Long hives swarming before honey flow.

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Bob Wilson:
Last year my long langstroth hive swarmed before the honey flow. This year I worked hard to put off swarming by constantly adding empty, foundationless frames within  broodnest, thereby keeping it open.
Yesterday, just as our honey flow is about to begin (April-May), one of my long langstroth colonies swarmed, and the other two have queen cells already being filled with jelly.
Question 1.
Is this the best I can do, at this point?
Hive A- Found queen cells, but not the queen. I created two nucs with queen cells, one for me and one for a friend. It's a good, clean, gentle hive.
Hive B- Found the Queen and queen cells. I created a nuc, taking the Queen with it, and moved it to a different spot in the yard (simulating a swarm, I hope). Also I created a 2nd nuc with queen cells for that same friend.
Hive C- It already swarmed, so I left it alone. I didn't even go into it. It was a dirty, cranky colony anyway. I will be good to have a new queen.
Question 2.
Did the colonies swarm because they had too large of a poplulation, IN SPITE OF my faithfully adding empty frames within the broodnest, or did the colonies swarm because they had too large of a poplulation, BECAUSE OF my faithfully adding empty frames within the broodnest?
They each had around 17-20 deep frames with brood on them (Some were partial frames). There were a lot of bees in each hive.
But that means to put off swarming, I not only have to keep the broodnest open, but I have to also constantly knock back the population by creating nucs.
In other words, instead of inserting empty frames between brood frames, I have to REPLACE brood frames with empty frames.
I don't have room to keep creating nucs. I live in a subdivision. Just how many nucs do you create off each hive in the spring to keep the population from maxing/swarming before the honey flow kicks in? Does every beek have this issue with every hive, the balance between having enough space, but not allowing the population to get too big?

Ben Framed:
Bob you are correct in your idea of not wanting your bees to swarm as the ideal situation is to have the hive peaked out or almost peaked out just as the big flow hits. That way the bees can take full advantage, with a large workforce bringing in nectar for maximum honey production. I do not know much about long hives but I will insert a video by Bob Binnie , (in case you have not seen it), which explains the science of equalizing our hives before the main flow to help prevent the problems you are having.  I hope it helps you and others.

I'm sure others will respond with strategies to prevent swarming but not grow a yard.  I am approaching this point, although I'm not quite there yet, but I'm also curious to know some answers to these questions.  I think something that is helpful to remember though, is that just giving bees space won't always prevent swarming.  It's spring and healthy colonies are desirous to reproduce, and with colonies like this there may come a point where no amount of adding space will discourage a colony from throwing up queen cells.  So just because they are swarming even though you are giving them space, doesn't necessarily mean you are doing something wrong, Bob.  In fact the opposite is sort of true, your colonies are healthy and strong enough to reproduce, which is a good thing, just an inconvenience for you and your neighbors.  Hopefully more experienced members will respond with some concrete advice.     

Ben Framed:
Two things bees do is multiply and make honey. 😊 I have tried something a little different from my first previous seasons as I left empty combs on top. The bees are already working it in my zone. That reasoning was for another purpose but that may also help in swarm prevention to some extent? We will see. I have not found queen cells. BUT; As Mr Honey pump explained in yet even another topic, I should not basically expect to see queen cups until the drones in these hives are of proper aged  so, I will learn more when the drones are of age and how much this extra space helped. It may not help much since Bob did all he could even by adding extra space. So again as Don Kuchenmeister says Bees make honey and multiply. I suppose Bob could split as he did and re-introduce back to the original hive just before the big flow hits? Sell or give away the extra queen? Or simply sell the nucs?

Bob Wilson:
I have seen that Binnie video. The bad thing is that in February I did just as he suggested and equalized resources from the gangbuster hive into the two weaker hives...which then made them bigger and now they have made queen cells too. (A good video, though)

I am know how you feel. Why do bees swarm?
1. BROODNEST CONJESTION- I opened up the nest so the queen could lay, but the mass of bees in the back 15 deep frames had to crawl though the first 15 frames (broodnest) closest to the entrance to get out. Perhaps it wasn't queen laying congestion so much as entrance movement and these long boxes needing a back entrance. Do standard hives with three deep boxes have a bottom entrance AND and top entrance?
2. VENTILATION- I tend to think that a 4X.5 inch entrance is good all year, especially in March. Bees move air in their hives. I have beespace bottom, sides, and top of the frames, but the boxes are four feet long. Maybe I need to put a vent hole in the back.
3. CRITICAL MASS- Just too large of a population coming into the honey flow, even with an open broodnest.
4. REPRODUCTIVE URGE- My bees only care about themselves, not about me or my wants. Selfish little buggers.


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