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Discussion Starter #1
One of my hives (a deep and 3 mediums) has swarmed at least 2X in the past couple of weeks. Possibly another time, even. So ... when I inspect again (I'm certain the population will've gone down majorly), should I compress the hive? Maybe a deep and 1 medium?
 

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I'd be going into the hive sooner than later and adjusting the real estate to fit the population, whatever the final configuration might be. The shb and wax moths love a small colony with lots of minimally protected real estate and will quickly exploit the opportunity
 

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I'd be going into the hive sooner than later and adjusting the real estate to fit the population, whatever the final configuration might be. The shb and wax moths love a small colony with lots of minimally protected real estate and will quickly exploit the opportunity
Roger that, Eikel; today's cool and damp, but tomorrow's 2b sunny and warm, so .... I guess that's my target date.

Mitch
 

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If you have swarm weather, a lot of sliming can happen in 24 hrs. I'd be at least popping the top for a look see and doing at least an initial removing/freezing any excess frames/boxes soonest.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Mitch, make a note of when you think the bees swarmed this year and make sure that you have taken preventative measures well before that date next year. Creating your own artificial swarm by yanking the queen out to start a nuc is a pretty much sure fire way to curb the swarming tendency. At least it has worked for me these past two years.
 

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Ditto what JWPalmer said. Also, are you sure they were all swarms and no supercedure? I have one hive that already decided to requeen and they requeened mid-last year. That genetic line is going to be culled. Have you checked your other hives? They may need manipulated to prevent them from swarming.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mitch, make a note of when you think the bees swarmed this year and make sure that you have taken preventative measures well before that date next year. Creating your own artificial swarm by yanking the queen out to start a nuc is a pretty much sure fire way to curb the swarming tendency. At least it has worked for me these past two years.
Hi, JW -- I vaguely recall that an artificial swarm could be made, but I'm shaky re: "yanking the queen out". How's that done? Is she put somewhere to be placed back later? If so, couldn't that potentially lead to her death (in a queen cage with only a few attendants; due to cold or whatever)? Or ... am I missing something totally here?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If you have swarm weather, a lot of sliming can happen in 24 hrs. I'd be at least popping the top for a look see and doing at least an initial removing/freezing any excess frames/boxes soonest.
Thx -- I'm gonna have to ruminate on that; may have to just risk it. Checking them in mist/rain and late in the day ... sounds kinda daunting to me.
 

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Ditto what JWPalmer said. Also, are you sure they were all swarms and no supercedure? I have one hive that already decided to requeen and they requeened mid-last year. That genetic line is going to be culled. Have you checked your other hives? They may need manipulated to prevent them from swarming.
Not sure how to interpret this; would telling the difference involve inspecting the frames for the specific types of cells? For reasons I've cited in old posts, I didn't check the frames in a # of hive bodies of the 2 big hives (involved super-hard propolis, damaging the hive bodies themselves while struggling to pry up the frames [I didn't have a j-hook hive tool at the time], etc. at end-of-winter -- and not thinking clearly enough to lean the boxes sideways to see if swarm cells were present!).
I'm going in deep with both big hives either today or tomorrow and take everything apart, if needed. If my biggest hive (a deep and 4 mediums) hasn't swarmed yet -- and maybe even if it has -- I mos' def' need to check everything closely....... I'd really like to get a harvest this year, but with all this swarming, it's beginning to not look a lot like Xmas.
 

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Yes, when you do go in look for the type of cells. If the queen cells are along the bottoms of the frames - swarm, in middle of frames- replacing queen. If you find a packed hive, good laying queen, and swarm cells, you can cut the cells out and expand the hive to get them out of the mood. I suggest checkerboarding out into additional boxes to encourage them to go up there immediately.
 

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Yes, when you do go in look for the type of cells. If the queen cells are along the bottoms of the frames - swarm, in middle of frames- replacing queen. If you find a packed hive, good laying queen, and swarm cells, you can cut the cells out and expand the hive to get them out of the mood. I suggest checkerboarding out into additional boxes to encourage them to go up there immediately.
Appreciated; I'd forgotten all about checkerboarding. I have mucho planning to do to have everything ready I may need (boxes, frames (w/ and w/o foundation), traps, syrup (just-in-case), etc. And I'm noticing that 2 of my 4 bait boxes're showing lots of activity today. Wondering if maybe some of The Girls have taken up in 1 or the other. Have to start spying on 'em to detect pollen coming in, if any ....

