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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our club is about to start weekly (more or less) apiary sessions, and it occurred to me that it might be instructive to intentionally cause a hive to swarm by feeding and restricting it's space. Only where it won't bother anyone of course. I wonder if a colony as small as 3-5 medium frames will swarm and requeen in the regular way? Never tried it.
 

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That might be neat, particularly if you had some baited swarm boxes strategically placed and were able to "catch" the swarm. Then you could follow the progress of the "feral" colony vs. the mother.
 

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That's what I was thinking. Whereas one can make an artificial swarm if you wish to demonstrate how to handle a swarm.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Shake a lot of nurse bees into a package box and cage one queen. Wait two hours. Put the queen in the box overnight. Do this the night before. The next day, hang the queen cage in the tree and they will cluster around the queen. They will stay because the queen can't go with them. You can hive like a normal swarm except where you have to take the cage down and put it into the hive...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not really talking about getting them to swarm on schedule, just to crowd them and overfeed them while doing weekly inspections so that the students can see the results - backfilling, swarm cells, what a hive that has swarmed looks like... Catching the swarm would be cool, but an awful lot to hope for. That's why I was wondering what would be the smallest hive that would be likely to swarm and successfully requeen. I have heard of mini nucs that just abscond because they are so small.

Michael Bush - great idea. I've never heard of that before. Thanks.
 
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