Swarm Control without Finding the Queen

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Swift Nick 

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I have a hive that is producing charged queen cells, half a dozen or so not capped, the hive has plenty of drones. The hive also has eggs and BIAS. I tried to find the Queen on a few occasions and just cannot find her, one reason may be that there are just so many bees. I did find and mark a Queen from another hive okay today, so I can usually find them.
I am going to look again tomorrow, but as a plan ‘B’ I need a method of swarm control without finding the Queen, I have found a few, the most straightforward I have found is is the National Bee Unit one;


Using this it would look likely that the Queen ends up with the majority of the brood in a new location, leaving the flying bees with one frame of brood and the supers.

Has anyone tried this one and has it worked, or can anybody suggest a straightforward method, I am not looking for anything special, just a simple stop them swarming method.

Thanks
 

Bear 

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Gives you an explanation in the Haynes Bee manual. Used it before.
 

Swift Nick 

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Thank you drdrday,
I will take a look.
 

Swift Nick 

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The David Evans method is the same as the National Bee Unit one, but much better explained, it’s quite simple, which I like.
The Haynes one I have looked at also, I am tempted by this one because you do know where the queen ends up, the only bit I don’t like is having to clear every frame of bees and keep them that way.
 

Bear 

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There is no “magic cure”. Only other thing I can suggest is remove all frames with charged queen cups. Replace with drawn brood comb if you have. Be aware you’ll loose all the bias on every frame and any queen cups left (none with eggs in) can get charged.
 

Swift Nick 

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Thanks all for the replies, yet again I couldn’t find the Queen, plenty of bias and eggs. So I did a Wally Shaw Snelgrove ll (modified), as per the Wally Shaw pamphlet. You don’t need to find the Queen on step one, but you do 9-10 days later, amongst less bees. If you still don’t find the Queen then you are back to the simpler National Bee Unit method, as per my original post.
The hive had plenty of drones, just need the weather now.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I tried that twice. The first time it worked a dream; the second, not.
 

Swift Nick 

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Dani,
How did the second one not work out, did they swarm or didn’t the queen get mated, or something else?
 

Erichalfbee 

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Dani,
How did the second one not work out, did they swarm or didn’t the queen get mated, or something else?
I put the queen back and they killed her 😢
I’ve come to the conclusion that the old tried and tested methods work best. Pagden and nuc the queen; I tend to do the latter. I also Demaree a couple every year but that’s not really for swarm management but to get a big colony for honey.
 

StephenT 

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We did a Wally Shaw described Snelgrove A/S last Sunday and the plan was to go in next tuesday and do the 2nd stage when the queen is moved across from the parent hive to the A/S and the two frames from the A/S hopefully with EQC's moved in the other direction. Worried about the queen being killed when we move her back, and she is such a prolific queen and the hive is very good natured. The alternative is to thin the EQC's in the A/S down to one tomorrow and not transfer the queen, as per the method described in the NBU publication and on Apiarist blog. That would be simpler and lower risk but Wally Shaw obviously has a very good reason for transferring the queen with the EQC's being transferred the other way. Anyone tried both methods or can offer advice? Thanks.
 

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We did a Wally Shaw described Snelgrove A/S last Sunday and the plan was to go in next tuesday and do the 2nd stage when the queen is moved across from the parent hive to the A/S and the two frames from the A/S hopefully with EQC's moved in the other direction. Worried about the queen being killed when we move her back, and she is such a prolific queen and the hive is very good natured. The alternative is to thin the EQC's in the A/S down to one tomorrow and not transfer the queen, as per the method described in the NBU publication and on Apiarist blog. That would be simpler and lower risk but Wally Shaw obviously has a very good reason for transferring the queen with the EQC's being transferred the other way. Anyone tried both methods or can offer advice? Thanks.
We are on the same timeline with the Wally Shaw Snelgrove A/S, I also swap the queen on Tuesday. I used this method in 2019 for one hive and it worked out well, the Queen was accepted.
I have to find my unmarked queen, and I couldn’t before, so I will bail out with the NBU method if I can’t find her.
I will Let you know how it works out.
I had another swarming hive yesterday, the hive is bringing in lots of nectar, 2 supers full already, I found the queen on this one, so did the queen to nucleus method.
 

