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StephenT 

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Took a break from the home office at about 10:30 and Hive No.1 (Buckfast) was in the process of swarming. Put them on double brood for more space 14 days ago and thought they would not do anything until at least the weather got warmer. I was very wrong!! Anyway, they settled a good way up the neighbours plum tree but we managed to collect them and they are now (safely?) re-homed. Watching bees pour out of a swarming hive is really quite impressive.
That made us think that Hive No.3 on brood and a half and two supers must be getting itchy wings as that was pretty packed with bees and a few play cups 14 days ago. Had a look in there and there was at least 8 capped QC’s and as many charged uncapped ones. On the bottom of the frames, in the middle and at the top. Everywhere!! One QC was open at the side and couldn’t find the marked queen. This hive had BIAS (inc.eggs) and looked rammed with bees still but I assume they had already swarmed or were doing a supersedure. Whilst reassembling the hive we found what looked like a virgin queen on the QE (picture attached). She didn’t look too clever (probably chilled) but we popped her back inside.
Plan of action is: Hive No.1- go back inside shortly and reduce to one (or two?) capped QC’s. Hive No.3 - go back inside and reduce the same. Hive No.2 - is on brood box and super and need to check ASAP to see what conspiracies they are hatching.
It was a very productive couple of weeks on the cherry/plum blossom a few weeks back and they all built up very quickly.
Any tips would be appreciated of course.
 

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Erichalfbee 

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Reducing cells.
Go back TOMORROW and choose ONE open cell. Destroy the rest. Make sure you get every one which means shaking the bees off every frame except the one with your chosen queen cell ( brush those off) Mark the frame.
Go back in six days to destroy all the emergency cells the bees will make.

Have a look at this
 

Erichalfbee 

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PS
That’s not a queen. She has a hairy thorax ( queens are bald) and pollen baskets.
 

StephenT 

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That’s not a queen. She has a hairy thorax ( queens are bald) and pollen baskets.
Thanks. It’s just that her wings came well short of her abdomen but we found it odd that there might be a virgin queen and new eggs unless it was a supersedure. Can you generally notice the lack of bees after a swarm as Hive No.3 still seemed very packed?
 

StephenT 

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PPS: you have the option to make up a couple of nucs with spare QCs.
The last thing we need is more hives although we do have at least one person interested in having a couple of QC’s.
 

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Thanks. It’s just that her wings came well short of her abdomen but we found it odd that there might be a virgin queen and new eggs unless it was a supersedure. Can you generally notice the lack of bees after a swarm as Hive No.3 still seemed very packed?
It’s a mistake to presume that a swarm always issues the second the first queen cell is capped very often it doesn’t. Did you look for your queen?
There us no way this is a supersedure. Those are swarm cells.
A swarmed hive will look as populous as it did before. Remember when you are inspecting all the foragers are out and hundreds of bees are emerging every day.
 

StephenT 

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It’s a mistake to presume that a swarm always issues the second the first queen cell is capped very often it doesn’t. Did you look for your queen?
There us no way this is a supersedure. Those are swarm cells.
A swarmed hive will look as populous as it did before. Remember when you are inspecting all the foragers are out and hundreds of bees are emerging every day.
We looked for the Queen (white spot) and couldn't find her so assume they have swarmed. Two knock-downs to do tomorrow.
 

ericbeaumont 

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No more hives allowed in this garden!! No room!!
Fair point, it is getting a bit busy, and the other day I noticed the neighbour over the back looking a bit closely at her washing.

On the other hand, if you shifted that bench and squeezed in a couple of nucs (it won't be for long!) you could sell them locally by early June if all goes well.

Are they swarmy? No, they're Buckfast doing what proper Buckfast do, and ran out of room. If the temper and mating are good then you're sitting on £350 minimum.
 

StephenT 

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Are they swarmy? No, they're Buckfast doing what proper Buckfast do, and ran out of room. If the temper and mating are good then you're sitting on £350 minimum.
It was just scary quite how fast they ran out of room with 20 frames but then again they probably 'decided' to make irreversible swarm plans a couple of weeks ago, just before we added the second brood box.
 

StephenT 

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Reducing cells.
Go back TOMORROW and choose ONE open cell.
Is selecting an open cell about trying to ensure the good health of the developing queen? Wally does not see this as necessary but it seems to be the more common practice.
 

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irreversible swarm plans a couple of weeks ago, just before we added the second brood box.
Not easy to catch them at it with this on-off weather, but the good news is that it's set to be warmer and sunny to the end of April, so you may get a good mating (or matings, if Ania agrees to push the boat out).
 

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Is selecting an open cell about trying to ensure the good health of the developing queen? Wally does not see this as necessary but it seems to be the more common practice.
It's more about beekeeper reassurance, as in you see a viable larva as opposed to hoping the sealed ones are ok. They usually are.
Doesn't matter which you choose but a safe location on the comb is a wise consideration.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Is selecting an open cell about trying to ensure the good health of the developing queen? Wally does not see this as necessary but it seems to be the more common practice.
No it's so that you know when the new queen is emerging. If you take the other queen cells down and there are still eggs and young larvae there they will make more queen cells which you MUST go back and remove. If you leave a closed cell the new queen may emerge before you return to knock the emergency cells down and the bees will swarm again if their numbers allow. Leaving an open cell gives you that 6/7 days grace after which time no more queen cells can be made
 

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No it's so that you know when the new queen is emerging. If you take the other queen cells down and there are still eggs and young larvae there they will make more queen cells which you MUST go back and remove. If you leave a closed cell the new queen may emerge before you return to knock the emergency cells down and the bees will swarm again if their numbers allow. Leaving an open cell gives you that 6/7 days grace after which time no more queen cells can be made
Doing as Dani suggests would also allow you to shift that colony away a day before the queen is due to emerge - as long as there is one or more colonies close by to absorb the flying bees. While adding bees to those colonies it would reduce the likelihood of a cast swarm in the swarmed colony. Think here of the Pagden method of artificial swarm control.

Missing a queen cell is likely to end up with a small queen, anyway. Moving the box means one can leave two open queen cells, if you prefer, with less chance of a cast swarm.
 

StephenT 

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PPS: you have the option to make up a couple of nucs with spare QCs.
We managed to find space for one ‘nuc’ with a spare cell. Didn’t have an actual nuc so dummied down a BB with a big slab of kingspan at each end. Bit of a makeshift roof as well.
 

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