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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Arghhh! I just went into my strongest hive that made it through winter and discovered 5 big fat swarm cells. 2 of which are recently capped. What should I do now? Split the colony putting the old queen in a NUC with brood, honey, pollen, and a bunch of bees shook in? Maybe even make two splits, one with the old queen, one with swarm cells in it? These bees are in an outyard and I have zero chance of beeing there when they swarm. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Depends on what you are wanting to do? Do you want more hives or do you want to keep that hive strong? Let us know what you are looking for so we can let ya what to do.

Craig
 

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swarm cells and what to do..... im in favor of the running around the house beating on pots and pans personally but you might consider the honking of the truck horn as you drive through town warning of the swarm to come!!!!!!!



HAHAHA thats funny right there!!!!!!

i dont care who ya are!!!

anyhow --

to stop the swarm ( more like delay) is to split the hive into 2-3 new hives - placeing a frame with swarm cells in each split -

take the oridginal queen and place her in a nuc with no brood and about 2lbs of bees - this lack of brood will stop her in her tracks

hope you have a great day !!!!
 

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1. create an artificial swarm by taking the queen, some frames and some bees and create a nuc.

2. Take the swarm cells and make a nuc for each one.

3. Make sure to leave one swarm cell in the parent hive, otherwise you'll be without a queen there. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, What everyone said is pretty much what I expected. Is there anything that can be done to keep the strength of the original hive up?
 

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to try and keep the poputation from swarming you can try and give them room - ie. empty drawn comb- for the queen to lay in but once they build cells and cap them you are going to have a swarm -

now if you can catch the swarm - hive it and then go to the parent hive and remove all of the cells ---every queen cell has to be gone - then take the parent hive and set it on top of the newly swarmed hive body with newspaper between them - but this time keep an eye on the hive and not let then get honey bound


on that note - i think every swarm is caused but honey bound conditions

so if you can avoid honey bounding a hive you can avoid swarms
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I can't say that I disagree about being honey bound. This hive definitely was... I am a second year beek and I overfed the hive in the fall (I miscalculated the target hive weight). I reversed the hive bodies two weeks ago and also pulled some poorly drawn frames from the edges of the hive bodies and put in new frames with foundation (3) mixed in in the center of the top box. The bees are doing a great job of drawing the new foundation but it didn't really relieve the honey-bound condition, as the queen can't lay on foundation.

What SHOULD I have done to unbind the hive? Note: As I've only got one (not so great) season under my belt I do not have any extra drawn empty comb. One of my goals for this season is to get an extra box of deeps drawn.
 

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what can be done is to scrap off the capped honey or syrup - if you are using plasic foundation - and remove it from the hive

this makes the bees remake the cells and the queen will lay in them -

but what i like to do is after i put on my second deeps i wait about 3 weeks or so and check the frames - if they are filling up 2/3 or so i add a super

your first couple years are the hardest since you dont have drawn frames to spare and to get them motivated - its sometimes hard to get the to draw frames - even on a flow -

what you can also do is if you have an outer frame that is capped honey - take it out and extract it - and then stick the uncapped - de honeyed frame back into the brood area - this will buy time also but really the thing is is to give them space before they need it - once they find that they have a limited space they will know that and plan a swarm weeks in advance -

i hope i have gave some pointers
 

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Well, What everyone said is pretty much what I expected. Is there anything that can be done to keep the strength of the original hive up?

You can kill the original queen and all but ONE of the swarm cells.

But you might get some of this: :no:
Which you should ignore.
 

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You can kill the original queen and all but ONE of the swarm cells.

But you might get some of this: :no:
Which you should ignore.[/QUOTE]

if he does this and only this - they will swarm with the first queen to show up

the queen doesnt call the swarm - she is a follower

you really have to take hive management serious - cant really only do it half way or you will have half of your bees in a tree
 

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What makes you so certain they are swarm cells? With only 5 of them, I'd be more inclined to think they are supercedure cells.

