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I went into my strongest hive for the first time since mid-June today. We're in a drought and the dearth hit in early June this year, so I was not too worried about them. I simply wanted to see how things were going, maybe do a powered sugar dump and record how many frames of honey they had.

They are in 2 deeps and 1 medium. Both deeps were half full of honey, 3 or 4 frames of pollen, lots of drone cells (comparatively speaking), a fair amount of capped worker brood and some larva. Never found the queen or saw eggs (it was late in the afternoon and hard to see.)

But, I did find 8 capped queen cells. I found another 4 or 5 that appeared torn open. I have no idea if these were just failures or a bunch of virgins were running around and maybe my queen already hit the road.

Regardless, I decided to act (and this is what I am looking for comments on.) I decided to go ahead and split them. I'm guessing that I will need to feed both hives later in August or so (and maybe sooner), but I figured I might as well try to take advantage of all of these queens coming along.

Would other folks here have done differently? Just let them work it out and swarm/supercede, since it is so late in the year? Or maybe try to destroy the queen cells (although this seems futile, since one of the torn open ones probably means a virgin is around).

At any rate, just looking for feedback or critiques here. This is only my second year, so it's the first time I have come across swarm cells at the end of July...
 

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I am located in Stafford, Va and run Rock Hill HB Farms outside of Quantico. First I dont know if you are a member of the Ashland Club but let me tell you if you are not join them. They are a fantastic group and wonderful people.

Conventional wisdom says that once a hive indicates it is about to swarm there is little one can do to deviate it from its intentions. It is imperative that the beek take immediate action to alleviate the symptoms so to speak or risk the swarm. That being said, your options are (were since the post is a bit old) do nothing and swarm; or make a split and see what happens. If it were my bees, I would take the chance with the split and see what happens.

Again check into the Ashland club if you need the info PM me. I have met some really great people and now that I know you are down there the next time I get a swarm call I will refer it to you if you that type of work.

All the best,

Jerry Mattiaccio
 

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Thanks, Jerry.

I belong to the Richmond Beekeepers and the East Richmond Beekeepers. I had not heard of the Ashland club, but will investigate (I am a bee fanatic.)

I did split the hive, but the split that didn't receive the foragers had a really tough time. The population dropped so low that they couldn't defend all of the frames and ended up with wax moths on half of them. The 'hive' is now in a Nuc that I am going to try to overwinter.

This experience, along with a couple of other Nuc's that I tried to start in July, has me leary of trying July splits again, at least not when we are in a drought or until I have a yard dedicated solely to Nuc's. Even though I fed them, they constantly battled thieves and (lastly) wax moths (some SHB).

Compared to my May and June Nuc's, the July Nuc's (and a July swarm) that I had all did very poorly or perished.

I am sure that I will try July splits again, but I will probably do them less then others.
 
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