Demaree swarm control - two scenarios

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RichardK

House Bee
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Location
Perpignan, France
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Dadant
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Ideally 3 to 5.
Thinking forward to spring and getting my head around the demaree swarm control method. I get the principle of how you set it up, however, the following two outcomes have me a little puzzled as to what happens after.

1. Aim: swarm control, no colony increase - in the top box all QC's get knocked down and after a few weeks all brood will have emerged. Population must now I imagine be booming as brood will also be starting to emerge from the bottom box. If the top box (above the supers) is removed, won't the population be fit to bursting and hence encourage swarming? But if the top box is left in position, presumably the bees will use it for stores? What to do? Of does the top box never get removed, rather frames get swapped between the bottom and top boxes until the season calms down?

2. Aim: Swarm control AND colony increase. So, same setup but with the addition of an upper entrance. QC's in top box knocked down bar one. Queen emerges and all being well returns successfully from mating flight. When you only have one apiary, how do you move that new colony (the top box) & keep all the bees? I assume you don't, you only get to keep the nurse bees and all workers will go back to original hive - albeit a bit confused as their upper entrance won't be there any more?

Am I on the right lines as to how this works? Any help gratefully received to help me better understand!
 
It's swarm avoidance rather than swarm 'control' if they have started making QC's before being Demarree'd it's too late.
I give them an upper entrance regardless of what I'm striving to do, but you only need the upper entrance if you are planning to leave the new queen in the top to mate (I always have the top and bottom entrances facing the same way) however, an upper entrance also allows any drones emerging in the top box to fly away immediately then return too the lower box as they can get a bit messed up after being trapped in the top box for maybe a fortnight.
With scenario #1 you have to realise that it will take a good few weeks before the queen has laid up the bottom box, and that by three weeks the brood she laid will be starting to emerge thus making room for more.
you can move some more sealed frames up to the top box if you think they are still filling up to swarming point, but most cases will see them starting to cool off by then. if you are in the middle of a good flow, you have little choice but to leave them fill up the top box with honey. It's up to you to know your bees and judge the flow as to whether they need more space or not.
#2 You don't have to leave the QC in the top box to emerge and mate - as soon as the QC is sealed you can remove it into a nuc with a good frame or two of brood, a frame of stores and a shake of two or three frames of bees, stuff the entrance with fresh grass and move it elsewhere.
if you want to leave the QC in the top box then yes, when you decide to move the top 'new' colony away you just move it and lose the flying bees. if you do you are just left with basically a nuc in a big box, but after a week or two they will soon catch up. sometimes, if I have the time I will leave the top box, on its new floor next door to the original hive for a few days and they seem to balance themselves out a bit better. I also tend to leave it until towards the end of the season before splitting the top colony away.
 
I tried the Demaree last year on a couple of WBC hives. My main mistake was leaving it too late/being too reluctant to move brood from the bottom brood-box to the top. This year I plan to intervene a little earlier and a little more decisively.

I also created upper entrances but, because they were WBC hives, the exits were within the outer shell of the WBC hive. That allowed bees (expecially drones) to get out of the upper BB and then make their way down to exit the hive via the main entrance. That seemed to work.
 
I tried the Demaree last year on a couple of WBC hives. My main mistake was leaving it too late/being too reluctant to move brood from the bottom brood-box to the top. This year I plan to intervene a little earlier and a little more decisively.
When you say your 'main mistake'.....what happened as a result?
 
Well, I didn't prevent them from starting swarming preps because I left too much brood with the Queen in the first colony (I should have moved more or all of it). So, I failed in the Demaree's primary purpose... though my own fault. It did, however, produce the means to increase the number of colonies and in the other colony it was more successful at forestalling swarming.

