Swarmegency Cells !

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boywonder

House Bee
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Messages
295
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215
Location
Loughborough
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
11
So, a bit over 3 weeks ago, having seen charged cells, I executed a Wally Shaw variant of the 'modified' Snelgrove II.

Having undertaken the second part of the manoeuvre, which involves the move of the Queen from its then cell-free unit (where the swarming instinct has abated) to the flying bees who are at that point receptive to her.

This renders that first unit queenless, and they oblige by raising emergency cells.... which they subsequently did. Classic emergency cells (little clutches of Gonzo noses being pulled from the face of the comb).

At this point, a beekeeper has many options, depending upon the desired outcome of the AS. It may also be deemed prudent to reduce the number of cells, though the thinking is that, given they were drawn under the emergency impulse, the bees will not swarm from them, so they could equally be left alone to sort themselves out.

Well, you may not be surprised to learn that they did actually end up swarming off these cells 🤬. They must have emerged about 4 days ago, but been held back by the weather.

Yesterday two or three casts came out. For some reason, I can't find the photo of them in the tree, but you get the picture:

PXL_20230507_224755151.jpg

They are now safely in a box, but curiosity led me to have a quick peek in the hive which issued these. I was expecting to see evidence of emerged queen cells, as you might had a prime swarm issued.

Instead, I saw a few cells containing deceased Queens, some of which were starting to be pulled down .... Much as you might see after emergency (where the first Queen out stings through the cells)....

I suspect I am overthinking it, but my initial instinct was this was some kind of hybrid of swarming and emergency behaviours ?? ... Probably not ??? Thoughts welcome. Thanks 👍
 
I've never believed the glib statement that bees won't swarm on EQC's, I don't know why Wally persists in perpetuating that misconception. He was once asked whether he could be sure of that and he said no, because he never checks them to find out.
 
Given excess cells of any type bees can swarm it’s as simple as that. They don’t even have to be strong some will issue tennis ball sized swarms!

Can I ask who the duck is Wally?
 
Given excess cells of any type bees can swarm it’s as simple as that. They don’t even have to be strong some will issue tennis ball sized swarms!

Can I ask who the duck is Wally?
Wally Shaw, WBKA technical Officer, a learned and capable beekeeper, just has the occasional idea I'm not too sure of
 
Well, you may not be surprised to learn that they did actually end up swarming off these cells
My bees always swarm if they are left with more than one emergency cell, so I'm not surprised at all. I know others have had different experiences in that respect, but I don't leave them with more than one cell in such circumstances any more. Agree with all above posts.
 
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I've never believed the glib statement that bees won't swarm on EQC's, I don't know why Wally persists in perpetuating that misconception. He was once asked whether he could be sure of that and he said no, because he never checks them to find out.

Given excess cells of any type bees can swarm it’s as simple as that. They don’t even have to be strong some will issue tennis ball sized swarms!

Can I ask who the duck is Wally?
Answering both at once in agreement. With multiple QCs, built under any condition(s), multiple swarms are possible, and during a flow I would go as far as likely.

Last Friday I had a Lyson 6-frame (double deep, so 12 frames) spew out 3lb of bees which landed on a nuc box as well as covering the front of the original. Couldn’t find the queen, so I gathered a respectable amount of bees into the nuc they seemed to like, then set it beside the original parent hive. Bees funneled into the new digs and I walked away as I had other things going.

Saturday morning they had all gone back into their original hive, but cast a medium and two small swarms that day. This time I shook the medium into a box but gave it its own position in the yard away from the parent. I then shook both the smalls into the same box, and left it under the bush, exactly where they had settled. My wife an I have covid and temp was 103.5F (39.7C) and I was fading in energy.

I dropped a mated caged queen in the parent box with the candy release, which is what I intended before I got behind. Another swarm of ~1.5lbs landed outside our kitchen window on Sunday which I shook into a box in seconds, and left it in place. Can’t say with certainty, but it would not surprise me if they didn’t issue out of the same box.

I’ve seen a single queen emerge and set about killing rivals (usually with the help of workers), and I’ve seen QCs of several different ages emerge for days, walk around together and take flight with varying degrees of the workforce.
 
Well, I was going to do Snelgrove 2 modified to my hives as I’m too short to do Demarees. Don’t know what I’m going to do now. I was convinced Wally was the guy to listen to and as a 3rd year bee keeper I hoped to be on the ball and know what to do in advance this year.
 
Well, I was going to do Snelgrove 2 modified to my hives as I’m too short to do Demarees. Don’t know what I’m going to do now. I was convinced Wally was the guy to listen to and as a 3rd year bee keeper I hoped to be on the ball and know what to do in advance this year.
To be fair, Christine, the first part of the process worked like a dream. If I'd taken the EQCs arising from the second part down to one, that would have worked also. No problem with the method (nothing is infallible, but I have had success with it before) ... There's obviously just an issue with the blanket assumption that bees won't swarm off emergency cells.
 
To be fair, Christine, the first part of the process worked like a dream. If I'd taken the EQCs arising from the second part down to one, that would have worked also. No problem with the method (nothing is infallible, but I have had success with it before) ... There's obviously just an issue with the blanket assumption that bees won't swarm off emergency cells.
Thanks for the clarification. I’ll give it go and remember to do that extra step.
 
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