Artificial Swarm at Out Yard

Yesterday we went over to the hives at our friend Tom's place to check on them and add supers. The hives had several frames of new foundation this year, and we were waiting for them to finish drawing them out.

When we got there all three hives had a lot of activity around the landing board.

For the purpose of this post, I'll refer to the hives as 2, 3 and 4, with two as the farthest away in the picture, 3 in the middle and 4 closest to the camera.

Hive 4
This hive had started this year with a lot of new foundation and is doing a great job of drawing it out. The queen in this hive is also doing well producing a great brood pattern.

There are several frames that are just packed front and back with brood.

Hive 3
The middle hive's population is awesome. Every frame is just covered with bees. These guys should be an awesome honey producer this year.

We checked a few frames in the super and they're already filling and capping honey.

To this, we added another new super of un-drawn thin surplus foundation. I expect they'll draw it out in just a few days and fill it too. Maybe we should get more supers ready for this one?!

Hive 2
This hive is the one we made two splits out of earlier in the spring. We expected this one to be calm, gentle and have just the right size population to make a lot of honey without being over populated and threaten to swarm.

Apparently the hive has other plans. We opened the hive and it's just boiling over with bees (even after making two splits from it!).

Then we found several swarm cells (capped and uncapped) all over the top box. The picture above is the top box taken off the hive and set on its side to show all the swarm cells hanging off the bottom of the frames.

In these two pictures we pulled a few frames to get a closer look at the swarm cells.

As we were looking at these frames, we happen to notice the queen walking by, so we grabbed our queen marking tube and scooped her up and set her aside in the top of an (empty) extra feeder.

What we planned* to do was move the old queen and a few frames of bees, pollen and honey into a nuc box. Then when the new queen hatches from one of the swarm cells, the hive won't** swarm because the old queen is gone and they'll figure they've already swarmed.

* I say "planned" because at that moment we realized we didn't have a nuc box with us.

** I say "wont" because bees don't read beekeeping books and sometimes often do their own thing.

We closed up the hive, left the queen in the holding tube, and went home to get an extra nuc box.

When we returned, we pulled 5 frames of bees, brood and pollen from the hive and added the old queen into the nuc.

We closed back up the hive, and will wait a week or two and see if the swarm cells hatch, mate and return all without any swarming. Fingers crossed!

Comments For This Post: (1) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Robin says...
Date:   April 30, 2013, 12:23 pm

Saw our first drones this weekend.   Going to do splits this week, I hope.    Thanks for the pics and write ups - so helpful!

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