The other problem I had was that the bees kept filling the upper BB frames with strores, not just in the hatched brood frames but also in the adjacent DN frames, rather than putting the stores in the super that was above it. So I plan this year to do a bit of an experiment. Since one is normally moving only 4-6 frames of brood up, on one hive I plan to box-off part of the upper BB with dummy frames in order to encourage the bees to store stores above rather than beside the upper BB's brood. I have in mind to use some blocks of insulating foam since they could be easily cut to slot into the BB and blank-off, say 3 frames or so. Maybe mad, but we'll see.

On an other I plan to put only undrawn DN frames (or potentially no frames at all) in the upper BB apart from the ones with the brood taken from the bottom BB. I'm hoping that by then present the bees with a super of drawn SN frames the bees will be discouraged from storing in the BB and will store in the super.

Doubtless someone will tell me that either or both are bad ideas but I'll be interested to see if either or both work.
 
The other problem I had was that the bees kept filling the upper BB frames with strores, not just in the hatched brood frames but also in the adjacent DN frames, rather than putting the stores in the super that was above it.
Interesting. I'd heard that this could happen but have no idea how to prevent them filling those top frames with honey. JBM says in his reply above that "if you are in the middle of a good flow, you have little choice but to leave them fill up the top box with honey". So perhaps you just have to leave them to do that, and accept that you have some stores for donating to weak hives come autumn / winter. Will be interesting to hear how you get on with your ideas. As another idea, maybe block the upper entrance which may temp the workers to store nectar in the supers rather all the way at the top? Still....I'm just guessing as really, I have no idea!
 
The other problem I had was that the bees kept filling the upper BB frames with stores, not just in the hatched brood frames
what 'other' frames do you have up there? when you do the initial Demarree, you take the queen and the frame she is on and put it in a whole box of new frames, either all foundation or, just foundation with a few drawn frames (I like to put her in between two frames of drawn comb or, if I have enough, four frames) this then becomes the new bottom box All frames in the top box should be mostly brood with one frame of foundation to replace the one with the queen on below.
Putting an empty super on above the top brood box will get ignored unless there's a flow on. you are better off at first (when you actually do the Demarree) putting an empty shallow directly below the top box - remember that the majority of foraging bees will be entering via the bottom entrance and handing their stores over.
 
That was a mistake I made when I bought mine last year.... just checked & it definitely can't take brood frames. Oh well...

I have one of Thorne's manual nine-frame radial extractors. It won't take brood frames radially, but it looks like it would be possible to do three at a time tangentially. If you don't have loads of frames to extract that might be a way out.

James
 
I have one of Thorne's manual nine-frame radial extractors. It won't take brood frames radially, but it looks like it would be possible to do three at a time tangentially. If you don't have loads of frames to extract that might be a way out.

James
Yes my radial extractor won't take brood combs radially. I think that's the norm? I have four tangential screens
 
Yes my radial extractor won't take brood combs radially. I think that's the norm? I have four tangential screens
the 20 frame one we got from Abelo takes DN frames radially, can't think of many who would take 14x12 frames though - unless they were pretty mahoosive
 
Extract the demaree frames that are honey bound or save/store them for later. For my 40+ y/o EH Taylor extractor I use threeAbelo screens for tangential use.
 
I end up extracting a few hundred deep frames a year after Demarree, when stored wet there's a good chance most survive the attention of waxmoth as well
 
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I let them fill the top brood with honey
My extractor takes brood frames. I would suggest strongly that when you buy an extractor you make sure that it does.
agree

most of those that i have demareed following Jenkins method (really helpful description of this somewherea sticky?) have ended up filling the UBB with honey. Extracting this is actually really helpful since you end up with empty drawn brood frames which are v useful.

problem i have is when moving the brood frames from UBB to LBB once emerged for the Q in LBB to lay in, theyre already filling with honey and i have to make room below by other means....this has previously started the conversation about needing a double brood at the bottom
 
Yes I see your point.
I run 14x12 so don’t encounter that problem too much but I would risk putting them in if they are uncapped and the bees will move the honey up
 

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