swarming

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Mark, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. Mark

    Mark New Member

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    I have a new hive started in April this year and everything was fine up to 2 weeks ago when I installed
    a second deep body and now today I have found about 6 swarm cells and several queen cells. I removed all of them but cannot understand what I can do at this point to stop my new colony from swarming. I was told to remove the top feeder two weeks ago before the problem started but decided today to add it back because only four frames have been drawn in the upper deep. Is there anything I can do at this point or is the swarming most likely to happen ???????????????
     
  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd set up a bait hive. At least one. Just in case. I'll wait and watch to see how to prevent this. If you interrupt a swarm by drumming you can usually get them to go either back in the hive or into another empty hive. Or so I've read.

    Gypsi
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hi Mark, I see this is your first post, so Welcome, :hi:you have found the friendliest bee forum around.

    Once bees have started swarm preparation, there is little you can do to dissuade them. Cutting off queen cells does not work and will probably leave you with half of your bees gone and the remaining colony queenless. Don't remove queen cells, period. Were those queen cells capped?
    What I would do (assuming you have more equipment) is go through your hive, locate the queen and remove her and about 4 frames of capped brood and move them into another hive set some distance away. In a pinch, just remove your top deep and put those frames in that with a new bottom board and top. These bees will think they have swarmed and the remaining bees will have been fooled into thinking the hive has swarmed as well. As long as the remaing hive has the ability (eggs or queen cells) to raise a replacement queen there should be no problem. No losses that way.
     
  4. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Mark, You need a refresher course in bee biology 101, if you have capped queen cells, the queen of that colony either has left or will shorrtly with a primary swarm. If that is the case, your bees are now hopelessly queenless, with no way to raise their own. Whenever you add a second brood chamber or add a super, you need to shift frames from the bottom into the one you just added, use sealed brood frames one or two, replace them with foundation in the first brood chamber. the brood will draw bees into the new addition, and give the bees in the first one something to draw out and provide egg laying space, and as importantly, space to store nectar to cure which actually takes up quite a bit of brood rearing space if your not paying attention. nectar and frames of pollen should be manuliplated to be towards the outside walls the number 10, 8, 1, 2 frames. this will leave the rest of the space for the queen to lay eggs What you did is allow the bees to congest the brood chamber with pollen, honey/ nectar, and sugar syrup. This crowded the queen for brood rearing space, as new bees emerged, they were in the same crowded space as all the other crowded bees. a prime factors for swarming--lots of resources ( incomming nectar and pollen,) over crowded brood nest both brood and bees, and no place to expand to. You need to see if you can find your queen, and hope you paid the few dollars extra to have her clipped and marked so you can find her. If she isn't found, or not there, you need a frame of eggs from another hive so they can raise their own queen. Best of luck
    Barry
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    I was told to remove the top feeder two weeks ago before the problem started but decided today to add it back because only four frames have been drawn in the upper deep.

    tecumseh:
    of course from several hundred miles away it is difficult to know what you flow is like at this time of year??? the above snip suggest to me at least a good portion of the problem. newly placed box of frames and foundation is not the same as comb and you have likely back filled the brood nest with sugar water during the spring time flow so the end results are just as Barry suggest above.... no place for the queen to lay... and thereby the hive thinks it is time to swarm. feeding should be done in moderation and only when essential.

    the hive may have already swarmed and the only way to say yea or nay to this question is to spot the queen directly or make certain there are still eggs being laid in the box. I fear if the hive has swarmed you may have by removing the queen cells now made the hive hopelessly queenless (meaning they now not only don't have any queen cells but they also don't have anything with which to construct a queen cell) <if you have multiple hives then this is the time when one frame of young brood and eggs from another hive provides some insurance from these kinds of man made calamities.
     
