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  Tuesday, 16 August 2016
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Hello, I am a brand new beekeeper in Brattleboro. I got a nuc a month ago. 8 frames with a queen which is all my hive can accommodate.. I love them! I opened the hive yesterday and found many queen cells some seems quite ready to hatch.and they were on the bottoms of the frames. I saw the Queen. So from everything I’ve read it seems they might be ready to swarm - and the recommendation is to do an intentional “swarm” and split the hive. I do have another brood box ready but I’m afraid there isn’t enough time in the season to split the Hive. I was going to do it this morning but I just don’t know. Maybe I should just let them swarm and hope there are enough left to winter? One piece of advice was to kill the queen cells, but that doesn’t seem to answer why they are doing this.

What do you recommend?
5 years ago
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#2149
I had a new hive swarm last week. They headed high into the trees, and after a few minutes. They all returned to the hive they swarmed from. Between the swarming and the return. I inspected the hive and there were plenty of queen cells.
5 years ago
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#2148
This spring mine also were stuborn to draw out the comb. Ended up with two of my hives honey bound and both swarmed. It took pulling up two frames to entice them to draw out the medium foundation. It works well, for some reason they can be finicky at times to move up a box to foundation only.

Even if your moving from a deep to a medium you can hang two center deep frames down from a medium into their old space. It helps when doing this to have a spare nuc or deep box to hold the frames between setting the medium box on then placing in. Pretty sure I've lost a queen before by setting frames down on ground to lean against the hive. I use an empty box (with a solid bottom even if just a piece of plywood) for all frame moves anymore and check the box to see if she jumped to it before finishing the move.
5 years ago
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#2147
:)
I asked them very nicely to draw it out, but they were disinclined.
5 years ago
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#2145
Foundation (undrawn comb) is not 'space' to a bee.
Yeah, that'll do it. I have been trying to get them to draw the comb in the super since I put it on, but they just weren't going for it. Looks like there's a chance that the swarm is moving into the nuc I put out, though, so hopefully it'll all work out. Good thing I went ahead and bought those double nucs after the annual meeting, even if I didn't quite have the guts to split the hive then. ;)
5 years ago
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#2143
Chelsea, you may have hit on the reason your hive swarmed. "comb as yet un-drawn". If there is a lot of "room" in the hive but no place for the Queen to lay eggs she will take a hike. With the recent dearth of nectar the bees perhaps could not produce enough wax to draw out the comb and give the Queen room. Sure is complicated this beekeeping :) Good luck. Peter
My hive just threw a swarm this morning, as well. I'd figured it was late in the season, especially as they have had enough room with comb as-yet undrawn. They thought differently! I hustled a nuc box out with some lemongrass oil (they were too high to shake down), but they've since moved on. I'll take a look at the main hive once everyone else calms back down; they were bearded this afternoon, and it looks like I still have a heap of bees, so fingers crossed.

As a relative newcomer to beekeeping, it was neat to see the swarm first-hand. As I've read, it was LOUD. Just sorry I couldn't snag them in time, and save myself a few dollars in the spring. ;)
5 years ago
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#2141
Additionally, I met a nice beekeeper, last name Cunningham (first name Steve, I think) at the summer VBA meeting who keeps bees on Patch Farm in Putney or Westminster West....not sure which. .


That would be Jeff Cunningham
5 years ago
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#2140
Deborah, since you're a new beekeeper, I'd recommend getting to know a lady in Brattleboro named Nancy Frye who I think runs the Brattleboro Area Beekeepers Guild. You can find her on Facebook.

Additionally, I met a nice beekeeper, last name Cunningham (first name Steve, I think) at the summer VBA meeting who keeps bees on Patch Farm in Putney or Westminster West....not sure which.

Best of luck with your new bees.........a Beekeeper's learning curve may be steep at times but the views as you rise are as sweet as honey.
5 years ago
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#2139
Are they encapsulated queen cells or the queen cup that is made just in case but not always used?

If you have emergency cells (complete queen cells) I'd split the hive in attempt to trick the queen she's swarmed. The intent would be to keep her from fleeing and then reunite the splits into one hive again so it's strong enough for winter. It's very late in the year to be starting another nuc. If you had drawn comb and fed them you'd may be fine but it sounds like you've got only the comb drawn in original nuc. Small colonies can't draw comb that fast and wont after the golden rod flow is over.
5 years ago
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#2138
Conventional wisdom, practical thinking.... it is too late in the season. The bees don't think so apparently. I'm not an expert but if they are going to swarm anyway, why not let them do it under controlled conditions? I'd yank out some frames and put them in the new box. You don't need a lot but assuming that you have 8 frames, you should be able to find a frame with honey and pollen, a frame with open and capped brood and another frame with capped brood. Make sure that one of the frames has swarm cells on it. If you have more than one frame with swarm cells, I'd take the best one (most cells, most brood) for the new hive and leave the other behind "just in case". If there is lots of brood, I might even grab a fourth frame of capped brood. Leave the nurse bees on when you take the frames. Ideally both colonies should end up with equal resources of brood, honey and pollen. One will have a queen and the other will have some swarm cells. Now, you will need to feed them because even though the goldenrod is blooming, they won't have a big enough team to take advantage of it. Stick a sugar syrup bottle on each colony and see if you can get some pollen patties as well. You have a couple of months to build them up and if you are faithful about it and they are in a reasonably protected spot and you have a little luck, you could have two colonies of bees next Spring. So, not economically practical, time consuming and fraught with risk - but if you are fascinated by bees and want to spend the time - give it a shot. "Damn the torpedoes - full speed ahead!"
5 years ago
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#2137
Hello, swarming is caused by too much heat, crowding, no space for the Queen to lay eggs or a weak Queen. I Suspect a new nuc has a good Queen so I would assume that the recent hot humid weather may be the reason for a possible swarm. You may not be able to stop a swarm but you should consider adding additional boxes, for room, and making sure you have good ventilation. Perhaps putting some shims under the top cover, or tiltng the cover might help with the heat.
Bees will do what bees will do. Sometmes we just need to sit back and watch. Good luck. Peter
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