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I'm starting my third season in central SC. I have three overwintered hives. I split one into three and intended to leave the other two intact to get a spring honey crop.

I've been feeding my two "honey hives" pretty aggressively and I had them both booming and stuffed with bees in 3 mediums (I use all medium 10-frame equipment).

The flow starts any day now and I stopped feeding the two boomers last week and added a super of new undrawn frames to each one waiting for them to get busy when the flow starts.

Today one of them swarmed. I caught the swarm so now I have another hive but I thought if I gave them room that this wouldn't happen. Is is because we're still in a nectar dearth and I gave them new frames? They had plenty of room...

Any thoughts on what I could have done better?
 

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"I've been feeding my two "honey hives" pretty aggressively and I had them both booming and stuffed with bees in 3 mediums (I use all medium 10-frame equipment"

Brood nest is probably plugged with syrup. Open it up and check. Cut out all but the best 1 or 2 of the remaining swarm cells. Bees see drawn comb as more space.
 

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i agree with mcon that providing syrup helped to throw the colony into swarm mode. the colony likely interpreted the syrup availability as a super strong nectar flow providing good conditions for swarming.

foundation isn't seen as more room to the bees in the same way drawn comb is, and it's a little early in the season for new wax production.

my experience has been pretty much the same described by the late walt wright, in that new wax production usually doesn't start until after swarming or after a colony decides not to swarm.

a lot of what i understand about swarming comes from walt's manuscript:

https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?348163-pdf-version-of-walt-wright-s-manuscript

this swarm prevention method requires having drawn comb on hand. here is another swarm prevention method useful for those not having extra drawn comb:

https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?351975-Want-Swarm-Prevention-Try-the-OSBN-Method
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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>and it's a little early in the season for new wax production.<

Huh? SP, my bees have already rewarded me with several frames of newly drawn comb. Richmond is still much cooler than either bama or SC so not sure that is an accurate assesment. I think they ran out of room as mentioned. Three mediums and heavy feed does not leave much room for brooding.
 

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not the first new wax seen here yet jwp despite a very strong flow, even in my strongest hive that has close to three deeps worth of bees in it. almost all incoming nectar is going straight to brood food, with just a little getting stored here and there. different bees, different locations...

i'm on a ridgetop at 1300' asl and we've had cooler than average temps so far this year.

why do you think they didn't draw out the foundation?
 

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Best way imo to assure they move into the new box is to lift 1-2 frames of brood up into the center of it. Makes them "realize" the room. They will begin drawing the frames next to it almost immediately.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The hive that swarmed (and the other strong one) are both full of syrup which is what I was trying to do. I was hoping to time it right so that they would start filling the super in April. Both were light coming out of winter.

I don't have any more drawn frames. I'll take a look at the OSBN information and see what I can do to make some room in my remaining hive before it swarms also.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Smokeybee, like Bdfarmer555 was saying, ya gotta prime the pump and move brood frames into the supers if you do not have drawn comb. Since you are using all mediums, it is real easy to coax them up. If you have medium supers and deep brood frames like I do, sometimes you move the deep into the medium and leave a space in the deep for it to hang down into for a week or two.

SP, did not realize you were so high up. More familiar with southern AL where it is pretty flat. My brother is putting up his first swarm trap on his property in Bay Minnette this weekend. Saw bees all over the goldenrod out there last fall.
 

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JWPalmer,

I'm good with that technique when I'm building up a brood nest in a new hive but I don't want brood in the super. Are you saying that I can put brood in the super and then move that frame(s) back down?

I don't use a queen excluder but I try to keep brood in the bottom three mediums (same as a double deep).
 

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Also, there is a nice arch of syrup over the top of the brood nest in the top medium which I've read will keep the queen down. Maybe the brood in the super will emerge and not get replaced and I can leave it there...
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Yes, let there be some brood in the super to get them up there and drawing comb. Later, you can place a qe inbetween the boxes after making sure the queen is in the lower boxes. After the brood emerges, the bees will use that space for honey. Regarding the honey dome, I do not put much faith in that concept. Maybe it generally holds true, but I have had a queen cross an entire super full of honey and lay in the top super. When I put a qe in there to keep her down, the bees made queen cells. (Got a nuc out of that).
 

