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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Three of my hives are pretty close to full capacity on both deep boxes. We've had a mild winter and they're exploding. Two days ago I removed a few queen cells (empty) and rotated boxes, and also swapped out two frames of (mostly brood) from each of those three hives with empty comb from other less-full hives. That was done to hopefully give them some space until I can go back this weekend.

It will be in the 70's most days the next couple of weeks after tomorrow, so my plan is to add a super or two to each of those full hives this Saturday.
Will the supers (plus the rotation and queen cell removal) be enough to reduce swarming potential?

Thanks for any help.
 

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I think I would add another deep box. Judging from last years hard freeze in late April, I would not discount the possibility of a repeat occurrence. I would let them continue to build out the added deep box and give the weather a few more weeks before doing any splits. I would leave the hive insulation on until then as well. That is what I am doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hadn't remembered the late April hard freeze... thanks.
I'm really hoping to avoid splitting them if possible, to maximize honey yield. I wonder if adding a couple of supers would still serve the purpose you mention, but they'd be building out future honey comb... and I can add an excluder after they've built it out...?
 

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At some point as the hive continues to build up in population it is going to swarm. You can pretty well count on that. When the weather has warmed and past any chance of a hard freeze if you are uncomfortable splitting them, why not just do a walk away split. just make sure both boxes have a decent amount of uncapped brood, especially young uncapped brood. I have pretty good results doing it that way and about 90% requeen themselves.

If you don't split them, they will swarm eventually if you don't regularly inspect the hive and remove any swarm cells.

The bees will make more honey from a single deep hive than from a double or triple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
At some point as the hive continues to build up in population it is going to swarm. You can pretty well count on that. When the weather has warmed and past any chance of a hard freeze if you are uncomfortable splitting them, why not just do a walk away split. just make sure both boxes have a decent amount of uncapped brood, especially young uncapped brood. I have pretty good results doing it that way and about 90% requeen themselves.

If you don't split them, they will swarm eventually if you don't regularly inspect the hive and remove any swarm cells.
Hmmm... ok... I'm actually in the process of attempting queen grafting, so could be able to give the split a queen sooner that way... And would you consider weekly inspections (and removal of swarm cells) regular enough?
 

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I'd shoot for five day intervals, because that way if you are delayed a day by weather you still have a tiny cushion. I scrape off all queen cups at every five day inspection, mostly so I know that I've zeroed their efforts back out. (though I know they probably replace the cups overnight. I do not pull frames to look for cells, just tip each box up and look underneath it. Finding queen cells (anything with any royal jelly is a queen cell, from cup to peanut sized), OTOH, moves my plans along to what i can to affirmatively STOP the swarming process, which is already underway by the time you see them. (See below for reference to Snelgrove board.)

Are the supers drawn comb? If yes, add at once!

If not, then I think I would use MattDavey's technique of opening the sides of the brood nest while simultaneously adding another deep box to contain the frames you had to move out to make room for the partial foundation frames. Put the moved frames in the center of the newly added deep, fill the rest with undrawn, or partially drawn or whatever you can cob together. Give them room, and a reason to make comb right next to the brood nest.

In your situation I would also order double-screen boards (Snelgrove boards) ASAP, and study-up on how to use them. They allow you to get very close the swarm point and still make a reliably swarm-preempting split. You should google: The Many Uses of a Snelgrove Board by Wally Shaw. The document you're looking for is all text, no pictures. Use Method #1 to split the hive before you have well-developed queen cells. Use Method #2 if you discover cells that are nearly capped. Because this is vertical split, you can always recombine the two parts (interrupting the re-queening process before she goes out to mate). Don't be daunted by the sets of e doors, they are easy to understand and work with once you have a board in hand. The process is very straightforward, though it is a bit exacting.

Re grafting do you already have lots of drones?

(I write extensively about using a Snelgrove board in the spring; so a search on my user name may turn up last year's detailed descriptions of how to do it. If you can't find it, post back and I'll take another crack at it this year.)

Nancy
 

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Hmmm... ok... I'm actually in the process of attempting queen grafting, so could be able to give the split a queen sooner that way... And would you consider weekly inspections (and removal of swarm cells) regular enough?
Just curious, why would you "try" to graft and then cut out the queen cells? If you open a 2 deep, and find queen cells and wish for increase, Why not do a 4 way split, 3 with cells and 1 with the old queen? In NUCs or 8 frame or 10 frame what ever you have room for. I leave my better hives a little tight in the spring and check often and do multi splits on the first queen cells. you do need to watch them but you are going in to watch and cut any way, so prep some empty stuff and use the swarm cells. Unless you wish to play around with grafting, or need many queens. just put 1 frame of stores , 1 frame with brood , 1 frame with queen cell and one other , the cell is 6-9 days old if you check weekly and the time to set up the cell builder you can apply to making frames or some other task. either way good luck
GG
 
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