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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello!

I have a colony that I caught as a swarm earlier this spring (early May) who are just starting on their fourteenth bar drawing comb! Good, healthy hive that's expanding rapidly, with a strong queen and a nice tight laying pattern. Going through the comb I noticed a bar full of drone cells and some drone cells on other bars. This tells me they're starting to think about swarming (?) - I also noticed some swarm cells under construction at the edges of the comb. They are still very small and I almost missed them, I only saw them because the drone cells tipped me off to look hard. They're "play cups" (acorn hat shaped) and not all the way drawn down yet. Zoom.jpg

I am leaning towards allowing the hive to "swarm" by splitting the hive by the artificial swarm method. I'm also a brand new beekeeper this year and I want to make sure this is ok, like the hive is strong enough to split and still survive winter (or should I combine them again before winter depending how it goes?), and I have some concerns about being able to find the queen.

To make matters slightly more complicated, I also have a (failing) trap out that I'm working on, which is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Due to a series of unfortunate events, this has left me with a cup or two of bees without a queen, in my other hive with a couple partial bars of comb. Not sure this is pertinent, eg if I could trap out more bees from the trap-out, could I use a bar of comb with a swarm cell on it to give them a queen to raise?

Mostly though I need help with bee math. I don't want to check the hive too regularly (like, daily) because I don't want to disturb them, but I don't want to miss the opportunity to split and have them swarm on me. How frequently should I go back and check on those swarm cells? How quickly will it go from this point to swarming?
 

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Kate, all hives will make drones. It is something to watch out for but doesn't mean they are about to swarm. What is your hive configuration?
If you do not have 2 full boxes of deeps drawn yet, I don't think it is strong enough for a split unless you have more comb.
Check the cells every 5 days. I would combine the small group of bees from the trap out with your big hive. J
 

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How frequently should I go back and check on those swarm cells? How quickly will it go from this point to swarming?
hives will frequently swarm as soon as the 1st cell is capped.. so you can go from no cells to they gone in 5 days
 

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MSL is correct, but what you are describing are queen cups, not cells. I would check every 5 days and if they get charged, make your split. J
 
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