My 1-year old hive has swarmed 3 times in the past few weeks. I caught the first swarm which contained the original queen. She seems to be doing great in her new home.
Question #1 -- Swarm #2 left the parent colony on May 1. This hive is a bit cranky, but have been taking sugar syrup well. Today (May 19, I opened it up for inspection. They have drawn only 2 frames of comb and have started on a third. What has been drawn is filling with honey (from the syrup, no doubt), but there are no eggs or larvae. There are a relatively small amount of bees in this hive. Should I wait longer, or assume this hive is queenless and combine it with another colony?
Swarm #3 got away.
Question #2 -- On May 6, I thoroughly inspected the original parent colony, destroyed TONS of swarm cells (these girls were going crazy), but left one that looked to be more of a supercedure cell, (up high on one frame rather than hanging from the bottom bar) and also, as I scraped one of the last swarm cells off, a new queen emerged and walked right onto my hive tool, so I placed her in the hive, several frames away from the supercedure cell. Today (May 19), I went back to inspect, fully expecting to find larvae or at least eggs, but saw no sign of either. The weather HAS been a bit iffy this past week or so. Still, the hive is populace and they seem to be brining in both nectar and pollen. Again, my question is could it be possible the queen simply has not had time to mate yet? Should I give them another few days or should I assume them queenless? If queenless, I will probably take a frame of brood from swarm #1 and let them raise their own queen.
Please advise! I'm having bee anxiety! All this after getting through my first season last year with a great honey crop and a hive that performed by the book!
I will preface this by saying that sometimes, because of weather or whatever else, it takes a few days for a queen to mate and a few more to start laying. However, it seems like you've waited long enough for that to have happened. Also, eggs are very hard to see, especially with a veil on, but again, you've watied long enough you should be seeing some larvae.
It's difficult to assume anything. There was a virgin queen, so either she swarmed (quite possible) she died (unlikely but possible) she went out to mate and didn't come back (possible) or she's still there but not laying.
I'd search for a queen and see if you find one first. If not, then you can either combine this with one that has a queen, order a queen, or put a frame of eggs in and let them hatch one.
thanks. i think i will give her until saturday and then open it up again. this is a populace hive, so it may be very difficult to spot her -- i'm not that great at it anyway. if nothing, then i will give them a frame with eggs and larvae.
another question: do i just leave the bees on the brood frame from the other hive or try to brush them off?
and another: the other hive that seems to be queenless is much weaker. what is the easiest way to combine? i've heard of just stacking it on top of the stronger hive with newspaper in between. is that all i need to do?
thanks! i appreciate any help i can get!
The other advantage to adding a frame of eggs or really young (just hatched) larvae is that they will start a queen cell if they are queenless and then you will know. And even if you don't check the bees should correct the situation.
3 swarms in a couple weeks seems like a lot to me. I had no clue a hive could swarm that much...i've heard a couple swarms a year but never swarms like that. Sounds like a very unusual situation but maybe thats just me. Can't imagine dividing the population that many times nad having much to work with... I understand the newspaper method works fine.
A hive swarming three times is not that unusal.
The prime swarm and two after swarms in a very strong and crowded hive, could still leave a good colony.
I've heard of as many as seven afterswarms, but a couple is quite common and three is not unusual.
Fascinating!!! Thanks for the input.