave the frames of bees all together, in a split, with the QCs in the center frames.
By splitting the nest up with foundation or FL frames you split the cluster, Hopefully the bees can cover all the brood and especially the queen cells, else they may chill.

Not sure why one would seek to draw comb while hatching queens, Hopefully there were a lot of bees to cover all the brood/cells.

I would recommend you do 1 thing at a time, hatch the queen , then get comb drawn.
In queen less they "use" the brood nest cells because they can. Once she starts laying they empty them.
The nectar in the brood frame while queenless is a non issue IMO, if you have concerns, offer empty comb above the brood frames (super) for storage.

So if the brood frames are "too full" what would the feeder be for? If you felt the need to checker board the split due to brood frames being filled, are you sure you are in a dearth?

If you have "other" hives the shake can work be sure not to "shake" the queen in, IE use an excluder.
Easier path would be pre the Q C hatching, swap the weak hive with one of your other ones, then the field bees of hive 2 join the weak split.
However it you are unsure of the hatch date either do not do this, or open the split up and confirm all the QCs are still unhatched.

Over all plan seems ok , give it time to work out, try not to imagine too many issues. :)

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
only thing I would have done different is the checkerboard.
In general I leave the frames of bees all together, in a split, with the QCs in the center frames.
By splitting the nest up with foundation or FL frames you split the cluster, Hopefully the bees can cover all the brood and especially the queen cells, else they may chill.

Not sure why one would seek to draw comb while hatching queens, Hopefully there were a lot of bees to cover all the brood/cells.

I would recommend you do 1 thing at a time, hatch the queen , then get comb drawn.
In queen less they "use" the brood nest cells because they can. Once she starts laying they empty them.
The nectar in the brood frame while queenless is a non issue IMO, if you have concerns, offer empty comb above the brood frames (super) for storage.

So if the brood frames are "too full" what would the feeder be for? If you felt the need to checker board the split due to brood frames being filled, are you sure you are in a dearth?

If you have "other" hives the shake can work be sure not to "shake" the queen in, IE use an excluder.
Easier path would be pre the Q C hatching, swap the weak hive with one of your other ones, then the field bees of hive 2 join the weak split.
However it you are unsure of the hatch date either do not do this, or open the split up and confirm all the QCs are still unhatched.

Over all plan seems ok , give it time to work out, try not to imagine too many issues. :)

GG
Thanks for the info. I am still trying to get a handle on why I should do things and when... I figured they would need to draw comb to prep for the new queen so she had space. If they will move the nectar/honey when they need the space I will rely on them. I had an issue last year with hive that swarmed and raised a new queen. They proceeded to pack the hive with nectar and the new queen swarmed before she even had much of a chance to accomplish anything. I was trying to avoid that issue again this year.

The bees have been filling empty cells, so they are bringing in something. The main reason I thought we are heading into a dearth is because during my last inspection I set a honey super to the side and by the end of the inspection for that hive there was a flurry of activity on the top of the frames. Bees were flying all about and crawling around the outside of the box too. I assumed this to be some impromptu robbing by some of the other bees in my yard? Would that be a fair assessment? Every inspection up till this past weekend I could set the super to the side and the bees just hang out in there until I place it back. On a side note, if this was robbing, should I consider putting robbing screens on all my hives regardless of strength?
 

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sometime the "after swarm" is already in the plan from the start, and you cannot stop it. Swarming is a mood that needs to pass.
Reducing the cell count or splitting, to later combine can help to mitigate that mood.

Yes if space is needed then one would optimally add comb to keep the brood nest "less full"

And yes the action could be robbing, exposed nectar can be enticing for any bees.
I have never used a robbing screen, in 40 years so I cannot help there. If I am concerned I would reduce the entrance a bit with a block of wood.
Here in Mich I generally never have a severe Dearth, again IF you sense a dearth them maybe feed, But feeding can either go to supers if on or into the brood nest, so it has features and issues at the same time. here now white clover and Knapweed and hay fields are blooming , try to get familiar with what is blooming in your locale so you can better decide if feed is needed. IF the brood frames continue to be "nectar filled" I would think feeding is not needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for more great info. Both halve's entrances are reduced to the small setting for the time being. It is in the low 90s here now. Thought maybe a robbing screen could prevent invading bees and also keep the hive ventilated. Although since I checkerboarded the frames maybe it would be better if the hive stayed hotter? Don't know. I was planning to leave both halves alone for the next 3 weeks. I guess if I saw evidence of cells getting filled with nectar they have food coming in. Each half has a solid full frame of pollen as well. Maybe I should just let them be...
 

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well keep an eye on them in the heat, the reduced to prevent robbing , VRS ventilation is a conundrum.
BTW my "blocks are like 3 inches long so I reduce fro 16ish inches to 10-12 X the full opening.
If the small you reference is the "included" entrance reducer then you are at 3/8 X 1 inch, depending on Sun VRS Shade, and frames of bees. you may want to go to the 3-4 inch opening , the next size up. Watch then in the 2-4 afternoon, excessive fanning/bearding would be an indication of too hot in the hive.
IF robing is prevalent, A "popsicle stick" or thin wood shim, smaller than a bee under each corner of the lid can offer a bit more air flow as well.

My hives are in the sun till 11am then shade the rest of the day, so depending on location you will need to do what is needed.

yes at this point agree let them bee, except the ventilation, can be adjusted from the outside of the hive.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
well keep an eye on them in the heat, the reduced to prevent robbing , VRS ventilation is a conundrum.
BTW my "blocks are like 3 inches long so I reduce fro 16ish inches to 10-12 X the full opening.
If the small you reference is the "included" entrance reducer then you are at 3/8 X 1 inch, depending on Sun VRS Shade, and frames of bees. you may want to go to the 3-4 inch opening , the next size up. Watch then in the 2-4 afternoon, excessive fanning/bearding would be an indication of too hot in the hive.
IF robing is prevalent, A "popsicle stick" or thin wood shim, smaller than a bee under each corner of the lid can offer a bit more air flow as well.

My hives are in the sun till 11am then shade the rest of the day, so depending on location you will need to do what is needed.

yes at this point agree let them bee, except the ventilation, can be adjusted from the outside of the hive.

GG
I was just out there tonight around 7pm. Some bees hanging around the entrance but not many. Didn't have a chance to see them during the heat of the day but I will consider either opening the reducer to the next setting or adding the shims in the lid for some improved ventilation. Thanks for your help Gray Goose!
 
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