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Author Topic: Anti-swarm tactics requested  (Read 358 times)

Offline FloridaGardener

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Anti-swarm tactics requested
« on: April 26, 2021, 11:52:20 pm »
So some of this was covered in a recent topic "How Many Supers to Add..?"  with regard to giving the bees lots of space to work.
Space, I have here. Foundationless frames, yes.  Just no more empty comb to put in the brood nest.  The problem is, the nectar's coming in so fast, that even when I've added empty frames at the edges of the brood nest, they are filling it with nectar.  Totally pre-swarm and I don't want to lose them.   And now I'm out of drawn comb.

As Bob mentioned is happening in CA, the Japanese Privet is in bloom.  It's gorgeous.  There are ten trees within 200 feet of the hives.   The bees are working it from 7am to 7pm.



So, the problem: They aren't drawing new comb, but rather, the emerging brood is replaced with nectar.  No swarm cells yet that I saw, but I might have missed.  I pulled two frames of brood today, and added my last two empty drawn combs. 

It's as if the bees don't want to take the nectar to the top of the stack, and they aren't using the top entrance yet.

I'm contemplating adding a hive body with 10 totally empty frames UNDER the bottom box.  Thoughts?

Here's the equipment stack, top to bottom.

Telescoping lid
Inner Cover
Imirie shim with exit
9-frame super with 2 drawn frames of honey
QX
Med hive body - 7 drawn frames, 2 empty frames - all nectar & stores
Med hive body - 6 frames capped brood speckled with nectar backfill
Med hive body- 6 frames capped brood speckled with nectary backfill
Slatted rack
Screened Bottom Board

I'm also considering a swarm guard, which might slow them down at the entrance.  Or maybe make them start using the top entrance (I wish!)

What are thoughts on a totally empty hive body underneath the current stack? Or should I keep interspersing empties?  I hate interrupting them.  They're not keen on the interruptions either...

Thanks, all
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 12:13:06 am by FloridaGardener »

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2021, 02:54:05 am »
This Information was provided By Mark a few days ago. I am quoting from the same article posted by him. The dates are already past. Even earlier dates might have been relevant for you in Florida. But here is some good information, maybe you can improvise.

George Imirie's PINK PAGESfated
April 2002
Supering, Swarming, and Splitting

"Install the first super on April 1st directly on top of the upper brood chamber with NO queen excluder under it. Examine it a week or 2 weeks later and if bees are actively working on the frames in that super evidenced by seeing nectar in several frames or eggs and larvae, the super is BAITED and you now install the queen excluder under that super (making sure the queen is down below). Bees will not hesitate to come through the excluder if the super is BAITED with fresh incoming nectar or open brood. Sometime between April 15th and April 25th, install an Imirie Shim on top of this super"


http://pinkpages.chrisbacherconsulting.com/2002_Apr_-_Supering_Swarming_and_Splitting.html
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 09:32:41 am by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2021, 11:20:26 am »
Right...all that was done. That?s why there is two frames of honey above QX

The problem is that either there are more field bees than house bees festooning, or else
Literally 10 seconds flight time between forage and landing board and house bees are dropping it at the first place they can.

Hence the idea of the open box at ground floor.  Or an open box with one built out frame as a ladder. 




Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2021, 11:26:02 am »
Right...all that was done. That?s why there is two frames of honey above QX

The problem is that either there are more field bees than house bees festooning, or else
Literally 10 seconds flight time between forage and landing board and house bees are dropping it at the first place they can.

Hence the idea of the open box at ground floor.  Or an open box with one built out frame as a ladder.

O well I tried to help.  lol  :grin:  Maybe someone else can give you better advice.  I am a little confused though. If the bees, refuse to take nectar to the upper box, how did the honey get into the two frames above the QX?

