Unfortunately I have yet to experience anything that has worked as a 100% sure swarm prevention measure, but splitting out the queen and removing ALL of the swarm cells is the best I have tried. Sounds like you are at least making increase this year though, which is a big deal in the long run.David,
I did a cut down a few weeks ago (I called you and you walked me through it). The original hive ended up swarming last weekend. I was able to capture that swarm and they have filled the mediums that they were placed in. The original hive was left with maybe half, or so, bees and have very little honey in the supers. As for the queen in her new home...she is steadily increasing her numbers.
Same breed of queen (hive) next to her (no swarm, no split, no cut down) has doubled what I thought they would put up. And, I've been able to make a new queen from her by robbing some eggs.
Around April 15 From a big strong hive that is showing signs of getting swarmy I remove the queen, and any frame that is more than 50% open brood. To that I add a frame of empty comb and sufficient food stores to sustain the "nuc" until it establishes foragers - extra food may not be needed if the brood frames contain enough.please describe exactly how you make up your splits (number of frames of each: brood, pollen, honey)
A big strong hive with lots of swarm cells will often swarm even if you remove the queen - possibly multiple swarms all with virgin queens. The queen will often swarm from the nuc if you leave a cell in it. The main thing about a cultured cell in this case is that you know how old it is, and when the resultant queen should be mated so that you can test for queenrightness and take timely action."In the future I may remove all cells and add a ripe cultured cell"
Why would you think that adding your own cell would be somehow better than the swarm cell the parent colony has raised? And why would you attempt to remove some cells and leave others behind?
it's more like only 12 days difference between adding a ripe cell vs. letting them make an emergency queen, and those extra 12 days make be helpful in pushing them past the timeline for swarming, plus it will leave the colony broodless which may make them think twice about swarming after the split, and may help to decrease the mite count.
I agree with all of that. The most productive hives for me are usually the ones that for some reason don't swarm naturally. But the ones that swarm before the flow are the least productive.I have noticed a huge difference in comb building when I don't have a laying queen in residence. If they already have empty drawn comb they fill every available cell but they draw new comb reluctantly even with a heavy flow. The minute they have a new queen they start drawing like crazy. Due to this I had wondered about how cut down splits would get a better honey yield. I guess this is why they talk about drawn comb being so valuable. Kinda hard to come by when you are fairly new and have KTBHs (crush and strain if I ever get any surplus).
"I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood,and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." - Excerpt from The road not traveled by Robert Frost.Come on over to the dark side Colleen. KTBH's are an advanced skill set. Life is easier in a Langstroth. As he waits for the outraged shrieks!