  6. Mark

    Mark New Member

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    I was told and also read that if you spot Queen Cells it is best to remove them BEFORE the swarm. I realize that if my hive swarms I will be queenless but as you well know you can ask 10 people the same question and you will most likely have 10 answers LOL. As of today my hive has not swarmed and I am in hopes that with the new deep body they will continue to move forward " or upward " with drawing foundation and not swarm. Thank you for your experience and hopefully throughout my learning process I will not make mistakes that cannot be reversed.
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hey Mark.

    I was "taught" as well that removing swarm cells before a swarm would prevent them from happening. What you will discover is that once bees "decide" to swarm, and this is done in advance of swarm cell building, there is usually little can be done to change their minds.

    Now, to the last line in your last post. :grin: Rest assured that mistakes are going to happen. I make them all the time. You can be doing this for many, many years (or in tecs and Iddee's case, many, many, many, many, many, many years) :lol: and you will still make them. That is the nature of what we love doing, encountering something new, unexpected, and sometimes even unexplainable! It would be boring otherwise.

    A "mistake" is only one if first,(in my opinion) you don't try in the first place, and second, if you don't learn anything by it.
    P.S. - I hope I never stop learning! :wink:
     
  8. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    Except I need to know how many days or (day) I have to get this done before they swarm on their own! I have run out of boxes, going to convert a deep dresser drawer into a make shift box til we can get to Brushy MBF next week - redneck! :lol:

    Mark, congrats on your first post - It helps everyone!
     
  9. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I join in the greetings of all those who've written above. We're glad you're with us.:hi:

    Just to throw another option (of the ten) into consideration, what do you think of this?
    1. Check the hive to find and ELIMINATE the queen. (The bees probably are not happy with her and that's why they are preparing to swarm). If you can't find the queen, verify her absence by a lack of eggs or young larvae.
    2 Divide the hive into two smaller hives, making sure that each half has only one good looking queen cell. If there is no way of making new cells (fresh eggs or young larvae), they can't swarm. Even if they can make new QCs, the virgin queen that will emerge first will eliminate them.
    3. Place the two hives next to each other, but facing the opposite direction. The field bees will have to search for the entrance and will distribute themselves more or less equally between the two hives. Hopefully (nothing is ever guaranteed with bees) the two weaker hives will "feel the change", welcome a new queen and lose their swarming instinct. After a week or two, you can move the hives apart and turn them around again to the direction you want.

    Of course, the other options are also valid. My suggestion is just food for thought. Why should we make it too easy for you with only one choice. :grin:
     
  10. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    I thought my "Flower Power" hive was queenless, hence the bad attitude, May 29th and the lack of eggs or larva for 2 weeks. Then found the these queen cells June 4th, by accident really, when I saw some SHB larva on a frame, and checked the situation...(bees took care of it, as usual)
    A quick lift of the top brood box for a peek for swarm cells, didn't see any on the bottom rail, because they were making supersedure cells!
    Well, this crazy queen decided to start laying Sunday it appears and it is loaded with eggs again. So, though her colony is trying to replace her, I am not quite ready to junk her let because I think she may be smarter than me...The lull in her brood could be her magic way of controlling varroa mites, as her count started to climb just a bit last month. She is our oldest (2011), and she wintered well, but just when I think she has left the building she surprises me. And her behavior intrigues me, too :grin: She lays a great pattern for a bit then takes a break (the original "Old Faithful" queen that lays in spurts, hence the name of our original colony...Yes, I name them!) Kinda attached to her!
    The queen cell was not sealed yet on Monday afternoon and a peek in was a big "C" larva with distinguishable eyes. I don't want the bees to swarm so..."artificial swarm" is my first choice here. I think I have to do this asap. It was raining, but sun is poking through...Splitting tonight or tomorrow. (Dresser box is made! :lol:) I am excited at the possibilities of this new queen, with the diversity of drones we have now.
    Does anyone know where that link to the pdf file on queen cells is? It was posted last week by riverbee, I think? It explained all the swarm stuff so well, and helped us so much we printed it. I will try to find it...
     
  11. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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