Mitch
 

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Mitch, make a note of when you think the bees swarmed this year and make sure that you have taken preventative measures well before that date next year. Creating your own artificial swarm by yanking the queen out to start a nuc is a pretty much sure fire way to curb the swarming tendency. At least it has worked for me these past two years.
yup this is the ticket at least in the short term.
There are other strategies for preventing swarming but doing this certainly works for me in a pinch.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
yup this is the ticket at least in the short term.
There are other strategies for preventing swarming but doing this certainly works for me in a pinch.
OK, Aran -- does this mean I basically create a new hive by placing the queen -- if I can find her; a neat trick, and 1 I'm not so great at -- into a nuc with brood/stores frames from another hive [or the one she's originally from?] and letting the bees in the original colony create a new queen? Also, I have to destroy all swarm cells but not supercedure cells I find?
 

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Now you're catching on. It is a new hive altogether with the old queen. Depending on how strong the original hive was, you can either make a strong nuc or another full sized hive. Move the new hive to another location even in the same yard and leave the original, now queenless hive, in the same spot. Cut out any cells you find on the frames you are transfering, but leave any cells on the ones staying behind in the donor hive. Hardest part of this just finding the queen. If you leave the queen in the old hive by mistake, you might get a walkaway split, but the original hive will probably still swarm.
 

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Now you're catching on. It is a new hive altogether with the old queen. Depending on how strong the original hive was, you can either make a strong nuc or another full sized hive. Move the new hive to another location even in the same yard and leave the original, now queenless hive, in the same spot. Cut out any cells you find on the frames you are transfering, but leave any cells on the ones staying behind in the donor hive. Hardest part of this just finding the queen. If you leave the queen in the old hive by mistake, you might get a walkaway split, but the original hive will probably still swarm.
OK -- makes perfect sense to me; elegant in its simplicity, maybe. The queen-hunting is gonna be the real issue. Thx much ....

Mitch
 

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OK -- makes perfect sense to me; elegant in its simplicity, maybe. The queen-hunting is gonna be the real issue. Thx much ....

Mitch
To avoid finding the queen; Move the original hive and make the new hive in the old spot adding a swarm cell or 2 back to the old location. Use a similar looking hive body if you can, even an empty body over an inner cover.
Expand the old hive if that looks right.
 

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Walk away splits are great if you want another hive. However, they do slow down the progress of a production hive. Not as much total slow down in the yard as a swarm that gets away, but it is something to take into consideration. If you don't want to split all your hives, start early checkerboarding in boxes. Three+/- weeks before your first swarm can keep them from going into that mode. Keep an eye on them. As soon as they have a good bit of it filling in, add another. Mine are drawing out comb, so I'm adding every two weeks, but with more bees that time frame is shrinking.
 

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I don't mean to throw a wrench into things by further complicating things for you but I have to object to what is being said here about "the differences between swarm and supercedure cells". The mere position of the cells on the frame don't tell you if they are swarm or supercedure. You need to look at and understand what is going on in the hive to understand what kind of cells they are. Supercedure cells are usually located on center of frame and there will only be a few of them all roughly the same age. Its done to replace a queen they perceive to be failing or subpar. Usually they will keep the queen alive till the virgin mates and is laying. From what you have said I would suspect your hive is Swarming. It's done for reproduction and overcrowding but I would suspect mostly reproduction. The cells can be located along the bottom, usually lots of them, but they can also be along the face of the frame. They are purpose built cells wherever they are where as emergency cells are modified worker cell. Hope this helps to clear things up slightly.
I really don't want to turn this into another rehash of the differences in Swarm, Supercedure, and Emergency queen cells. However it seems to constantly be an issue that is misunderstood by those "teaching" others. Micheal Bush has a great write up on the differences on his website. I looked real quick but didn't see it and I have to get going but maybe he will chime in and link it up for you. Best of luck
 

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I don't mean to throw a wrench into things by further complicating things for you but I have to object to what is being said here about "the differences between swarm and supercedure cells". The mere position of the cells on the frame don't tell you if they are swarm or supercedure. You need to look at and understand what is going on in the hive to understand what kind of cells they are. Supercedure cells are usually located on center of frame and there will only be a few of them all roughly the same age. Its done to replace a queen they perceive to be failing or subpar. Usually they will keep the queen alive till the virgin mates and is laying. From what you have said I would suspect your hive is Swarming. It's done for reproduction and overcrowding but I would suspect mostly reproduction. The cells can be located along the bottom, usually lots of them, but they can also be along the face of the frame. They are purpose built cells wherever they are where as emergency cells are modified worker cell. Hope this helps to clear things up slightly.
I really don't want to turn this into another rehash of the differences in Swarm, Supercedure, and Emergency queen cells. However it seems to constantly be an issue that is misunderstood by those "teaching" others. Micheal Bush has a great write up on the differences on his website. I looked real quick but didn't see it and I have to get going but maybe he will chime in and link it up for you. Best of luck
Yes, that is a more detailed description, but for a newbie too much info at once can be overwhelming. If you don't like the oversimplification you are welcome to expand on it, however, you do not need to be demeaning to do so.
 
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