Hmmm trolling for some suggestions here...
Checked my two colonies earlier this week - one doing well, saw the queen, 80% full; other couldnt find the queen and was shady so couldn't really tell if there were eggs or not. also about 80% full. Went back today to recheck the second colony: Still couldn't find the queen, couldn't find eggs (though it was really hard to see down in the cells) and now... there are about 10-12 swarm cells along the bottom of several frames. I went ahead and added second deep brood boxes to both today but what are my options re: the second colonl? order a new queen? let them produce their own? Are they getting ready to swarm because i waited too long to add the second box? Any and all opinions and suggestions appreciated!
Thanks all BS
Hey BS, (I like that...BS, hummm...BS. Sorry I got sidetracked.)
You can do the following,
1. Remove queen cells, making sure you miss none. Then Requeen with the strain queen of your choice. I do not put alot of wieght into the old idea of replacing a swarm queen because of the swarm trait. Hives swarm and replace queens probably more than we notice. Especially when there are 3-4-5 supers on and we become perhaps a bit lazy with all the lifting.
2. Let them do thier own thing. It may be to late to stop a swarm, and they may have already done it anyways. Stopping secondary and afterswarms is a key to keeping strength at this point. There is also a chance that the old queen is slimming down for her swarm flight and maybe you missed her.
3. Do a split and see how two hives do on thier own. You can always combine with newspaper method later. Spliting will reduce the numbers and artificially give them a signal that a swarm occurred. I would just divide the cells/boxes and maybe limit to 2-3 queen cells per split.
There are other control methods using excluders, and isolating the queen cells, etc, but I think they are alot of work and sometimes you just compound the problem and end up with another problem after you think you solved the first.
I always prefer #3 as I always welcome another hive. (Wouldn't it be nice to next week say "I was checking my three hives....")DO NOT do what some do and remove the queen cells in an attempt to keep them from swarming and then go weeks with no productive queen in the hive and end up purchasing a queen. It always baffles me with that.
[This message has been edited by BjornBee (edited July 18, 2003).]
Thanks so much for the suggestions. Would they still likely swarm if I add the 2nd box and remove the queen cells? The queen is marked and I didn't see her in 2 checks. The swarm cells appeared since Monday. The number of bees still seems normal i.e. it doesn't look like they've left yet... This is a package new this summer - installed 6/2 Does that change things at all?
Thanks again! BS
If your going to introduce a new queen then I would do the following:
Remove ALL queen cells
Add second brood box but mix half of the new frames into the old box. So each box now has 5 old and 5 new. This will immediately open up the brood chamber and decrease natural desire to swarm. Just keep brood frames toward the middle.
Add the new queen within the next day or two before the workers start doing something themselves.
I've had several newly installed packages already go through swarm and queen replacement this year. You will hear people say its slim to happen but if conditions are right, then they can do it in a short period of time.
You can always do a little nuc off to the side in the event they don't except the new purchased queen. That way perhaps you can salvage a queen they raised themselves. Not sure if extra equipment makes this possible.
I agree with Bjorn on swarming. I like swarm queens just fine and don't worry about replacing them. I think when they've made up their mind to swarm they usually will no matter what you do, so you may as well split.
But in your current situation, you think the old queen is gone, because you can't find her, and you're planning on destroying the queen cells and adding a queen? I'd leave one cell and see what happens. It's possible that a virgin queen is already running around in there and they are very hard to spot. If so, they will just kill your queen anyway. But it is insurance. You may have already destroyed the queen cells by now anyway, in which case you may want to just be sure. I would do one last check for a queen before installing the new one. If there is one, you can do a split or start a nuc to take care of the queen until you need her somewhere.
was waiting to see what you all thought b4 doing anything. These queen cells were pretty new - I'm not sure any were capped though I think 1 did have a larva. It's going to take me a few days at best to get a new queen. Also don't think I mentioned that I have no drawn foundation- it's all pierco. If I mix that and old brood in the 2nd box, won't I likely chill the brood if I alternate? I do have a couple more deeps - so I could split but again, it's all pierco...