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I bought a hive from a first year beek last Fall who discovered the hard way that he is allergic to bee stings. The hive had been started by him from a package that Spring, and was two 10-frame deeps when I bought it.

I took the hive home and horsed it up the stairs to my rooftop apiary, nearly killing myself in the process due to its weight.

It went into Winter with a large cluster. It came out of Winter with an even larger cluster, and had started brooding-up sometime around February 1st.

Last year, I was a little lackadaisical about early season inspections, and I had one hive throw off a bunch of swarms to finally exhaust itself and eventually die. I don't want that to happen again, so starting im mid-February, I have been checking my hives and inserting foundationless frames into the middle of the brood chambers where necessary. With this particular hive, that means I have inserted such frames about every 2 weeks since mid-February. More specifically, the brood chamber of this hive spans 2 10-frame deeps, and thus I insert one frame into the lower deep and one frame into the upper deep every two weeks. This weekend I will insert the third pair of frames. This hive is now at 23 deep frames solid-with-bees and about 8 deep frames of capped brood. We barely have anything blooming right now, too.

My goal this year is to prevent swarming (of course), and maximize honey yield from my apiary. However, this hive is so big so soon in the season, that I am worried that my "opening the brood nest" efforts will be too paltry to suppress this big and robust girl's swarm instinct, and I am going to end up with multiple swarms of bees in my neighbor's trees. My neighbors won't be happy, and I will lose a majority of these bees.

My question is: should I give up on the "opening the brood nest" method of swarm prevention and do something more drastic but more likely to prevent swarming such as a cut-down split or a walk-away split? Any other method to keep this hive growing but under control and in my apiary?

I do understand that this is a good problem to have.
 

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My goal this year is to prevent swarming (of course), and maximize honey yield from my apiary. However, this hive is so big so soon in the season, that I am worried that my "opening the brood nest" efforts will be too paltry to suppress this big and robust girl's swarm instinct, and I am going to end up with multiple swarms of bees in my neighbor's trees. My neighbors won't be happy, and I will lose a majority of these bees.

My question is: should I give up on the "opening the brood nest" method of swarm prevention and do something more drastic but more likely to prevent swarming such as a cut-down split or a walk-away split? Any other method to keep this hive growing but under control and in my apiary?

I do understand that this is a good problem to have.
If you want to maximize honey, then opening up the brood nest will give you the best results. A cut down split should stop them from swarming but as for swarm control, it is like a last ditch effort. With a cutdown split, you should still get a honey crop.

Having never done a walk away split, I can't comment on them. Since I don't have a lot of hives, I favor cutdowns. You should still get honey, and a modest increase as well. For me cutdowns are a safe way to split, the only issue is, you really need to check the hive/hives once a week. Not a problem with 10 or so hives. When I reach 20+ hives, cutdowns will consume too much time.

Shane
 

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I would think about doing a cut down split. Move the queen out into a new deep with some brood and nurse bees along with some honey and pollen and let her build up again. The original hive can now raise a quality daughter from swarm cells if they are present or from new eggs left behind. The original hive will have all the retuning field bees so the original hive should provide a honey crop too.
 
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