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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have 2 hives since last July. Kept them nice and well.
2 days ago did brief inspection of one and today did about the same but for both hives.
1 hive has all its brood in the top box and I didn't noticed any queen cells.
2nd hive has brood in the middle of 2 boxes and, I noticed today, has 5-6-7 queen cells right in the middle and they were caped, although I opened one of them and it wasn't mature yet, maybe another week to hatch.

If they are preparing to swarm, is it too late to prevent swarming?
I dont think this is superseder.

I am less than 1 year experienced, so looking for suggestions.
Thanks
 

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If the queen is still there, remove her with some frames of brood and one or two frames of honey/pollen to a nuc box (make sure there or no queen cells on the frames you put in the nuc). Now you will have done the swarm -for- them and kept your bees, you won't have to chase them and catch them.

If some of the queen cells that are left are on different frames, you can take some of these and put them in nuc boxes also...I always try to leave at least two cells in the box, and put at least two cells in each nuc box.

If you split the cells up like that, you should have more queens flying out to mate, which will give you reserves in case one does not get mated or fails to return.

Once you get mated queens, you can replace the older queen if you wish (with one of the newer ones)...or increase your hive numbers if that is what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OP, did you notice any drones in the colonies? Did you see the queen in Hive #2? Almost sounds like Emergency replacement queen cells, but certainly could be swarm cells if the hives are backfilled with nectar and feeling pretty robust.
Did not noticed any drone cells.
My both hives are strong and were fed well through the winter (maybe I overfed them). I'll be sorry to loose current queens.
This 2nd hive is more to the west, so probably got "head start" compare to hive #1.

I don't have a nuc, but have 2 deeps spare in case I need to expand.
 

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If the queen is still there, remove her with some frames of brood and one or two frames of honey/pollen to a nuc box (make sure there or no queen cells on the frames you put in the nuc). Now you will have done the swarm -for- them and kept your bees, you won't have to chase them and catch them.
This, plus I put an undrawn frame in there. A swarm, even an artificial swarm, is a wax making machine. Hormones will turn on the wax glands so you may as well take advantage of it by giving the bees a place to put it.


Once you get mated queens, you can replace the older queen if you wish (with one of the newer ones)...or increase your hive numbers if that is what you want.
Even if you decided to replace the old queen (if she is no longer laying well) consider keeping her in a nuc for a while to lay up frames for brood bombs that you can transfer to other hives and build them up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The worse part of the story is my yard is not so big and one of the neighbors is complaining about my bees, so having an extra hive I need to figure out where to put it

I have undrawn frames :)
I can try to find a queen also. I believe it's there in to top box, at least today she was, cause when I took the top box away and was going through, I noticed after 15-20 minutes (maybe more) that I was "doing my inspection" the bottom box started getting louder, making some buzz whenever they are out of queen.

So, if I put 5 frames from bottom and 5 frames from top in one box and add 10 empty frames on top: queen cells in one box and the queen in another box - is there a chance to prevent swarming?
(my 1st year - maybe I am stressed too much :) )
 

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I don't have a nuc, but have 2 deeps spare in case I need to expand.
If you cannot get some nuc boxes quickly (buy or build), then use the deeps if that is all you have. If you don't have bottom boards and tops, then jerry-rig something until you can buy or build what you need.

If you do nothing, and they swarm, you have lost them.

This is a case where doing -something- is better than doing nothing.
 

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Also, reverse the boxes on that hive that does not have queen cells. Right now. Don't wait. You want the brood in the bottom. Do this before she lays in the top of the bottom box, or you'll end up splitting that cluster. It's warm here in Maryland, but not that warm yet. Nights are still too cool to split clusters.

So, if I put 5 frames from bottom and 5 frames from top in one box and add 10 empty frames on top: queen cells in one box and the queen in another box - is there a chance to prevent swarming?
(my 1st year - maybe I am stressed too much )
Don't give too much space. If you have two boxes of drawn comb and the queen is laying on one of them, just make sure the empty space is above the brood. Reverse if needed. If you only have half a box of bees, let them hit 6-7 frames (in a 10 frame) before you expand with foundation (the typical practice). Spring will build faster, so adding to the early side works. I had hives that did better when I removed boxes, even if they had drawn comb in them. Let them build up and you'll be adding those frames again real soon.
 

