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What to do after stopping a swarm


Getting back into beekeeping after decades, there is a lot to learn and re-learn.

We got a langstroth hive of two ten frame deeps as brood. We fed them for about twelve days until they stopped feeding and were gathering nectar. We immediately added a medium with ten foundationless frames. After two weeks we found they were building a lot of comb but it looked like swarm comb. To prevent swarming we got another deep and split the brood in the top box by putting three frames of brood in the middle of the new box and alternating three empty frames into the old box. The new box was EEEBBBEEEE. The old box was BBEBBEBBEB. We then put a queen excluder on top and replaced the medium. At the same time we added a top entrance which was already planned. The theory was to prevent swarming, (this seems to have worked) and allow the brood in the medium to hatch and escape.

After two weeks, during the inspection we found new larva in the top medium above the excluder. Figuring a 21 day maturity from egg to bee, it looks as if eggs are being laid in the comb. This could mean that, A) A queen is laying, If so do we split the hive? B) A worker is laying, hatchlings will be drones, if so do we just remove the excluder? Or C) workers are passing eggs through the excluder, (doubtful).

We’ve spent a lot of time at the library and on line looking for answers. We would appreciate any suggestions. We have a week or so to fix the problem.


Rich, this happened to me when I inadvertently put the queen upstairs, above the excluder, when reassembling the hive! Did you have new eggs or very young brood in the lower box? It is very unlikely that was a laying worker as even with the queen excluder in place, the queen’s pheromones will permeate two supers easily.


Thanks for your post. Do you happen to have any medium frames WITH foundation? If you put a few in the box, often they will move up into those, and then expand from the top down in the frames next to them. Once they’ve drawn out nice, straight foundationless frames, you can then start cycling out the frames WITH foundation.