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Smokeybee, when putting on a box of Foundation I find it best to move up at least 3 or 4 Drawn Frames that the bees are actively working on into the middle of the box. I prefer not to move Brood Frames until later in the season when the temperatures are higher and more stable.

Have a look at Opening the Sides if the Broodnest, it's ideal for your situation. You need to get onto the other hives before they also go into swarm mode. (If not already). But it may not be too late to start on them with OSBN.

>Huh? SP, my bees have already rewarded me with several frames of newly drawn comb. Richmond is still much cooler than either bama or SC so not sure that is an accurate assesment. I think they ran out of room as mentioned. Three mediums and heavy feed does not leave much room for brooding.
JWPalmer aren't you using Foundationless Frames? That would be why your bees are drawing comb already.

That is the principle that Opening the Sides of the Broodnest is based on: Bees will start Wax Making before Swarm Season if there is a large enough hole close to or inside the Broodnest.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Matt, yes I am using foundationless in the brood boxes, but i had a lot of deeps that were only partially drawn wax foundation from last year and they are working them too. Additionally, I put supers on two of the hives a few weeks ago. Those bees are drawing out the Acorn plastic as well. Of course, I am feeding so that has a lot to do with it.
 

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You definitely need to break up that honey dome asap. Other than that I think following Matts' advice using OSBN is a solid plan. As it's been said simply adding a box full of foundation is not seen as expansion room always especially early on in swarm season. I suspect swarm season will get easier when us new guys get a nice stockpile of "extra combs". Best of luck to you bud
 

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>I've been feeding my two "honey hives" pretty aggressively and I had them both booming and stuffed with bees in 3 mediums (I use all medium 10-frame equipment).

The sequence of events in the spring when they swarm is to backfill the brood nest. Feeding aggressively will lead to this even if the bees did not intend it.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm

>but I thought if I gave them room that this wouldn't happen.

During reproductive swarm season, they are trying to reproduce. Giving them room isn't enough. Feeding them is probably why you set off the swarm sequence.
 

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I find that once Wax Making has been "triggered" by a large enough hole beside or inside the Broodnest, that the Wax Makers will move onto building comb on other frames, such as those that are partially drawn or full foundation. Particularly in a box that has at least a few frames that are actively being used by the bees already.

Just putting on a box of all foundation will often get completely ignored, especially earlier in the season. The bees don't see it as part of their hive.
I also wouldn't feed from a few weeks before Swarm Season, unless the hive has no stores and would starve otherwise.
 

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Thanks so much for all your the replies, lots to think about here. Both hives were very light coming out of winter. I hoped to fill them up with syrup so the flow wouldn't be "wasted" on the lower boxes.

I think the REAL problem was me thinking that I finally had this bee thing figured out!

Beekeeping is a real challenge here. There's a good flow in the spring and that's it. No goldenrod or anything to speak of in the fall. I only get one shot at honey.
 

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Thanks so much for all your the replies, lots to think about here. Both hives were very light coming out of winter. I hoped to fill them up with syrup so the flow wouldn't be "wasted" on the lower boxes.

I think the REAL problem was me thinking that I finally had this bee thing figured out!

Beekeeping is a real challenge here. There's a good flow in the spring and that's it. No goldenrod or anything to speak of in the fall. I only get one shot at honey.
In General "the best stores" should go in the overwintering brood boxes. IMO filling the close combs with Syrup and then taking all the honey is setting you up for disappointment down the road. Feeding Syrup IMO is a stop gap till the flow starts to keep bees from starving, or to give a new package to get it off the ground. Bees winter best on Honey, I would not consider the first honey in the brood nest as a waste I would consider it necessary for healthy winter food stores. If your description of no flow except spring is true I would think it is time to look for a different Apiary site. Too often I see folks consider the 2 the same they are not.
GG
 
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