Watch out ! They’re ready to swarm

I checked my 14×12 WBC the other day, and its packed to the rafters with brood. They were so packed in that they were making comb on the bottom bars and the queen was putting eggs in. They also had 5 queen cells on them. I didn’t see the queen, but I saw loads of fresh eggs (standing on end in the cells), so I was fairly sure she was present before knocking down all the queen cells. They had a super on but had just not touched it at all, so I took off the excluder to see if that would encourage them up there.

It does pose a quandary though, unless you have two WBC hives, how do you do an artificial swarm?

Well I’m going to try a bailey comb change / demaree swarm control. Basically putting the current colony above a box of new frames, with the queen in the lower box separated by a queen excluder, then once she start laying swapping the ‘clean’ box to the top. This will supposedly reduce the swarming intent and also reduce the varroa count significantly as the old lower box is left.

On the down side it will require a good number of lifts, so its lucky I have a couple of spare ones, not entirely sure they will fit, but we shall see.

In other news, I have 1 national that I just made brood and a half, another that I tried to comb change onto commercial frames where the queen is refusing to lay in the new area. I have two hives where things are just not building up quickly, and two that are running low on space that I just put supers on. So in short, nothing that is going really well while not causing issues.

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