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Discussion Starter #1
My Russian hive is thriving, and today being the first real nice day of spring, I noticed they were also all over the empty Italian hive 8 feet away. The Italians didn't make it, but their honey is still in there (for now). I figure the Russians are probably "robbing" it.

Russians have a reputation to swarm. Might they find the Italian hive empty and swarm into there?

Boy, that would be easy.
 

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It's possible they will/would swarm into the hive 8 feet away, but it would be after they have robbed it empty:D What is there current build up status?
 

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It could happen but so might an honest Government. Both not likely. Do all you can to prevent your hive from swarming because they will most likely go far far away. A better option would be to go in you colony and locate your queen and move here and about three frames of bees and brood to your deadout and reducing the entrance to about two bees wide so the new colony can defend it and let the original raise a new queen. If they already have swarm cells the process will be faster and necessary. Kill all the cells but two good ones on the same frame. Many ways of doing it, this would be mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Aha. Well then, I'd rather rob the honey than have them rob the honey. (Haven't inspected in there yet this spring, other than cover check)

Thanks for the split advice. I'll have to make sure the original hive has what it takes to raise a new queen. I assume that would have to be eggs.

I did want to get into splitting this summer, but hadn't expected to do it right away. But as soon as it warms up a little more will probably be the opportune time to put the queen, brood and nurse bees into the vacant hive. I don't want to stress them till it gets warmer, like a month from now. Right? (Couple weeks before last frost?)
 

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The best time to do it is during your local swarm season. Since as you said Russians have a tendency to swarm, you need to keep a week ahead of them. For me, that would mean I would tilt up the upper brood box and see if you have any peanuts growing from the bottom of frames! If you do, they have decided it is warm enough and your decision in the matter won't matter much. The local swarming season normally coincides with dandelion and fruit bloom. I don't know if that means NH yet.

Do some reading in old posts on 'checkerboarding' or 'opening up the side of the brood nest'. Your only flow of the year may be now and splitting can deny you that.

If you did not medicate or feed a bunch while the honey being robbed was stored, by all means take what you want for your use. It is why we raise them for the most part. Congratulations on seeing spring with live bees! Many are not that fortunate this winter of extreme climate change. Snowed again at my house today.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, Vance. Dandelion season here is not until May. We still have snow over most of the ground. It's even a little too early to open up the boxes yet and check their progress.

I have to find out when swarm season here is, and as you advise, I will target for one week before.
 

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Most of the time a swarm prefers a location that is at least 50 yard away.

Scout bees will only be looking for a location so if they find a nice location that meet their needs the swarm can move in. Honey or no honey.

Foragers and robbers are looking for food all the time usually in allot higher number than scouts, when they find unguarded honey they will be back in number to remove it all every last drop.
 

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Swarm season is not an exact date! It relates more to the temperatures which cause the bloom time to be delayed or to come on, so do not lock into some imaginary date. I am still getting snow nearly everyday it seems but it melts mostly. The ground is thawed where the sun hits it, frozen in the shade. I am at least a month away from swarm season I would bet. I have only pulled frames from deadouts and quickly put a couple in beside a cluster in a hive I could see was running low on groceries.
Thanks, Vance. Dandelion season here is not until May. We still have snow over most of the ground. It's even a little too early to open up the boxes yet and check their progress.

I have to find out when swarm season here is, and as you advise, I will target for one week before.
 

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Vance is right. Wait until they start swarm cells, and then take the queen and some bees and brood for you're split. Control the swarm, and put it where you want it to go. Don't wait or they will swarm without you, timing is everything. A major consideration is drones. If you are set on splitting, make sure there are enough drones for the new queen to mate properly. Here in southern Vt. it is mid May to early June, depending on weather.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Right, I forgot about drone season! I'm in southern NH so I probably have the same drone season as you - mid May to early June. Of course, the queen takes a while to hatch anyway. I should know how long off the top of my head...

So swarm cells hang off the bottoms of the frames, right? And how early in spring might they start making swarm cells? Would they start making them before the dandelions come out? I don't want to move too early. (or too late, of course)
 
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