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Discussion Starter #1
I discovered our oldest and largest hive in mid swarm yesterday. Stood and watched the "Bee-Nado" as they left the box, and flew in the cloud until they settled onto a branch some 40' up on an Oak tree. Pretty large swarm I'd estimate at 6 to 7 pounds easy. They stayed for about 25 minutes, then I'm seeing the box where they came from is getting covered again with bees. I'm thinking after swarm. But instead it was those bees coming back to the hive. It took them another 30 minutes to get back in and settle. Some remained on the front, some made a small beard on the front.
This hive has filled one Super (10 frame shallow capped) and has two shallow Supers in process, un-drawn wax foundation. We pulled the finished Super last week, and added one back on. We had not done a deep inspection on this hive for a long time, perhaps even 6 weeks. There are two full deeps on a SBB. Their numbers are strong. Overwintered hive, and Queen is hatch-out from swarm of this package install from June '13.

Questions:
Would it be best to split this hive?
Take a couple frames of eggs, larvae, brood, (1) honey and pollen and start another box with this queen?

If we go into the hive and do a deep inspection and find swarm cells, capped queen cells, can we take some
of those and put them into Nucs with a frame of eggs, larvae, and brood (bees with frames)?

Why would they swarm, cluster nearby, and then return to the hive? Temperature was low 90's, high humidity felt like upper 90's, pop up rain/thunderstorms, passing overcast skys.

If we do these things mentioned above, I would pull the supers and store them until a time where I can put them back onto
a good strong hive, in a good flow situation.

TIA
 

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It is common for the bees to do a practice run of sorts. they even leave without the queen sometimes and return. In any event, I would get in the hive and find her majesty. cage her, and take an entire 10 frame body adjust the frames so it has stores, open comb, and brood (Make sure there are no queen cells. If so destroy them,) with a good bunch of the bees close it up, and move it better than 2 miles Install the queen. and add a second. I would then take the remaining hive and make two splits from it, making sure there are queen cells in each hive. Give them room to grow.

I would then cross my fingers and monitor them hoping I have confused them into thinking they have swarmed. and need to prepare for winter now. If it works the bees will go crazy building and storing honey.
 

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BeePappy, its an ambivolent sight to see the wonder of bees swarming, but when they are swarming from your hive, there is a sense of loss.

One more option you have is to perform an artificial swarm. You can read and watch here, here, and here.

The advantage for a hobbyist in using this method is that you have two hives, all the bees you started with, in one location within three feet of the original hive. Additionally, the queen and her foragers will build comb like crazy if there is a continued flow (feed them and it will help). HTH :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you Tenbears and Lburou.
We did the double split with this hive. Lots of bees in this hive, I wish some of the others looked this good. Lucky to see this swarm happen.
Last evening we also did a newspaper combine with a swarm hive caught 4 weeks ago that had built up good strength. We put it with a colony that was queenless, and had
nothing going for it but nectar collection, and some solid honey stores. This evening I'm seeing small bits of newspaper out on the front porch, and a bunch of happy bees.
It's been a busy weekend here.
 
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