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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I helped a friend inspect his massive hive last week. It is 3 deeps and 5 mediums high (10 frames each) completely full of bees. He was afraid to split it last year and now its overflowing with bees. This is the third spring for this hives and no splits were ever made from it. There is very little honey not even one full frame of capped. It's almost as if the bees are eating the honey faster than they can make it.

My hive is only 5 mediums high (8 frames each) and the top 2 are almost full of capped honey already. This is my second spring and I was planning on splitting it in a month or two.

So, is there an optimal size to shoot for?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is no doubt they will swarm soon or already did.

So, is there an optimal size to shoot for?
 

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There's not really an optimal size as long as there is room in the hive for the bees. They swarm when there's no room, they swarm when there's not enough room for the queen to lay in.

If in fact each one of the supers and deeps you inspected were full of bees but yet no capped honey stores, it will be working on that prior to swarming off.

So my suggestion at this point is to actually do some swarm prevention. Do a split on this hive and turn it into at least two hives. Give one side the queen and the other some frames with young larva and eggs. That side will make their new queen, and the old hive will continue to pack away some honey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He still does not want to make a split! He does not believe they will make a new queen.

So, the optimal size is what ever the beekeeper wants it to be.
 

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Bigfish...SO much of beekeeping is based on the region!! In South Florida, we will typically only run one deep for brood, then supers, or two mediums for brood, and whatever supers they can support. (We don't have to stock our bees up here to "over-winter" so it totally changes the game.) I do splits often. One deep and three (10 frame) mediums in my MAX. That hive sounds pretty huge! I don't know how he'd even get those top boxes off to inspect, without a ladder! Sounds ridiculous to me. I will reiterate, so much of beekeeping is regional. It sounds like this hive is getting a bit out of control though. Hopefully somebody from your region will chime in....or time to hook up with a local beekeepers association to get the answer to your question, for YOUR region. (sounds like a good time for a split or three....JMO!)
 

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Bigfish...there were communications as I was typing. If your friend is going to be that stubborn, then walk away. Let the hive swarm itself to death... some times you can't win. If you walk him through a split, and it fails, it will be YOUR fault. Let them swarm, and be there to help if he is fortunate enough to have swarms within reach. Let him stack the boxes to the heavens. truly...some times, you just can't help. Let him decide for himself.
 

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I do Not know as I would wait until they are making swarm preparation before I did something to prevent it, If you wait until they begin planning to swarm, it is usually too late to prevent it.

In spite of what some think swarming is a natural part of the cycle of bee survival and distribution.
a healthy hive will eventually swarm when they get enough Members, & provisions. it is my understanding that a reduction in laying area for the queen is not the reason for a swarm, but an indicator of impending swarm. The backfilling of the brood chamber provides ample stores for the swarming bees to gorge upon before swarming, While at the same time decreasing the queens productivity to enable her to more easily swarm as well. whenever bee numbers in a given hive reach a high enough value they lean toward swarming. It is what bees do. it is how the start new colonies. The trick to managing swarms it to balance resources with bee numbers. Making the hive think they have swarmed already is a good tool.

We are coming into swarm season in my area, although my hives are in no danger of swarming. I just attended a swarm management class. I am relaying this while it is fresh in my mind.

Let your friend learn the hard way, It will be a lesson soon not forgotten.
 
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