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Consider just stacking the nuc on top of the parent hive with a bottom board of their own. It won't look as intimidating as another hive. After the swarm season is over you can recombine the colonies too.
The worse part of the story is my yard is not so big and one of the neighbors is complaining about my bees, so having an extra hive I need to figure out where to put it

I have undrawn frames :)
I can try to find a queen also. I believe it's there in to top box, at least today she was, cause when I took the top box away and was going through, I noticed after 15-20 minutes (maybe more) that I was "doing my inspection" the bottom box started getting louder, making some buzz whenever they are out of queen.

So, if I put 5 frames from bottom and 5 frames from top in one box and add 10 empty frames on top: queen cells in one box and the queen in another box - is there a chance to prevent swarming?
(my 1st year - maybe I am stressed too much :) )
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I reverted the hive #1 already. It looks I have to check it through well too, to make sure it is not preparing for swarming as well.

With 2nd hive I already talked to the local supplier and will pick-up top and bottom tomorrow to get the preparation to split.
But, as I stated above: 5+5 + 10 empty frames - is this a "good" idea or not?
5 from original top (T)
5 from original bottom (B)
10 empty frames to put on top as a supper

I'll try to make a "checker board" TBTBTBTBTB
 

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Consider just stacking the nuc on top of the parent hive with a bottom board of their own. It won't look as intimidating as another hive. After the swarm season is over you can recombine the colonies too.
if you do not have a nuc box just stack a bottom board above your hive and stack a deep on top, also sort of low profile.
 

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I reverted the hive #1 already. It looks I have to check it through well too, to make sure it is not preparing for swarming as well.

With 2nd hive I already talked to the local supplier and will pick-up top and bottom tomorrow to get the preparation to split.
But, as I stated above: 5+5 + 10 empty frames - is this a "good" idea or not?
5 from original top (T)
5 from original bottom (B)
10 empty frames to put on top as a supper

I'll try to make a "checker board" TBTBTBTBTB
Yeah, if you have ten frames of drawn comb and brood in one box, it's time to put that foundation on top. Sorry I wasn't more clear. Generally you add when you are about 3/4 drawn. So you'd be 100%. Go for it.

If they are getting ready to swarm, you probably don't want to feed them. I'd split off soonest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's a little early for splitting in Maryland. Drones aren't flying yet. Typically closer to April.
I understand, but there are 6-7 queen cells on the frame.
I am sure they are not drone cells cause they are about 2x bibber than any other cell.
Drone cell is bit popped up.
It's unusually warm here this year, so ...
I didn't see drone cells also, or I might didn't look carefully.

ahwolle, since you are close, you are welcome to come and see what's going on in my hives.
 

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It's a little early for splitting in Maryland. Drones aren't flying yet. Typically closer to April.
I've had them for a few days, but I agree there are not enough. It's an odd year, for sure. For one thing, my area is as warm or warmer than the inland areas. We're usually a few weeks behind everyone else.

Just hope it's a good year.
 

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I can't imagine a hive in MD preparing to swarm. There is no nectar flow, they are just starting to bring in pollen. Unless you have been feeding them simulating a nectar flow, But i think they would be also raising drones. I went thru my hives this weekend, i didn't see any drone cells yet
 

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You could cobble together a divider for a deep, and put two nucs in there. If you put it on top of one of your other hives it will just look like you have supered the hive to a casual observer.
Bill
 

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OP you said they were capped, but did you check to see if they are just empty flaps? It is early for a swarm, but everything is local. Run your finger along the bottom and see if the cells have trap doors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I can't imagine a hive in MD preparing to swarm. There is no nectar flow, they are just starting to bring in pollen. Unless you have been feeding them simulating a nectar flow, But i think they would be also raising drones. I went thru my hives this weekend, i didn't see any drone cells yet
Yes, I was feeding them: I fed syrup till late November and then put sugar block on the top, but they didn't consume much of sugar block (maybe 4-5lb in 2 months each hive).

I got the blocks out 3 days ago, and today I put 2:1 syrup on top again.
 

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I can't imagine a hive in MD preparing to swarm. There is no nectar flow, they are just starting to bring in pollen. Unless you have been feeding them simulating a nectar flow, But i think they would be also raising drones. I went thru my hives this weekend, i didn't see any drone cells yet
I agree. I went into all 3 boxes of one of my strongest hives this past Monday; there are no drones yet. This hive is stuffed with bees, but I don't plan on taking any action. I believe the bees know that they cannot swarm. I trust the bees.
 
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