Why bees swarm with a super on

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by thomas, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. thomas

    thomas New Member

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    Hello

    I am new here but i need to know why my bees swarm and they had a super on them with only two frames to draw out. This is the second time they have done this they have honey stored in the frames but they did not even cap it they just went on and swarmed.

    Thomas
     
  2. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Thomas,
    I hope it's not still blowing down there...;)

    Swarming is attributed to nature's desire to perpetuate the species. Yes, lack of room, age of the queen, and other factors do increase or decrease the rate of swarming. But the number one factor is flow. Healthy hives, regardless of room, number of supers, or anything else, will swarm as dictated by nature.

    If you had ten hives and did nothing, 9 out of 10 would swarm. By expanding the brood chamber, rotating boxes, and all the other tricks used, you will lower the impulse to swarm, and if your lucky you may get the percentage down to 50% or less. But you will never stop the swarming.

    So look to suppress as much as you can, and then accept the fact that even with everything going correctly, you may still have about 50% swarming of healthy colonies.

    Unhealthy hives normally do not swarm...healthy one's do. So you are doing your job, and the bees are doing theirs.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Also, if the brood nest has a cap of honey over it for 4 to 6 inches, they will not move it for her to move up. She won't cross it and split her brood nest. Therefore, she thinks she is honey bound and they prepare for a swarm. When adding a swarm prevention super, you must break that honey cap. It is best done by putting 2 or 3 empty frames in the brood chamber and moving the brood frames up.
     
  4. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    So, accepting that you are going to have some hives swarm, the other part of the equation is putting up swarm traps in hopes of catching them when they do!

    Gosh I wish my bees would learn this! My queens seem to go wherever the heck they want. On more than one occasion I've put wet supers back on the hive ABOVE the inner cover for them to clean up, only to go back a couple days later to find the queen laying in them. The biggest lesson I've learned since beginning to keep bees is that my bees don't read the books on how they're supposed to beehave!
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    indypartridge, you forgot the number one rule in beekeeping, which is:

    Say anything in the world about bees and they will do the exact opposite.

    :D :D
     
  6. thomas

    thomas New Member

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    Thanks guys for the help i have another one that is packed with bees and have a super that is about the same and as soon as it warms up tomarrow i am going in and check on how thing's look and add another super.

    Thomas
     
  7. Bcrazy

    Bcrazy New Member

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    I noticed no one has mentioned an artificial swarm.
    This is one of the basic swarm preventions going. You allow them to think they have swarmed but you have in fact still kept your bees.
    I know some beekeepers in UK do this type of swarm prevention then they remove the old queen into a Nuc with brood, stores and bees and the remainder of bees get returned to the original colony so as not to loose the main bulk of bees for foraging.
    Do you guys carry out anything simular?
    Or what do you do to controll swarming?

    Regards;
     
  8. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    If the question would of been "How do I stop swarming", then no doubt I would of written a page and a half about artificial swarming. ;) But since the questions was asked 'Why did my bees swarm?", I gave the proper info based on that.

    Of course we practice artificial swarming. There is probably no place on earth that is so isolated or unique that one area practices artificial swarming (or anything else in beekeeping) and the next place does not. Beekeeping is beekeeping.

    Myself, I'll be doing about 400 artificial swarm splits in the next 90 days.... ;)