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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did a Snelgrove pre-swarm split on one of my bigger hives in mid-May and it's about time to check the hive. By now the top hive should have a laying queen. I want to ask for any input to help me think this through before I inspect. This requires some familiarity with Snelgrove manipulations..

I want to keep the upper hive with new queen for the moment in case there's another hive that might need requeening. Some thoughts and questions:

1) If I move the top hive (which got the brood from below, and made an emergency queen) to another part of the same beeyard, most bees will return to the stack that they were on top of, meaning they'll go into the parent hive. So to compensate for this loss of field bees I'm thinking I'll need to add some brood from another hive, that may be covered with nurse bees.


2) I haven't done any intentional requeening in my beekeeping years. Second year queens are said to be more swarmy and thus people requeen their colonies every year. So I'm not sure, if I want to give a colony a new queen to reduce their swarm impulse, does that have to happen before or during swarm season? If I requeen a hive now, after the solstice, when the population is on the decline, will this cause less swarm impulse next year, or will the queen still act like a 2 year old queen and be more likely to swarm?


Any thoughts welcomed.
 

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I dont think you can pinpoint precisely the odds of next years swarming. The age factor from a year older queen vs the natural variation between two different queens. A coin toss? You will still have to do swarm inspection or pre emptive Snelgrove board installations next year. I usually make the move before they threaten. Probably give up some honey production but I prefer that to the disappointment of losing a swarm.

Why not put your top box with new queen down on the existing bottom board (She will not have much brood yet as she will have been laying for only a short time) and move the bottom box across the yard to the new location. The new queen will get the flybacks from the moved hive.

After a few days you can manually swap frames to get the balance you want. With both hive's laying queens mother and daughter they can also be swapped with only minimal concern. Lots of possibilities with Snelgroves board!

I have similar decisions to make with one setup. The old queen is in the top box though and just checked and the new queen has laid the first eggs in the bottom. Board installed on the 2nd June to today the 27th.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Why not put your top box with new queen down on the existing bottom board (She will not have much brood yet as she will have been laying for only a short time) and move the bottom box across the yard to the new location. The new queen will get the flybacks from the moved hive.

After a few days you can manually swap frames to get the balance you want. With both hive's laying queens mother and daughter they can also be swapped with only minimal concern. Lots of possibilities with Snelgroves board!

That is an excellent suggestion, Frank. I had not thought to do that but it makes sense. I can't have any more hives in that particular yard, so I'll likely move the bottom hive (which is the parent hive) to another location in the same neighborhood. The only real impediment now: the four supers that I have to lift off to get to the hive below. I would like to have to do that only once, but I do feel it's past time to check on that hive. Haven't looked into it since I did the Snelgrove board manipulation in mid-May.
 

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Good advice by Frank. If you decide to requeen, I would not be concerned that it is post solstice. Many requeen in the Fall. I do think requeening during a flow helps acceptance.
Another option is to keep the hive above the board and use it as a resource hive throughout your season to assist your other hives. At the end of the season,use the queen to requeen the hive below or any other and then remove the board to combine the hives. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So an update: today was my first inspection of the Snelgroved hive. I used a queen rearing calendar and today was day 34 /35 after I split the colony into two. Found capped brood already (!) in the portion that made their own queen. I followed the suggestion to put that colony on the bottom board of the parent hive. The colony that was below, which kept the original queen and got a box full of new foundation to work with is quite populous. I brought them to another location. I can use them as a resource hive for this year and then may choose to keep them going next year as a regular honey production hive.

One question for anyone who cares to give their two cents: The hive that I moved will lose all or most of its field bees, since those will return to the parent hive. It's very populous. We are kind of in a white clover flow now - the main flow is over but the rains have been assuring a good white clover nectar source, which means a steady trickle of nectar coming in. I'm wondering if I should go ahead an give this hive a super. They are super crowded as it is. I don't know if they'll draw comb this time of year - I could give a mix of foundation and drawn comb, or just try a box of drawn comb.


I think the honey production from this hive may have suffered a bit, but since this was mainly an experiment in doing the Snelgrove preemptive swarm split, I can call it a good learning experience and a success. I feel more confident about using this approach in the future!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update : the lower hive (the parent with original queen) that I moved to a location about 3/4 mile away is bursting with bees and some seem to be bringing in pollen, the day after moving it. So the idea that all the field bees would fly back to the parent hive isn't necessarily correct. Whoever was with the hive, whether flying or nurse bees, seems to have stuck around. Just thought I'd share that...
 
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