Swift Nick 

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I checked the artificial swarm hive from my recent Wally Shaw modified Snelgrove 2 today and the queen that I located back in that A/S hive on Tuesday was accepted back and laying, hoping yours works out too StephenT.
I will leave the now queenless parent hive for 3 weeks before taking a look.
For me that is two Wally Shaw modified Snelgrove 2’s, they have both had the queen accepted.
 

RARW 

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Hi,
Sorry for jumping on this thread but i have an issue which seems rather relevant.
I caught a swarm from one of my colonies today. It wasnt big and landed on the roof of the hive, my wife watched it happenng and called me whilst I was out. I located the queen and safely installed them in a hive. I thought it a good idea to check the colony they left as I thought they may be short of space and hense the early swarm.
Indeed, they have filled a super already and all frames are well covered in bees. However, I couldnt locate the queen, she is marked and a couple of years old. There were lavae and still plenty of capped brood and pollen stores. Some capped drone brood and more than a few drones. I found 4 queen cells which I have left for now.
If the old queen swarmed due to lack of space, and I missed it, and they replaced her why did the new queen also swarm?
If the queen is present, and I just cant find her, I think there is a risk they will swarm further but if there isnt a queen then i am i righ to assume they are rearing a new one?
Finally, should I remove a frame of brood and add it to the new colony? It would strengthen the small swarm and create some needed space. I plan to add a super to the old rather full colony tomorrow (i had to build some frames this evening!), I cant belive how quickly they have filled it.
Thanks
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Hi,
Sorry for jumping on this thread but i have an issue which seems rather relevant.
I caught a swarm from one of my colonies today. It wasnt big and landed on the roof of the hive, my wife watched it happenng and called me whilst I was out. I located the queen and safely installed them in a hive. I thought it a good idea to check the colony they left as I thought they may be short of space and hense the early swarm.
Indeed, they have filled a super already and all frames are well covered in bees. However, I couldnt locate the queen, she is marked and a couple of years old. There were lavae and still plenty of capped brood and pollen stores. Some capped drone brood and more than a few drones. I found 4 queen cells which I have left for now.
If the old queen swarmed due to lack of space, and I missed it, and they replaced her why did the new queen also swarm?
If the queen is present, and I just cant find her, I think there is a risk they will swarm further but if there isnt a queen then i am i righ to assume they are rearing a new one?
Finally, should I remove a frame of brood and add it to the new colony? It would strengthen the small swarm and create some needed space. I plan to add a super to the old rather full colony tomorrow (i had to build some frames this evening!), I cant belive how quickly they have filled it.
Thanks
A bit confused, you say a swarm emanated from the hive today, so why do you think there's a new queen in the swarm? If it was a prime (first one out) swarm then that would have contained the original queen. If, however your original queen swarmed over a week ago and you did not go in to reduce the queen cells to one (I find this doubtful as you say there is still unsealed brood in there) then the first queen to emerge would have swearmed with a secondary (cast) swarm, then even a tertiary (colt) swarm and so on almost ad infinitum
 

pargyle 

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Hi,
Sorry for jumping on this thread but i have an issue which seems rather relevant.
I caught a swarm from one of my colonies today. It wasnt big and landed on the roof of the hive, my wife watched it happenng and called me whilst I was out. I located the queen and safely installed them in a hive. I thought it a good idea to check the colony they left as I thought they may be short of space and hense the early swarm.
Indeed, they have filled a super already and all frames are well covered in bees. However, I couldnt locate the queen, she is marked and a couple of years old. There were lavae and still plenty of capped brood and pollen stores. Some capped drone brood and more than a few drones. I found 4 queen cells which I have left for now.
If the old queen swarmed due to lack of space, and I missed it, and they replaced her why did the new queen also swarm?
If the queen is present, and I just cant find her, I think there is a risk they will swarm further but if there isnt a queen then i am i righ to assume they are rearing a new one?
Finally, should I remove a frame of brood and add it to the new colony? It would strengthen the small swarm and create some needed space. I plan to add a super to the old rather full colony tomorrow (i had to build some frames this evening!), I cant belive how quickly they have filled it.
Thanks
There's something not right here ...

