Need advise on swarming/splitting

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by arkiebee, May 6, 2010.

  1. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Good Morning Guys!
    I need some of your wise bee advise. We have had a late spring here in Arkansas, but the last few days has been 80s and the honey flow is going on big time. We have clover blooming and the bees are buzzing. I got 2 more nucs from my fellow beekeeping school teacher last night, and she told me that when she got in there to split, that she saw swarm cells EVERYWHERE! It seems we went to swarming season in a split second here in the Ozarks. She was very surprised to see this many swarm cells. She said they were all over the frames, etc.

    I planned on splitting 4 of my hives this weekend, but now I think I may try to get a sub to take my classes today and come home at noon and split my hives instead of waiting till Saturday. BUT my question is: if I see a multitude of swarm cells what should I do? Let them just "split" themselves and hope I can catch the swarm or go ahead and split them? Last year I split and they swarmed anyway. So I really am in a dilema as to What to do here?

    I would appreciate your wise input this morning before I decide to either take off at noon or not??? :confused:

    THANK YOU!!
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Bees are going to swarm, sometime or other. The best we can do is try to keep it at a minimum. I would take the queen out with the split and hope her departure would make them think they had swarmed. Also replace the frames taken with empties placed in the brood area, to give them room. The missing queen and bees may make them choose one queen and reject the rest, or they may keep one queen and swarm with another. The best we can do is try and hope.

    I do NOT destroy queen cells.
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Like Iddee said, and after i take the old queen i will leave two queen cells and either cut the rest out and put them in nucs or destroy them if i don't want any more nucs or hives. When i take frames of brood (usually 3 or 4) with the old queen, i like to replace the frames with foundation and position them in the middle of the bottom hive so when the workers come and go they have to look at them,bees don't like to leave things unfinished. I got this info from reading a Richard Taylor artical years ago, most of the time it works because they won't swarm without a queen, but like Iddee said, bees are going to swarm. Good luck. Jack
     
  4. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Thanks Guys - When you say to "replace the frames with empties" do you mean frames with new foundation because that is what I have.
    Also when I split and take the queen & 5 frames, can I still put that hive in my beeyard or do I need to move it away from the beeyard? If so I can move it to an area at our other barns which is NOT 2 miles away, but just down the hill and maybe a 10th of a mile or so???
     
  5. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    It would be best if you could move them 4 or 5 miles away for a week and then move them back home. You can leave them in your bee yard, the only problem is that the older worker bees will go back to the mother hive and if the frames you took have alot of brood on them you may not have enough nurse bees left to keep them warm. Yes you can use new foundation, anyway that's what i do. Jack
     
  6. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    I got a sub to cover my classes so I am heading home at 11:00. Last year I split a hive - I just separated the brood boxes (Ross Conrad Natural Beekeeping) and since I didn't know any better I kept both boxes in my beeyard, I just put a cedar limb over the entrance (reduced it) and both hives did well. I may do that again or I may try to move these - depends on how much "time" and "what" I get into. I thought that how on earth do the commercial beekeepers split when they have these huge beeyards???

    I do like your suggestions of taking the queen out with 5 frames and move her and keep the swarm cells in one box. I may do that IF I can find the ole' gal.

    It's going to be a long afternoon I can tell now - and I already have a knot in my stomach as to WHAT I might "see" once I get into the hives???
     
  7. rast

    rast New Member

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    "I thought that how on earth do the commercial beekeepers split when they have these huge beeyards???"
    The ones that I know have several beeyards, forklifts and help. Plus there is little emotion involved, it's percentages of successful splits.
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I keep the split in the same yard. I want the foragers to go to the hive that has to raise a queen from an egg. The queenright hive needs fewer bees. She will be laying daily, where the original hive will have a 20 to 30 day break with no eggs being laid.
     
  9. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Here is all I got accomplished today: I split one hive - found the beautiful Carnolian queen I put in last year and split the 2 supers she just had to lay in away from the main hive body. I couldn't find any eggs in the supers, but I had lots of brood, larvae, honey, pollen - so I am getting a queen from my school teacher friend who ordered queens and I am putting a queen in that one. I really wanted to raise another Carnolian, but I didn't see any eggs - I have a hard time seeing them. Both are in the same beeyard. I put a cedar limb at the entrance of the young split - that worked last year so I am "hoping" it will work again.

    One of my other hives looks like it had already swarmed because I saw swarm cells & it didn't look like I had as many bees in that hive as I had because it was one of my larger ones.

    I didn't split the other hive till I made sure I could get a queen, but I got into it anyway and it is chocked full of bees, so they haven't left.............yet. If I have a queen coming for that split what do I need to be sure and NOT do? make sure that there are NO queen cells in the hive I split off????

    It seems like it was cool, wet, rainy, and these last few days of 80 degrees has caused the bees to go crazy. I love my bees and I am not in it for the money ....like teaching.... but they can surely frustrate me because I work so hard at making sure they have everything they need.. I guess if they swarm I can look at it that I just help the bee population out here in the country. I even took my camera out with me to take some photos and I forgot to do that...maybe tomorrow. :(
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    just a tad bit of advice arkie... my two cents worth and worth just that.

    do not get upset nor fret at 'the girls' for swarming since certainly this behavior is a part of 'the girls' nature. it is what they do and they have been doing this for literally millions of years.

    what beekeepers do is to simply try to hedge their bet by implementing manipulation to LIMIT swarming. even the very best beekeepers (historically speaking) had bees that swarmed.

    it appears you have now accomplished one of the several swarm limiting manipulation. splitting is best done during a honey flow. I tend to think cool nights also help since they encourage the newly organized hive or split to cluster and reorganize themselves. there are of course other manipulations (some fairly elaborate and some simple) that are also designed to limit swarming.

    timing is THE essential ingredient of all of these swarm limiting manipulations.
     
  11. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Thanks Tec - looks like you are an earlier riser like me!

    We are in a honey flow big time right now because the clover is really blooming and I saw honey/nectar all through my hives yesterday. Today we have a cool front moving through and it is suppose to just be in the 70s today and 40s tonight and cool & wet the next few days. I still have one more hive I have to split today because I have a queen coming so I am going to do that after school. So maybe my timing is good - I appreciate your info on swarming. I know you guys have been at this longer than I have.

    I do think I may put a feeder on the one I split yesterday since it is going to be cool & rainy and I still have that split hive in the same beeyard as the mother hive. I did put a cedar limb at the entrance and reduced the entrance. So I hope I didn't lose too many bees back to the mother hive. I had a lot of bees in that split because I had a lot of brood so I believe they will stay with their babies. Once I put the queen in and then check a couple days later to see if she gets out I may go ahead and put a hive body on top because it was 2 supers FULL of bees & brood.
     
  12. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    I need to split another hive today because I got a queen- I was in it but did not split scraping burr comb, etc. boy the bees will be mad now - but it has turned cooler - in the 70s and suppose to be windy
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    yes I am an earlier riser.. an old farm boy habit that I never lost in college or during my working career. I do enjoy hearing the sounds of the world waking up here in the country.

    feeding just a bit (think trickle and not pour) is good insurance and keeps the energy up on the new starts... seems to be most important in any kind of cold and/or damp weather.

    ps... if you provide ventilation (and sometimes just a dab of water) you can confine bees for much longer that a lot of folks would suspect. there is nothing wrong with plugging up a hives and stacking them in some cool dark space for a day or so.