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  • HELP! Swarming/supersedure post shook swarm

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #10785  by Yorkbees84
 07 May 2021, 12:45
Hi All

I am in a bit of a quandary. In the advice of the BBKA, I performed a shook swarm (actually replaced all but one frame in brood box) 2 weeks ago to refresh the comb in my hive and as I live in a EFB area, controlling the chance of this spreading and developing in my hive (no evidence I had it by the way). Queen present, booming hive, eggs and larvae seen. 2 weeks later today, I'm gardening during a brief bit of sun and suddenly hear the hive and see that there are lots flying around and clinging on the front of the hive, more than with the standard orientation flights. I got by suit on to investigate and on the one frame I left behind found around 5 sealed Queen cells. Oddly, they're around the edge but not hanging from the bottom and have the shape of a supersedure cell. I could not find my Queen. I never saw the beginnings of Queen cells when I did the coomb changeover so these must have been built immediately after. I was careful and know the Queen was fine when I finished my previous inspection. However, now I'm in the situation of having one decent frame of larvae (young to old) with the Q cells. All my eggs in one basket! So, if I were to treat as a swarm the remaining hive would have no viable larvae or eggs to work with. Help? Be kind. PS I have a nucleus ready and waiting.
 #10786  by Patrick
 07 May 2021, 15:03
Hi Yorkbees

Bees have an irritating habit of not considering foundation as “space” hence once the queen had the drawn comb all laid up and other things favourable, they decided to swarm.

At this stage and assuming a swarm has issued with your queen, if this is your only hive I would reduce down to one queen cell and as insurance wrap it with foil leaving the tip exposed. If you have more than one hive you could borrow a frame of brood and eggs from there and set up an insurance nuc with one of the spare cells. I wouldn’t AS split an already swarmed colony.

Best of luck, sounds like you got unlucky so far!
 #10787  by JoJo36
 07 May 2021, 16:52
Glad its not just me!!

My hive 1 checked today for swarm cells and nothing part from what I think may be a supercedure cell??!!
Its not capped but charged so put everything back. There is no stores of nectar on brood frames (what I could see or very little) so I added a frames of capped syrup to the super and marked it, the other frames about 6/7 do have some nectar they have filled but not a lot?!
I've taken a couple of pics, and thought maybe check again next week one day if weather permits but its been horrible, windy and cold here for quite a while on and off, not particularly warm but just okay today!
Hive has brood, eggs and larvae.
Tried to send pics but won't let me upload??!!
 #10788  by NigelP
 07 May 2021, 18:35
JoJo to post pictures you need to upload to another picture sharing site and then post the web link between the i m g] put image url here [/i m g][] links that come s up when you want to post a picture.
Yorkbees, tough luck....I would reduce numbers of queen cells to prevent possible second/3rd swarms emerging. There is a lot of debate whether to cull to one or two queen cells. A decision you have to make. Personally I'm a two is better than one if all your eggs are in one basket...Despite many claims of others on T'internet I've yet to witness a hive swarming with only 2 queen cells left in it.
JoJo. You do occasionally find an odd charged queen cell within a hive, it's not supercedure. Often just some bees cut off from queen substance. If there is only one cell I'd either destroy or place in nuc if you want increase. And keep a close eye on them.
 #10790  by JoJo36
 08 May 2021, 07:27
Thanks Patrick
Definitely only one which I left there uncapped as I thought maybe supercedure and didn't want to be too hasty, however I'll take a look next week and destroy it if needs be.
I'm not on any picture sharing site so I'll give that a miss:)
Weather forecast this week not great at all and was bit concerned about no nectar in brood so hope I've done right thing adding a marked frame of sugar syrup in super. Just trying to keep bees alive until the flow!!
 #10794  by AdamD
 08 May 2021, 15:27
Yorkbee, As you have a nuc, I would be inclined to make a nuc up with one queencell and leave one queencell in the hive. You will need to cut out the queencell (sharp penknive or SMALL kitchen knife rather than a hive tool and leave enough wax around it to squish the tab of wax to some comb or hold it between two frames with a toothpick or such-like. Super bees are best for a nuc if you have them as they haven't flown so are less likely to return to the parent colony, but put enough bees (after some do fly back home) and stores in the nuc and shut it up for 3 days in the cool (behind the shed, say). Then open it up in the evening where they will remain.

(Shook swarms are drastic - I would personally usually prefer to do a 'Bailey Comb Exchange' over 4 weeks which has the same effect of getting bees onto clean comb. You just need a second brood box, a queen exlcuder and ideally an top entrance eke).
 #10795  by AdamD
 08 May 2021, 15:32
"Despite many claims of others on T'internet I've yet to witness a hive swarming with only 2 queen cells left in it". I have - it depends on the strength/balance of the colony in question but difficult to gauge of course. And I s'pose some swarms will leave and the beekeeper doesn't know about it. Bleeding off enough bees (Snelgrove as you use Nigel?) will reduce the chance of multiple swarms.
 #10797  by NigelP
 08 May 2021, 17:06
Good to be corrected Adam, strength of hives does play a crucial role in determining how many swarms issue if left to their own devices.
In the way I do my modification of Snelgrove there are no queen cells left as the bees tear them all down themselves.......Unless I want them to raise a new queen.
I have a hive, not quite from hell but far to "hot" for me.... where I'm trying to force them to swarm by not giving space and will rear a new queen in the bottom box from a selected frame of eggs. Leave old queen to go on laying in top box bleeding off bees from here in to bottom box so honey production will not me majorly impacted. As soon as I have a new laying queen I can then dispatch old queen, reunite via airfreshner and back to normal but with sane bees and good queen.
I'm beginning to think I can (occasionally) have my cake and eat it....LOL
 #10815  by Patrick
 09 May 2021, 17:24
Sadly I have know some bees successively cast themselves nearly to oblivion, the remainder being robbed out by other bees or wasps. Not helped by instructions which often say to leave alone for weeks after split.

It does depend on the split method - as you say the Snelgrove 2 is more effective.