Firstly , are you sure the swarm that landed on top of the hive was from that colony ?

Could it be the old queen in the swarm and her marking had worn off - not unheard of with Posca pen markings ?

Either way - pick the best of the four queen cells and knock the rest down - those are the new queens for that colony, they are already raising them.

Putting a frame of brood in with the swarm won't do any harm ... although it's not necessary and will weaken the original colony which will need the bees until your new queen is mated and starts laying. The old queen in the swarm (if that's what it is) will be off and laying like a shot - if you have given them just frames of foundation a couple of litres of 1:1 syrup will give them a hand to draw the frames out - if it's a small swarm then I would hope you have put them in a Nuc - if not you may need to dummy the hive down to about five frames as it's going to be a bit hit and miss weather wise this week for foraging.

Lastly, you might want to add your location to your profile as advice is often geared to the location - there's a lot of difference between what's happening in Aberdeen compared to Brighton at present.
 

IndiBee 

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Simply splitting the frames into two boxes will make it easy to determine which half she is in, within a few minutes - by using your ears!

That alone makes finding her a lot easier.
An old French method (which I use occasionally);
Put 2 empty nucs near the hive.
Put one frame from the main hive in each nuc.
One of the 3 (2 nucs or the hive) will be FAR quieter than the other 2.
If the quiet one is a nuc - you have your queen frame there.
If both nucs roar - combine them and add another frame from the hive to the now empty nuc.
Keep going till you get a quiet nuc. NOW you have the queen frame in that nuc.
Often this is as far as you need to get. Seeing the queen is nice, but knowing which frame she is on is usually more useful.
By looking at what is on a frame, you will soon work out which frames to do this with and it really doesn't take much time.
I knew a french chap who only used this method as his eyesight was quite poor.
 

RARW 

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There's something not right here ...

Firstly , are you sure the swarm that landed on top of the hive was from that colony ?

Could it be the old queen in the swarm and her marking had worn off - not unheard of with Posca pen markings ?

Either way - pick the best of the four queen cells and knock the rest down - those are the new queens for that colony, they are already raising them.

Putting a frame of brood in with the swarm won't do any harm ... although it's not necessary and will weaken the original colony which will need the bees until your new queen is mated and starts laying. The old queen in the swarm (if that's what it is) will be off and laying like a shot - if you have given them just frames of foundation a couple of litres of 1:1 syrup will give them a hand to draw the frames out - if it's a small swarm then I would hope you have put them in a Nuc - if not you may need to dummy the hive down to about five frames as it's going to be a bit hit and miss weather wise this week for foraging.

Lastly, you might want to add your location to your profile as advice is often geared to the location - there's a lot of difference between what's happening in Aberdeen compared to Brighton at present.
Thanks. The old queen was marked and the one isn’t, hence my theory that they already swarmed once.
There's something not right here ...

Firstly , are you sure the swarm that landed on top of the hive was from that colony ?

Could it be the old queen in the swarm and her marking had worn off - not unheard of with Posca pen markings ?

Either way - pick the best of the four queen cells and knock the rest down - those are the new queens for that colony, they are already raising them.

Putting a frame of brood in with the swarm won't do any harm ... although it's not necessary and will weaken the original colony which will need the bees until your new queen is mated and starts laying. The old queen in the swarm (if that's what it is) will be off and laying like a shot - if you have given them just frames of foundation a couple of litres of 1:1 syrup will give them a hand to draw the frames out - if it's a small swarm then I would hope you have put them in a Nuc - if not you may need to dummy the hive down to about five frames as it's going to be a bit hit and miss weather wise this week for foraging.

Lastly, you might want to add your location to your profile as advice is often geared to the location - there's a lot of difference between what's happening in Aberdeen compared to Brighton at present.
 

RARW 

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Hi. Sorry I hit post before I’d finished!
the old queen was marked and so I guess either died or swarmed.
My wife watched them emerge from the hive and so I’m as sure as I can be that they are from that hive.
the new swarm is in a polyNUC and being fed.
Oh and I’m in glorious Gloucestershire!
Thanks for the advice. I’ll go back in today and break down some of the queen cells.
 

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