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I installed two California 3# packages on May 3. One package swarmed the end of May and the other package swarmed June 26 and again today June 28. The hive that swarmed twice had brood in three medium boxes and a fourth box of foundation on top of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I fed them for about a month. Both hives have plenty of honey and pollen. I just went into the hive that swarmed twice this week and it still is loaded with bees. Three mediums full of brood, bees and food and a fourth box on top of that.
 

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Look for swarm cells, make NUC's with the extras. Leave one behind in the main hive to take over. If in the even that the main hive fails to requeen, recombine them with one of the NUC's.

I had one do me the same way by the way. Just yesterday swarmed out on me with plenty of space and open frames. Checked the hive, had swarm cells and I made two extra NUC's from them. This hive gave me NO warning signs at all, but I had forgotten to do a good check through it the last time and that was two weeks back.. So if you miss a routine check it will and can happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bees are a hobby, I have four hives now and that is enough for me. I do have a brushy mountain double medium nuc so I could start another colony but for now I am just going to see what happens next. This hive is on steriods. Another thread was asking about how this years California queens are doing, I am pleased with mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow. Do you know what kind and where the queens came from?[/QUOTE

The bees are Italian. The person who,actually ordered them from California was Chris Barnes. Chis operates the Dadant outlet in Albion Michigan. I picked them up at Turtlebee farm in Byron Michigan.
 

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Michigan Mike'.........

Were these packages put on undrawn foundation under ???


IMHO....

If this was the case I would have told you to put the foundation under the bees not on top it's been my experience that this works much better on undrawn Foundation.



BEE HAPPY Jim 134 :)
 

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Jim, are you suggesting that I should have removed all three of my medium boxes that have brood and food and added my fourth box under them on the bottom board? None of my extra frame are drawn. That is a novel suggestion I wonder if others will comment on it.

Mike
 

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Jim, are you suggesting that I should have removed all three of my medium boxes that have brood and food and added my fourth box under them on the bottom board? None of my extra frame are drawn. That is a novel suggestion I wonder if others will comment on it.

Mike
Folks with Warre hives will add boxes under (nadired vs supered), but everyone I know running langs goes up. I've never had a problem with them going up and haven't had much luck the other way around. I always bring up a frame of brood, honey, or whatever, to encourage them to go into the new box.

Started doing foundationless this year which works really well. The bees draw it very quickly, and I like it better because it feels like I'm giving them more open space. Dump the queen excluder as well if you're using one. They'll cause swarms because the queen runs out of space to lay.
 

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I believe that colonies in first year developement should be given additional boxes below. When we were actively keeping bees, we added boxes at the top like everyone else, knowing full well that it does not support bee instincts. It's just easier and quicker.

The starter colony goes to the top of the cavity and builds comb downward by instinct, building a broodnest leading comb construction. As the broodnest approaches an adequate size for the cavity volume, they continue to move the broodnest down and fill in above with wintering honey. This can be seen in the single deep by the capped honey accumulating in the upper, outside corners of a deep frame.

Note that there is almost always a delay when the second box is added above. Not only have we changed the cavity volume, but we did it in the wrong direction. Bees are notably adaptive to circumstance and do figure it out, it just takes some time.

Did a limited sample test to confirm my opinion, and was satisfied with the results. Should I ever start over, will try to support their druthers.

Walt
 

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I believe that colonies in first year developement should be given additional boxes below. When we were actively keeping bees, we added boxes at the top like everyone else, knowing full well that it does not support bee instincts. It's just easier and quicker.
With a hive lifting device it would be easier and quicker because you never have to open the hive. The down side is checking the progress of the added boxes. With the new box on the bottom you would be breaking into the brood chamber every time you want to check on progress. I don't see anything unnatural about adding boxes on top. It is where they store honey if they recognize the space. Bees are easily trained. With drawn comb they will find it immediately. So put one or two there.
 

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IMHO
It looks like you need to read the parameters again .I am talking about foundation not comb that was already drawn out. Every time I have seen a bee tree they always add comb to the bottom and they starts at the top of the cavity. Bees have every little attraction to Foundation.I do hope you are not using Queen excluders and expect the bees to go through it without baiting them.No one said this job would be easy hahaha.
Acebird....
I see by your post you say bees are very easily trained have you trained them not to swarm or if you couldn't do that have you train them to going to bait hives you set up nearby ???


BEE HAPPY Jim 134 :)
 

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Thank you Ace for your sage advice. Was that an opposing opinion?
The reason we get away with adding a second box at the top is that when they have an adequate broodnest in the bottom, they are ready to add honey above. And most do. But some will lead the developement with brood in the top box, and get stranded there. How many threads have you seen where the beginner reports that his cluster is in the top box and the lower box is essentially empty? Don't believe that would happen if the second box were added below.

Walt
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Jim/Walt, I understand your point and I may do as you suggest when adding a second box to a hive with a single brood chamber, I do have such a hive; however as Brian mentioned the hive that swarmed on me has three full medium eight frame boxes filled out and checking on the progress of the added box on the bottom would require disrupting those boxes each time. The issue drawn vs. undrawn foundation is valid. I have read several threads by posters who ask about purchasing beginner extraction equipment and most of them are discouraged from doing so but to me it seems to be necessary if a person is to accumulate the drawn foundation necessary to properly manage hives. My purpose in posting my experience is simply to inform other new beekeepers that new packages do indeed swarm and if it matters to them posters like you make suggestions they can follow to avoid it. Discussing these things is helpful to others as well, we already have quite a few views.
 

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Was that an opposing opinion?
Just letting a beginner know what the pitfalls are for putting the box on the bottom.

How many threads have you seen where the beginner reports that his cluster is in the top box and the lower box is essentially empty?
I see it when the beginner adds foundation too quickly. And if he/she does how is it any different than what you are suggesting he/she do? The bees will build down into it if there is enough nectar to fill above. What I personally don't like is adding foundation on the bottom because it means a lot of work to keep checking it. If it were one box down from a filled super I could live with it but I have had good luck just putting it on top.
 

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MB zeroed in on the cause of package swarming, which likely was the primary concern of the OP. We went off-topic with the up/down growth of the starter colony.

Have one more comment on the off-topic stuff:
If I intended to winter in a double deep, a thorough check would be made prior to the fall flow for that odd colony that had abandoned the lower deep and had the broodnest in the upper. Reverse, if needed, to get their wintering honey stored overhead where it belongs.

Walt
 
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