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Hi, beginning beekeeper here. I have 2 warre hives. Installed them from packages about May 1st, in northern Illinois. Set them up with 2 hive boxes. Everything has looked fine, 2 weeks ago both colonies had filled all of the first box with comb. Today as I walked back I saw them swarm up to a tree then take off. Looked like out of one hive, was hard to see. So my wife and I added a box under each hive to make it 3. We saw that the hive that swarmed had not even started any comb in the second box, so for 2 weeks they had no room to grow in the first. Why did they not move on to the 2nd box? And now should we remove the 3rd box? The hive that did not swarm only had a little comb started in the 2nd, does not seem like they need the 3rd box yet, but I don't want to be too late. Thanks. Attaching pics of the hives from underneath the second box.

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Bees swarm because it is their instinct to do so, and the only way they could reproduce, until humans started messing with them.

Warre boxes are tiny, around 1/2 the cubic area of a langstroth. So the package was jammed into one box. If there was a good nectar flow they would have built downwards into the bottom box, but if there was a light flow or a dearth they are not so keen to build new comb and instead swarmed. Bees are slower to build downwards than upwards if a box with foundation is put on top. If they have to build downwards they get more congested and are more prone to swarm.

All this is completely natural of course and is the way it works in a tree. Which is why wild hives in a tree, and Warre hives, are much more swarm prone than a langstroth hive, which under standard Langstroth management is designed to inhibit swarming behaviours.

If you run a Warre hive, using nadiring and foundationless boxes, you are going to get swarming.
 
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