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Really full hive, no weather to split

Just asking for advice for a really full hive that needs splitting. The flow super is full and I can’t see the frames from crawling bees.
The one nice day for a split was a work day for me.
Now it’s raining for a couple of days.
How likely are they to swarm on a rainy day?

My other question is, what do I do with the queen cells if they had prepared for swarming?

I’m a newbee and have never split a hive yet so take my opinion with a hefty grain of salt.

From what I have read the bees are unlikely to swarm when the weather is poor. Although, I am not certain that a little drizzle will stop them.

Regarding possible queen cells - take the old queen with the split and leave the queen cells for the remaining bees to have their own queen - already present queen cell will shorten the time it takes the queen less colony to have their own queen. If there are multiple queen cells, you can leave some in each portion of the split and soon enough you’ll have two colonies with young queens.

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Hiya Webclan, I had a colony swarm on me the first clear day after a rainy period a few years back, I’d be inclined to agree with chau06 saying it’s unlikely they’ll swarm during a rainy period.
Another thing, as most of the colonys foragers are in the hive during rainy days it will look more packed if you are peeking in during the rain.
Let us know what happens.


If you split a hive the queenless part will need 13-16 days to make a new queen, then another 3to 4 days before the mating flight. She has 2 weeks in which to mate, so a few rainy days the shouldnt make any difference.

Are there queen cells in the hive? If so you need to act very quickly as swarming might be imminent.

Read this booklet cover to cover several times. Its really worthwhile.


Thanks for the replies all. I’ve done plenty of splits, but this one colony just got away from me in terms of growth.
I looked in the windows when the bees were out foraging, and it was still packed.
Over all my years of beekeeping, I’ve never encountered swarm cells. About time!
Since swarm cells are a good thing, I’m wondering what to do with them if indeed I find some.
I’ll keep you updated on what’s happening. Got the pots for clanging ready.

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As you are specifically asking about this, I would follow the advice on page 23 onwards in this booklet, describing a Snelgrove split. It tells you exactly what to do with the queen cells. :wink:


I didn’t have the second edition of this guide. It is very generous of the Welsh beekeepers to make these excellent booklets freely available. Thanks for sharing.


Aww. Thanks @Dawn_SD. I never saw this version before.
Tomorrow the weather promises to be warm and I can finally look inside.
Extracted 2 frames today, more than half went through the brood box, across the (new clean) coreflute into a container below.
This particular box of flow frames never worked for me. More leaking than harvest. If I didn’t have other flow hives that work well, I would think they are a scam.
Perhaps Jeff encountered this version of flow frames.
I will never again harvest these frames on top of the brood chamber.
Hope my queen survived. What a disaster.


Hi there Webclan, are you sure the wires are correctly tensioned, both top and bottom?

None of the frames I received from Flow had correct wire tension and all leak when full of honey. They cannot support the weight of honey if wires are loose. I discovered that the hard way and I still have lingering issues.

How long has that box of frames been in use? When I bought my four Flow Hives I had two of them that leaked really badly even after re-tensioning the wires. The other two performed ok with only minor leaks into the brood area. An email to Flow didn’t get any good advice about the flooding issue, it was more that they were surprised that it was happening.
I figured with leaking happening after four years use the suggestion that the bees would learn how to seal the cells was just wishful thinking.
What I found a bit of a mystery is that all the frames had the same numbers on them. So why did some leak and others not.
Having flooding is disturbing so I know how your feeling.

Hiya Webclan, what was the outcome here?

I know checking the wire tension is an option. But on a flow like this, I just can’t take them out right now.
I checked them initially though, and seemed fine. Also had no leaking from same frames last year.
Must order a couple new sets to replace the leaking ones.

Hi Peter. I sure can’t work out the leaking.
You get 1kg in the jar and 2kg on the bottom board.
Something must be wrong here
Thing is, last year they worked fine without much leaking.
I need to take the flow super off for extracting above a cappings box.
There’s more in the cappings box than in the honey jars.
Something is very wrong here. And a tad upsetting, since I rely on help lifting the super off.

Hi Skeggs. Actually, away from the flow frame issues, which do my head in, Wally Shaw’s updated advice worked on me 100% in about 10 instances. You know, about swarm management and not killing off queen cells.
Thanks @Dawn_SD

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@Webclan, Pete no longer contributes to the forum :cry:

Why has he stopped contributing?

I heard Peter has been unwell.

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Oh. Hope we will be better soon.