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New hive, about 7 weeks old. We are using 10 frame mediums. Due to weather and scheduling issues we were slow to get our 3rd box on. When we went out today to inspect and put on the 3rd box, I noticed several frames with swarm cells and some drone cells. We checker boarded the established boxes with empty frames and put on the 3rd box. We saw the queen, larvae, and more capped brood. I am getting ready to order more boxes/frames for supers but am considering just ordering a second complete hive set just in case.

How likely will the checkerboarding frames prevent a swarm? Should a force the split and hope for the best on that 2nd hive? It seems crazy to me that such a young hive could be split- but it has done very well in our beautiful Savannah springtime!

Thanks.

Jeanine
 

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Drone cells should bee normal. Were the "swarm cells" small cups or longer peanut shaped cells with larva in them? I'm assuming they weren't capped yet. If the cells were longer with larva or capped, the hive is in swarm mode and short of creating a split with your "old" queen and frames of brood to make the hive think it's swarmed, you may be too late. If you saw the queen the cells probably are uncapped since the hive usually swarms before queen cells are capped or as soon as they are capped. I would order another complete hive so you're prepared in case you get a swarm, whether from your hive or somewhere else. The bees do what they want to do in spite of what we do most of the time. Good luck!
 

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Checkerboarding is done with frames of drawn comb and if you have swarm cells with larvae, eggs or capped, your colony is going to swarm, possibly no matter what you do. Do these swarm cells look like peanuts and do the ones not capped but with a larvae in them appear to be dusted with powdered sugar? If the queen has not left with a swarm, I would take her and three or four of the medium frames of brood and bees and put them in their own box immediately. You cannot wait for a hive kit. Two pieces of plywood one for bottom and top and a 1" diameter hole bored below the handhold on the box withll serve until you can make or buy a cover and bottom board. Now make sure you take no swarm cells with the queen and of those remaining in the original colony, reduce there number to two on one frame. The new virgin queen doesn't need the extra work of running all over the hive to kill her rivals. Replacing the frames that went with the queen and a new box should relieve the population pressure that caused them to prepare to swarm. If you have capped swarm cells, you should have a laying queen in three to four weeks. Since this hive raising a queen has no brood to feed, they will be storing a lot of honey so be sure to have room available.
 

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Drone cells should bee normal. Were the "swarm cells" small cups or longer peanut shaped cells with larva in them? I'm assuming they weren't capped yet. If the cells were longer with larva or capped, the hive is in swarm mode and short of creating a split with your "old" queen and frames of brood to make the hive think it's swarmed, you may be too late. If you saw the queen the cells probably are uncapped since the hive usually swarms before queen cells are capped or as soon as they are capped. I would order another complete hive so you're prepared in case you get a swarm, whether from your hive or somewhere else. The bees do what they want to do in spite of what we do most of the time. Good luck!
I agree 100%
 

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Drones make no difference, generally strong hives will produce more. Week hives will act as a sanctuary for them.

Were the swarm cells caped, sounds like you saw queen cups which is common.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The cells were not capped. 2nd Hive is being ordered right now. I hope it gets here in time if I need it, but if not I will have my supers and the start of a hive for next year.
 
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