View Full Version : What have I got going on here?
05-01-2012, 03:01 PM
:scratch: Very confused newbee here.
Heres the history..Did a queenless split on April 8th, yesterday April 30th was expecting mating flights going on. The hive swarmed...really wasn't expecting that, well caught the swarm and put it in a new hive. Inspected the split today and found tons of drones, small amount of capped drone brood, no other capped brood,no eggs and no larvae (wasn't expecting to find any) two still capped queen cells and one empty queen cell.
I'm only guessing but the swarm was probably a virgin queen. What are they doing to me here?
05-01-2012, 03:42 PM
I've got the same qestion. So mine came out of winter really strong. Lovin' it. Two and a half weeks ago - swarm. Darn! So I collected them all up and put in a new box. A week and a half later - swarm again! Double darn! Then I notice some different looking bees (for another post). So I go talk to our county inspector yesterday. He was telling me that it may just be just a virgin queen needing to go on a mating flight and she has a lot of escorts. He told me if it happens again to wait a day or two and see what happens. Can you guess what happened today? Swarm! I dunno! I've only done this a little over a year so I'm curious and a little nervous too! If you find anything else out Bonnie, let me know!
05-01-2012, 03:53 PM
I have had splits swarm (absocond) when the virgin goes on her mating flight. I'm not sure exactly why but, it does happen. I normally give them a little bit of time to see if there happens to be another queen in the hive. If not recombine them to another hive or give them a couple more frames of bees and let them try again.
05-01-2012, 04:04 PM
Bonnie I'm guessing that when you made the split you left the origional hive where it was, and moved the split away? If so, what's happened is a lot of bees would have returned to the origional location, making that hive very strong, so it has now swarmed.
The split sounds like it has laying workers. The queen cells will not work out because they are made from unfertlized eggs, bees do that in a desperate attempt to survive but it won't work. You cannot introduce a caged queen to this hive or the laying workers will kill it. You have two options, give them brood once a week for three weeks which will suppress the laying workers plus give them an opportunity to raise a good queen, or unite it with the origional hive. If you unite it, wait till the origional hive has a laying queen again.
All this is written without actually seeing the hives, so it's my best guess, based on the information you have given.
Redhead. After a hive swarms, it has queen cells that hatch to replace the queen that left. If the hive is still strong enough, more swarms may leave with some of the virgin queens as they emerge. They are called "after swarms" and sounds like what happened to you. When this happens it often leaves the parent hive so depleted in bees that it takes the whole rest of the season to build back up and will not store you any surplus honey. Some beekeepers, to prevent this, go through a hive after it swarms and kill all the queen cells except one or two.
This could also indicate a "swarmy" breed, such as russians, although any bee could do it given the right conditions.
05-02-2012, 03:11 AM
Okay, thanks....when I give them frames do I give it to them with the bees on it?
05-02-2012, 03:32 AM
A few don't hurt, but the main idea is the frame not the bees so generally you'd remove most or all the bees.
05-02-2012, 03:49 AM
okay, I'm guessing theirs a chance I have a newly mated queen in the hive, when and if she starts laying will that supress the laying worker? will the laying worker try to kill her or maybe already has?
05-02-2012, 03:53 AM
The split sounds like it has laying workers. The queen cells will not work out because they are made from unfertlized eggs, bees do that in a desperate attempt to survive but it won't work.
I'm going to somewhat disagree here & guess that since there are no eggs, and no uncapped brood, the capped drone brood's all that's left capped simply because they take longer to emerge, and the 2 capped Q cells are likely going to emerge anytime now.
The "unfinished" queen cell in the split, I'm guessing, is the virgin who left with the afterswarm. If that's the case, then when you inspect the hive again in 17-18 days they should have a LOT of eggs, and maybe some day-old brood from their newly mated queen. If you're concerned, though, giving them a frame of eggs+open brood from the parent colony sure won't hurt anything (so long as you don't end up disturbing a virgin queen too much while you're adding it). Assuming those 2 capped queen cells are viable queens, the LAST thing you want to do is bother them needlessly...so add a frame of brood if you're going to, then close it up and give them time to get one of those virgins mated+laying. :D
05-02-2012, 03:59 AM
Reading back over the original post, and running some quick math, you're getting VERY close for the deadline for eggs from the old queen to be emerging as new queens now, but it hasn't been nearly long enough that they've been broodless for laying workers to develop. I'd say: "hold one, give 'em 2 weeks, then chack on 'em & see your beautiful new queen starting to lay." The first one to emerge was probably started from a larva the day you made the split, and the other two likely were started from eggs that hatched into larvae a couple days later, IMHO.
05-02-2012, 04:15 AM
Thanks robherc, that makes so much sense, because I didn't find any eggs or larvae. I didn't know that the queen cells could be started at different developmental stages, but it makes perfect sense. I would guess that the large population of drones is because of the swarm that took away alot of foragers and that there are drones still hatching from the old queen. I'm going to take the wait and see approach. Will let you know how it works out
05-02-2012, 04:24 AM
The bees will usually "Start" the queens from the same aged larvae, but that doesn't mean they can't start more queens from larvae that are the appropriate age TOMORROW (i.e. from eggs that hadn't hatched yet today); so you can have queens emerging for 3-4 days, all made by a queenless hive that was given 1 frame of eggs+brood, as eggs can take up to 3-4 days to hatch, so that's how long it could be before they run out of appropriately aged larvae to decide to make queens out of ;)
I hope that helped clarify more than confuse, though I'm not entirely sure how concise it was...happens when you reach 23hrs w/no sleep :eek:
05-02-2012, 04:31 AM
Actually had another look at the first post, Robherc you may well be correct. Just, the unhatched queen cells at day 22 don't make sense.
05-02-2012, 04:32 AM
You explained things perfectly and made all the information in my brain completely gel. I GOT IT NOW.....thanks
05-02-2012, 04:38 AM
Oldtimer, could they just bee unsuccesful Q cells that the hive has not torn down yet? With either scenario would it hurt to wait and see?
05-02-2012, 04:52 AM
I love all you guys jumping in here helping me out, a bit more info may help. We did go through and unseasonable cold snap in the middle of all this and the bees did go back into a cluster. The unopened Qcells are on the outer edge of the frame, maybe the cold killed them or delayed them? The open one I saw was in the middle of the frame.
05-02-2012, 05:01 AM
Me again, would the vigin queen leave with a swarm if she was the only one to hatch, and if my split is queenless, could I combine the swarm back in with original split?
05-02-2012, 05:21 AM
Yes if the queen cells got chilled may well explain it. Yes, wait & see.