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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have four hives bought from nucs this year and wow have they done well. i put them in hives with predrawn comb and honey from the hives that i lost last winter. In just over two months each hive has filled two honey supers so fast that I had to extract already. Good news, now here is the trouble.

One hive swarmed and when i looked into two others they were producing swarm cells and supercede cells. In a bit of a panic i took out four frames from each hive one with a queen cell and put them in two nuc boxes. Not seeing a queen in either original hive I left a queen cell in each.

So if i accidentally made the right decision can i combine the two nucs if either do not have a queen yet? If they do produce queens and the hives produce queens is there any chance to get these nucs up and strong before winter?

When should i start looking for signs of a queen in all the hives? a week? two?

This is my third year beekeeping and each year is throwing up new and interesting problems!

Thanks in advance for any advice!

MCA
 

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When should i start looking for signs of a queen in all the hives? a week? two?
Longer. Check your bee math:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm

Typically, a hive will swarm right before a new queen is about to emerge. Then you've got about two weeks before the new queen is mated and laying, could be longer. With the queen cells you put in the splits, you don't know when they were capped (yesterday or a week ago) so you could easily add another week to your waiting.

I had a hive swarm three times this spring. After 3 weeks, I saw no sign of a queen so I figured all the swarming left it queenless. Bought a new queen, but when I went to install, I saw some eggs and uncapped brood so I put the new queen in a nuc made up of frames of brood from other hives.
 

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Sure, you can combine if you need to or let them make their own queen. And yes, there's probably time but you'll need to tend it for a while. Plan on overwintering a small colony and don't be afraid to balance stores between colonies as the weather gets cooler. Just don't make ALL the colonies light.
 

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If you give them a frame of eggs/larva you will know right away if they have a queen or not, and it will help to prevent laying worker - if they do have a queen it will help to prevent an age gap in the work force once she starts laying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses. I will peek in all the hives later in the week and see whats what. When i did my manipulation it was so hot and the bees and me were both hot so i may not have been thinking straight.

How late in the year will splits draw comb? That is really my weakest link at this point.

MCA
 

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Swarm control is done by taking the old queen and some brood out and making your nucs with her. That way the old hive thinks the swarm has left. If you leave the old queen in the hive they will usually swarm anyway, despite your efforts to keep them at home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You are correct in your prediction of them still swarming as they did just that this afternoon (or at least one of the hives did). On the up side I was able to catch it and put it into a new hive box. I will feed it like crazy and see what happens with it over the next month.

I took a peak in the hive i was thinking the swarm came from and found two queen cells (which I left) and a gazillion drones (>50% of the bees). So a new issue potentially. I had some foundationless frames which were drawn into brood comb which may have contributed to it or else i had a drone laying worker. Though would they have produced queen cells??

Its enough to drive a person to drink!

MCA
 

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Swarm control is done by taking the old queen and some brood out and making your nucs with her. That way the old hive thinks the swarm has left. If you leave the old queen in the hive they will usually swarm anyway, despite your efforts to keep them at home.
The down side to that is sometimes she goes back to the old hive. This happened to me about a month ago, I knew the hive was going to swarm, I spent over an hour looking for the queen as she is not marked and this hive is 4 deeps tall. Once I found her I put her in the nuc with 4 frames of bees and with zero queen cells. Two days later, the parent hive swarmed. When I checked the nuc, the queen was not in there, so I added a frame of brood from another hive and they began the process of raising a new queen. A friend of mine told me next time once you have her, screen off the nuc with her inside and move the hive out to a different location for a couple of days to prevent her from returning to her original hive.

JAT,
C2
 
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