"It's as if the bees don't want to take the nectar to the top of the stack, and they aren't using the top entrance yet.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2021, 12:32:35 pm »
If your empty/new frames are foundation-less, then yes you will have better results at getting them to draw it by placing on the slatted rack under the brood nest.   Bees draw such frames from the top bar down.  So putting underneath will certainly make a big difference. Work with the bees natural tendencies not against them; makes things easier for them and you.
Caveats of bottom supering. The bees put pollen closest to the entrance, also true of a top entrance. So the newly drawn frames will get packed with pollen. The queen goes where there is pollen, she will move down and lay brood as those new frames are drawn. So long as you are not expecting or wanting that bottom newly drawn box of frames to be a honey box.
You could move frames of capped brood, no larvae, no eggs, above the QE and replace with open frames. This will progressively fill out the upper boxes. Much more work and manipulations though. Just do not put any open brood up there else you will have a bunch of queen cells and rogue virgins to soon deal with.
With foundation frames they will readily draw from the bottom bar upwards. So top supering with foundation does not have this extra challenge of getting drawn.
With foundationless frames needing to be drawn bottom supering works fine and well. The brood nest moves up when the box is added on the bottom. The queen moves the nest down as the new frames are drawn and pollen is packed in near the entrance. As the brood matures in the upper boxes it can be moved above a QE to keep the queen from going back up into them.

As for anti swarm tactic.  If you feel they have all the brood and bees they need for now and they have not started any misbehavings yet then you might consider just caging the queen to slow them down. Leave the cage in the hive.  This stops her brood production but keeps her smell in there and the hive bees keep busy.  An ezbz cage with the cage end bar removed, cage QE entrance, works great for this as the bees can get in and out of the cage at will to care and groom her but she cannot get out.  Leave her caged for a week or more while you monitor hive power and manipulate the frames to get drawn and move capped brood frames around.  Release her when you are ready for her to restart making bees again.  PS:  on a flow you will notice a big boost in honey production and comb drawing while the queen had been caged as there will not be all that new brood to feed. 

Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 12:50:16 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2021, 01:00:33 pm »
Yes, thanks much.  It was "SUPER" helpful. lol.

The two frames of honey above the QX were placed there by yours truly. To bring bees up.  I've progressively moved empty frames from position 10 to 8 or 9 because 10 tends not to get used otherwise.

I'll take the tip, HP, and find the Q, and my ezbz.  It's probably easier to find the queen in that huge hive than find the ezbz, but I will dig through ye olde "Bee Box."

I don't mind making the manipulations, the weather isn't hot enough yet to blight me while I work.  It's 65F at night and 80F daytime.  Air smells delicious, light breeze...good to be outdoors.  Just don't want to lose this bee crew.  I don't mind the stores bars, they're good for making up nucs. 

Only drawback...my hive stand feels too high.  Time for a step stool.
Cheers.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2021, 04:31:54 pm »
Typo.  jzbz
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2021, 05:59:30 pm »
>You could move frames of capped brood, no larvae, no eggs, above the QE and replace with open frames. This will progressively fill out the upper boxes. Much more work and manipulations though. Just do not put any open brood up there else you will have a bunch of queen cells and rogue virgins to soon deal with.

HoneyPump your number 4 reply was packed full of ideas on how to coach the bees into drawing comb and working the super above the brood with a QX. NO doubt your suggestions will work as I trust your experience for that. This does leave a question however. Referring to a short paragraph taken from the report posted by Mark, thus the following information. Dates aside, taking in consideration different areas and climites. Will the same results of virgins and rogue queen cells be expected as the method reported by Marks post with his attached report? Also taking into consideration that you are moving frames and he is leaving them as they are. Two different scenarios but with one suggesting leaving open larva and eggs when adding the QX and your suggestion of never moving larva above the QX. Thanks

http://pinkpages.chrisbacherconsulting.com/2002_Apr_-_Supering_Swarming_and_Splitting.html