The bees are doing a great job of drawing the new foundation but it didn't really relieve the honey-bound condition, as the queen can't lay on foundation.

The queen can lay on partially drawn cells. As soon as the bees start drawing comb on the foundation, the queen can lay in it.

How much brood is there? What is the pattern like? Any chance you injured the queen during your manipulations the other day?

Normally they swarm once a swarm cell has been capped. If they really are swarm cells, since you have 2 capped cells, the bees may already have swarmed.
 

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I had the same problem with the exception that I found out that the hive had swarmed. (Cut me a break folks, my wife is expecting twins and bees aren't my priority anymore...).

So I just accepted the hit and pulled out each frame that had a cell on it, put it with other frames in other hive bodies. With any luck, I'll have taken the two hives in that field to 5 hives. This early in the season smells of success. Just hope my honey doesn't take a hit.

However, you later stated that you wanted to keep the hive strong. If I wanted more hives, I would have done exactly what I described in the previous paragraph. If I would not have, I would have:
1. Ensure the queen is still there and laying. If she isn't laying, it indicates that she's losing weight to prepare for flight.
2. Space the overfilled frames with less filled frames. I like 2 full, 1 less full, 2 full, 1 less full.
2(2). If the hive bodies are just jammed and no thin frames exist, consider spreading the health to other hives.
3. Super it up. More full supers on top, less full or empty supers on bottom. I've even gone to the extent of stacking the supers next to their hive, and brushing off overpopulated frames directly on the supers. (Make sure the queen isn't on the frame when brushed.

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I decided to go out and take some action this afternoon. I took two NUC boxes with me and 10 new pierco frames with an extra coat of beeswax. Here is what I found and did (for better or worse, I am often not sure...)

My intent for the 1st nuc was to find the old queen and confine her to a nuc with a bunch of bees, some honey and pollen and a frame or two of foundation, no brood.

My intent for the 2nd nuc was to put in two frames of honey and pollen, 2 frames of capped brood and a frame that has two nicely made, big, fat, supercedure cells. One newly capped, one not almost.

When I began going throught the hive I immediately noticed that the bees were much more jittery than normal. Also, all the queen cells I found, with the exception of one, were supercedure cells in the middle of the frames of the upper hive body. Also, between honey and brood the hive was completely bound from wall to wall, in both hive bodies, about 50% of each.

I looked through all of the frames, twice, I could not find my big fat queen with the bright green dot on her back. I am really good at locating queens, so this combined with the jittery bees makes me think she's not there. Also, I didn't find any eggs or brood younger than about 6 or 7 days old. This hive was also wall to wall bees in both boxes so I don't think they swarmed yet. The queen must have sponturgically disappeared.

So what I ended up doing was loading each nuc with honey, pollen, brood, one partially drawn frame to give the bees something to do, and at least 2 queen cells. Then I shook a couple of frames of extra bees into each nuc (which was good for getting me stung a couple of times).

For the original hive, I put the remaining 10 frames all in the bottom hive body, making sure that there were at least two queen cells and filled the top hive body with new foundation.

So now I have a hive and 2 nucs, all with at least two queen cells, where I used to have one booming hive.

In my short time as a beekeeper (2nd year) I have discovered that it is really hard to know if your doing the right thing. I read and read, plan and prepare, and at the end of the day I still feel like a dope! I hope I haven't done more harm than good here... I guess a couple of weeks will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A few thoughts...

The lessons I'm taking from this hive are that I need to be more careful when feeding in the fall. If a hive is honey bound I need to be proactive and do something about it, and when the weather is nice and unseasonably warm, as it has been in the northeast, instead of thoughtlesly enjoying the nice weather I need to be thinking about the fact that the bees are being accellerated just like all the plants. The bloom in Rhode Island is easily two weeks ahead of scheduleand the bees are doing really great (unlike last year).
 
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