Swarm Management/Capture Help

Hi all,
Got my nuc in Feb 22 so this is my first Spring (Sydney, Australia).
Checked the hive beginning of August to check they overwintered well and numbers were ok, outer two frames (8f brood box) drawn but no bees.
Three weeks later I checked again and population had grown, all frames covered with bees. I put the flow super on for the first time this day. Checked them again about 3 weeks later and they were doing some work in the super, but not a huge amount. Population still looked strong and no sign of queen cells.

Three weeks later I checked again. No bees had really been seen in the super the previous two weeks. Population still looked good, but noticed 4 sealed queen cells on the outer edges of frame. No eggs seen, but larvae and capped brood. Saw the queen for the first time, but it actually may have just emerged from a cell while inspecting and been a new queen. Someone up the road from me reported a swarm in their yard a day or two earlier, so I’m thinking it may have been mine :frowning:
I left one queen cell and removed the others. I put two fresh frames of foundation in the brood and lifted two brood frames up into the flow super to a) give more space and b) try and encourage them up into the flow.

5 days later and they’ve just swarmed/cast swarmed today. Thankfully yesterday I bought a spare nuc which I set up with some attractant just in case they swarmed again and they are currently bearding on the outside.

We just bought another hive to be ready to do a split so I can put this swarm in there. How long should I wait before I transfer them into the new larger box?
With the existing hive, I’m getting mixed advice regarding adding a second brood box vs leaving it as a single and just managing better. And how else do I give them more room if they won’t go up into the flow?
I do have a spare ideal I can put on, but I can’t help but feel like giving them more space is only detracting them away from using the flow super?

Hiya Shan, welcome :cherry_blossom: I learned the hard way how fast overwintered colonies will prepare to swarm. I start checking and preparing to split by mid-March, which is equivalent to mid-September or maybe earlier for you if your winter is shorter than mine? anyway, it helps to note the date of your first queen cell sighting and set a reminder to inspect and be ready to split two weeks ahead of that for next year.

About the Flow frames, they do take time to prepare before nectar can be stored. There’s a whole load of tips and considerations you can look up here by typing How to get the bees to use the Flow Super in the search area. But, I think @Jeff said it well recently - that we’re better off focusing on swarm prevention than on honey production in early spring.

@chau has done more research than I have on managing single deeps, and often posts a link to some good info. I run single deep 8 frames with decent success (only been doing this for 7 years so don’t be too impressed :laughing:) using a few tricks that work well for my climate…won’t bore you!

Hang in there with your swarm survivors :+1:

Thanks Eva!
It was so quick! Maybe I missed a queen cup or two, but in one inspection I was happy all was good, then three weeks later I had capped queen cells!
Great idea of noting it for next year! I have a book I use to take notes, so I’ll be sure to save the date for next year.
I have personally found the flow super thing a little confusing, as the general recommendation I always hear is to wait until the brood is bursting with bees, but I think in my case, even doing it before then was too late. But lesson learned for next year! Hopefully the cast warm(?) will stick around in the nuc and we can get it established as a second hive.