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swarming problems please help

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shane 

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Hi all, im new to bee keeping. I bought my first hive sept 09, and successfully got them through the winter. On inspection in april i noticed the first queen cells developing so removed them. The next week more queen cells, so i thought a good opportunity to do a split and get two hives. So i put 2 frames of brood with queen cells into a new hive with some frames of honey and new frames with foundation. Every thing was great until the first hive kept making more queen cells so i added another brood chamber to make more room and removed more queen cells. But it happened the old queen, who was only 1 year old, decided to abscond. But as luck happened she was under the hive so i gathered her up with the bees and made a third hive.
The first hive had more queen cells so i just let them get on with it until an inspection 12th may and found two queens hatch on the same frame. Now all hell has broken loose. One of the queens has swarmed but again i found them on a branch and put the bees back in the hive. But cant find the queen as she is not marked.
I am at a loss to know what to do. Im not getting and honey even though there is masses of bees for the job, but they keep wanting to go away.
I'm obviously doing something really wrong so please can anyone help. I did read that i should have removed all but one queen cell in the queenless hive. Is that true? Any more help will be great so i can get them working on what i want them to do, which is to make lots of honey. Many thanks, Shane.
 
T

Tom Bick 

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Your hive is and was intent on swarming this is reproduction to the bees and a very strong impulse.

You housed the primary swarm and providing that went well that hive may be ok and yes if you dont want the chance of cast swarms from the original hive then it is sometimes best to remove all but the best queen cell.

I dont know what the outcome will be if you replaced the cast swarm back in the hive?

Perhaps the experience has tough you that a bit more reading may help
 
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Don't worry, we all have bees that don't conform

Hi the swarming instinct is very strong. It is not clear whether you artificially swarmed correctly. With the second batch of queen cells you should have done the following (It works for me - sometimes!!)
Remove all the frames bar 0ne of brood to the new hive. Put fresh brood frames in the old hive with the queen. Leave the super with food on the old hive.
The new hive search through the frames to find every queen cell and start of queen cell. Leave the two biggest and best, hopefully sealed. Mark the frames they are on. After a couple of days check both hives for queen cells. Any created in the old hive remove similarly if your 2 originals look good destroy any extras they have made since you moved them over.
The old queen thinks she has swarmed because her brood box is practically empty and she has to lay like hell to build up the numbers again.
The first queen to emerge will destroy the other queen cell or emerged queen and if the weather is OK will make a mating flight and start laying. Beware if they are a swarmy bloodline they may create queen cells later in the year when both colonies have built up.
I collected a swarm on Wednesday from another BEEK who artificially swarmed his hive twice this year but obviously missed a queen cell in the old hive.
Bees don't read the books. But you can and the forum members will give good advice.
 

Rosti 

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Shane, look up the 'Demaree' method (Dave Cushamn has a good write up). In this variable weather you dont want to split critical mass too much but Demaree leaves the queen and flying bees in a very similar situation to post swarm whilst leaving the old brood nest realtively intact but queenless above the supers and as brood hatches you augment forager numbers so that the hives ability to gather nectar / pollen when it gets the chance is not diminished.

I am just switching a std nat hive to 14x12 and will be employing this method to move brood box size and manage any potential swarming tendency at the same time. The beauty of it is you shouldn't loose too much honey production.

You may / should geet some queen cells in the old brood box, depending on your needs either harvest and rear or destroy. Good luck, R
 

shane 

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Thanks for the advice all. I went to have a look today and remove all queen cells and found they had swarmed again. But as luck would have it found the swarm and removed the queen. Went through the hive and removed all queen cells i could find except one which was hatching so i let it into the hive. This queen was a bit different from the one that swarmed. It is very dark in colour where as the one that swarmed was very orange. Is this more of a native colour? Are the darker ones less prone to swarming?
The only thing is, i don't know how many queens are in the hive already hatched as i know i found open queen cells. But i did mark the queen i released into the hive. I will take a look again this evening and see if they have swarmed again. I guess this means that there is a queen in the hive so i will have to destroy the absconder and put the bees back. Please let me know if this is wrong. Many thanks, shane.
 

bushman1872 

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Hi Shane am also a newbee beek and I went and inspected my hive today and the little perishers in the space of 7 days have extended a few of what I thought were empty queen cups and built from scratch several whole queen cells. I have destroyed all the cells I could find to hopefully put off the swarm for a few days until I can get my spare hive up and perform an artificial swarm. Anyhoo I would seriously reccomend looking at bees at the bottom of the garden by Alan Campion in there is a detailed description with diagrams of how to perform the artificial swam. I know that there are several ways to try and mimick the swarm but this one seems to make complete sense to me and it also explains how to reunite the colony so you have an even stronger colony.
 

Haughton Honey 

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Lots of Commercial hives.......
Hi Shane am also a newbee beek and I went and inspected my hive today and the little perishers in the space of 7 days have extended a few of what I thought were empty queen cups and built from scratch several whole queen cells. I have destroyed all the cells I could find to hopefully put off the swarm for a few days until I can get my spare hive up and perform an artificial swarm. Anyhoo I would seriously reccomend looking at bees at the bottom of the garden by Alan Campion in there is a detailed description with diagrams of how to perform the artificial swam. I know that there are several ways to try and mimick the swarm but this one seems to make complete sense to me and it also explains how to reunite the colony so you have an even stronger colony.


Why don't you demaree so that you're using minimal kit for your AS? You can choose to either raise a new Queen or not....depending upon what outcome you want.
 

oliver90owner 

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We all get caught. Removed all queen cells Tuesday (somehow got it in my head that it was Wednesday that I did it), when changing the brood and boxes from the Dartington to a National format, for easier queen rearing. Swarmed this morning and I have just recovered it from an adjacent garden. I was about to start queen rearing today, after checking my bait hives.

A jar of honey in his hand and him watching intently from behind his patio door. Me, with suit, just in case I squashed one or one flew down my shirt; then as soon as the swarm was in a nuc box (well most, including the queen) off with the suit.

I had explained to him that they were not likely to sting because they were swarming. He told me he has not been stung and had very few bees in his house, these last eight years they have been in my garden. He once saw a swarm depart for it's new home (yep, I lost swarms early on). No internet forum to help back then.

Right, off to check that it was that hive that has gone, and to check the one I really want to rear the queens from.

Regards, RAB
 

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