Splitting for swarm control

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Rock_Chick

House Bee
Joined
Jan 3, 2009
Messages
234
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Location
Lancs
Hive Type
National
I have a large hive, on double brood, and it’s rammed full of bees, no signs of QCs. But I’m away next week for 2 weeks and concerned with them swarming, should I split and make a nuc with the queen, and let them raise an emergency queen ?
 
I’m no expert, but if you do what I did yesterday and split off a queen right nuc, you can always reunite if the parent hive doesn’t requeen itself effectively?
 
'splitting' is fair and dandy - as long as you are there to reduce all the EQCs down to one, otherwise they will just cast themselves to a standstill.
To be honest, I'm a bit wary of this new fashion of just blindly splitting at the least excuse instead of reading the colony and reacting to the signs, or being proactive as circumstances dictate.
 
I have a large hive, on double brood, and it’s rammed full of bees, no signs of QCs. But I’m away next week for 2 weeks and concerned with them swarming, should I split and make a nuc with the queen, and let them raise an emergency queen ?
If they've not shown signs by now I'd suggest they probably won't and would just give them a couple of extra supers.
 
I have a large hive, on double brood, and it’s rammed full of bees, no signs of QCs. But I’m away next week for 2 weeks and concerned with them swarming, should I split and make a nuc with the queen, and let them raise an emergency queen ?

Very bad idea. You ruin a good hive.

Put two boxes foundations above broodboxes.
 
it’s rammed full of bees
Have you a spare BB? Add it in-between the current two, and put into the centre of it several frames of open brood from the top box; centralise the remaning combs in the top box and add foundation or empty comb to both flanks.

not shown signs by now I'd suggest they probably won't
I sort of agree, but two weeks is a long time to be away and if the blackberry performs (it is here in London, at last, despite regular showers} those two broods will back-fill with nectar and the bees will go into swarm mode. Although the forecast for Lancashire is showery towards the end of June, it will be up to 19C and the bees will forage in-between the showers.

give them a couple of extra supers.
Definitely, as well as that third BB.
 
what are the chances of the colony swarming on those emergency QC’s?
Yes, Wally Shaw stated with certainty that they wouldn't, but in swarming season I'll bet they would. JBM will clarify: he either discussed this with Wally (or heard from someone who did) and a different, less certain story emerged.
 
I have a large hive, on double brood, and it’s rammed full of bees, no signs of QCs. But I’m away next week for 2 weeks and concerned with them swarming, should I split and make a nuc with the queen, and let them raise an emergency queen ?

How many boxes alltgether you have in your hive?
 
So if you take the Q out into a nuc. The colony will raise emergency QC’s. As it wasn’t in swarm mode what are the chances of the colony swarming on those emergency QC’s? This booklet says ‘the last thing the colony wants to do is swarm’.
https://wbka.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/wbka-booklet-english-PDF.pdf
that is just the opinion of one person, not based on any empirical data, the same booklet that says you can easily differentiate between swarm cells, supersedure cells and EQC's.
bees swarm on EQCs all the time - or are you telling me that, after you lose a swarm for whatever reason, the bees will only throw a cast with the queen cells they built before swarming - and not the queen cells the remaining bees build after the swarm has gone?
Yes, Wally Shaw stated with certainty that they wouldn't, but in swarming season I'll bet they would. JBM will clarify: he either discussed this with Wally (or heard from someone who did) and a different, less certain story emerged.
but wally has in fact admitted that he has no observational data to back this up, he has just assumed they won't swarm on EQCs.
Wally does have this unfortunate habit of glibly dismissing anything he has no direct experience of. Only a few months ago he flatly dismissed the practice of storing supers wet as not worth discussing, even though he admitted he had never tried it or had any experiences of the practice.
 
If you clip the queen, examine just before you go and as soon as you get back, you should be ok. They might swarm and you lose the queen, but you should keep the bees.
You need to decide what you will do if you find QCs just before you go too!
Or you could put out bait hives and cross your fingers 🤞🏼
 
clip the queen, examine just before you go and as soon as you get back, you should be ok. They might swarm and you lose the queen
Yes, this is likely to work. For clarity (apologies if you're aware of this, Jane) clipping gives the beekeeper more time: a swarm will usually leave on day 8/9 and a clipped queen will either be lost, or crawl back in or under the hive.

Either way, the swarm will return and await the emergence of the first virgin on day 16, so provided you check by the day you leave that no QCs have been made, and that you check on your return on day 14, you will find sealed QCs and perhaps the swarm under the hive with the old queen.

If bees are under the hive it is a simple matter of shaking them into another hive elsewhere; if they're all in the hive and no eggs are found, then reduce the QCs to one and let them get on with making honey. If eggs are found, the old queen will have gone back in and must be found and removed, and the QCs reduced.

The drawback with clipping and sorting afterwards is the extra (and diligent) work that must be done in a strong DBB colony - miss one sealed QC and a mega swarm will leave on day 16. Giving extra brood and super space before you leave is more in line with your reading (no signs of QCs) but clipping would be a belt & braces option.
 
I know one bee farmer who, if planning to not visit an apiary for a while just, on top of the usual 'extra space' puts another super on separated from the rest with a sheet of newspaper - if the bees are looking for additional space, they will chew through the newspaper to explore
 
If you clip the queen, examine just before you go and as soon as you get back, you should be ok. They might swarm and you lose the queen, but you should keep the bees.
You need to decide what you will do if you find QCs just before you go too!
Or you could put out bait hives and cross your fingers 🤞🏼
Save all the angst. Stay at home!😀
 
I have a large hive, on double brood, and it’s rammed full of bees, no signs of QCs. But I’m away next week for 2 weeks and concerned with them swarming, should I split and make a nuc with the queen, and let them raise an emergency queen ?
Might be worth considering the Demaree splitting method.
If not happy with the results the split can be rejoined with careful management
 
Might be worth considering the Demaree splitting method.
If not happy with the results the split can be rejoined with careful management

Artificial swarming method. Denaree or Badgen . What ever you call it.
Splitting does no tell much.
 
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