Keeping only a few hives

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Ok, first post.   :happy:

I am going to be starting my first hives next spring at my new house (Northwest FL). I will be getting 2 to start with. I have read a lot of books and forum posts on the different ways to expand the number of hives but have found very little on ways to keep my hive numbers down. I've always had a fascination with bees and have wanted to get a few hives ever since I was young.  I'm not really interested in mass collection of honey or making any sort of profit, I just want bees.

What are the best ways to prevent this from getting out of hand (for me) and just keeping my 2, maybe 3 hives over the years? 

Do I just let swarms leave? How would I keep them from swarming to the house.

Do I destroy swarm queen cells?

Any advice would be better than what I have been finding (not finding).


Welcome to Beemaster.
If you do not want more hives, don't buy or make them.

First, Welcome to the forum.  Second, your question is usually the opposite of what people ask here.  That being said, If you only want 2 hives you can just let them be bees and let them swarm when they see fit.  If you don't want them to swarm and you have the flexibility of having one or two more hives during the summer, you could do splits then recombine them in the fall.  Also, you could sell or give away your splits.  If you join a bee club or place an ad on craigslist, I'm sure you could find a home for any excess bees that you might have.

As far as destroying swarm cells, I don't know that there would be any good that would come from doing that.  Usually that does more harm than good.  Unfortunately, even with the most attentive beekeeper there is no way to completely prevent swarming.  It's natural for the bees to reproduce(swarm) so if I only wanted a couple of hives, I would do some splits occasionally to help prevent them from swarming and sell them to help offset the original cost of the bees and equipment.

Hope this helps a little.

If you remove all of the swarm cells, there is a good chance that the bees will swarm any way leaving your hive queenless. Then the only chance your hive has is to make a new queen from a young larvae. I had this happen to my observation hive. It swarmed and none of the swarm cells survived.   They were able to makes a new queen from young larvae. The problem with this is that by the time the queen is ready to start laying eggs, the hive is very weak and the queen will only lay as many eggs as the bees can cover. It was a long slow recovery.
They don't always survive this.

I started out many years ago with only 2 hives, now my smallest yard has 8 hives in it. I never intended to get so involved but as I grew in knowledge and enjoyment of the bees my hive numbers grew. I started with all mediums  and glad I did as I am getting older and the full size supers would just kill my back.
If you have relatives they will be looking for honey but once you start using fresh honey from your own bees you will not want to buy other honey except to taste it because it is different.
Try to find a local bee club as many have mentoring programs and will help you with your extraction.  -Mike


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