"Install the first super on April 1st directly on top of the upper brood chamber with NO queen excluder under it. Examine it a week or 2 weeks later and if bees are actively working on the frames in that super evidenced by seeing nectar in several frames or eggs and larvae, the super is BAITED and you now install the queen excluder under that super (making sure the queen is down below). Bees will not hesitate to come through the excluder if the super is BAITED with fresh incoming nectar or open brood. Sometime between April 15th and April 25th, install an Imirie Shim on top of this super"


For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2021, 06:25:13 pm »
Separating young open brood (egg/larvae) from the queen by QE introduces the risk and likelihood to occur, yes.  Especially in a hive that the bkpr is expressing concern about swarm prep.
If you do not want to be hit by a car do not go stand in the street. If you do not want queen cells do not put eggs/larvae where they are most likely to make them.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2021, 06:29:28 pm »
Separating young open brood (egg/larvae) from the queen by QE introduces the risk and likelihood to occur, yes.  Especially in a hive that the bkpr is expressing concern about swarm prep.
If you do not want to be hit by a car do not go stand in the street. If you do not want queen cells do not put eggs/larvae where they are most likely to make them.

I am glad you chimed in. This report was from a 40 year plus beekeeper.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2021, 09:41:00 pm »
Just to add some person observations: for a couple years I used to move open brood above a QE, so that I could get a large selection of nurse bees to work with a couple days later.

HP is right (per usual). I opened a hive one day, and it was full of queen cells above the QE I liked that quenn, so I quit doing that.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2021, 10:28:13 pm »
Just to add some person observations: for a couple years I used to move open brood above a QE, so that I could get a large selection of nurse bees to work with a couple days later.

HP is right (per usual). I opened a hive one day, and it was full of queen cells above the QE I liked that quenn, so I quit doing that.

Thanks Cool. I suppose one of the advantages of our forum is the quick answers from experienced beekeepers such as HP and others including yourself as in this situation. If I had read the article, coming from a 40 years plus beekeeper, and not been a member here. I might have been convinced that the report of letting the bees themselves bait the super, would be the fool proof way to go! It did not mention the possibility of queen cells above the excluder. If it did I missed it. Can't beat our forums members experiences!

Even so, the self baiting method mentioned in reply 1 and again in reply 7, would still seem be a quick and easy fix and a lot less trouble as compared to other methods described to manipulate and entice bees to move up, as long as the beekeeper is responsible in coming back in a few days, checking for queen cells above the excluder once the excluder has been installed, and at the same time, making sure no remaining eggs are above the excluder since the ones which were present would have hatched, (no eggs above also means no queen above the excluder as she was properly placed below when the excluder was added, but don't miss a queen cell either right? lol). The report method is still a quick and easy fix and a lot less trouble compared to some the other manipulating methods? The description of the bait method sounds so easy! Unless I might have missed something else? Remember I have only been beekeeping for 3 years. lol have mercy... 
 :shocked:
To be clear, my replies have been in direct response to Gardeners statement: "It's as if the bees don't want to take the nectar to the top of the stack, and they aren't using the top entrance yet."
Now; If they are already in swarm mode that may be a whole different ball game? 




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« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 01:58:59 pm by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2021, 01:49:50 pm »
Went through the whole hive early this morning.  Put an empty box at the bottom, above the slatted rack, with 3 new foundation sheets as ladders.  Yes.... I caved in, and used foundation.  Whether the bees use it for anything other than a ramp remains to be seen. IDK why but none of my bees understand foundation.  Even when it's placed _above_ the brood nest.

Found one more empty comb at #10, and moved it to #6, inside edge of nest center.

Saw palm-sized patches of 5-day larvae on some frames.  Did not cage Q.  Still a lot of capped nectar where capped brood emerged.
Maybe the new setup will slow the foraging greed, until they sort it all out.

No swarm cells, that's good!  Might have caught it just in time. 

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Anti-swarm tactics requested
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2021, 05:41:00 am »
Just take some brood and bees out, one with eggs and make a nuc.
Put undrawn frames in the brood nest, drawing them out will slow them down.