I have a hive that I think has swarmed before May 2nd. I went into this hive May 2 and saw no queen, no eggs/larve. Just lots of capped brood. I added a rack of larve and eggs from another hive, May 3 to see if they would start making queen cells to see if they were queenless or raising a virgin queen. I checked the rack May 5 and saw only one cell that was started??????? With that info, I assumed that they had a virgin queen that hasn't started laying yet. Should they have started more than one cell if they were queenless? I checked this hive May 13 and still no queen or eggs????? I'm wondering if I should introduce a queen or give some time?
It's been at least 2 weeks since this hive has had any eggs laid. It is a strong hive and I hate to loose it. I would appreciate any help. Thanks, Duane.
If you added eggs and they started a queen cell I would guess they were queenless. True, I would have expected a couple or more queen cells, but still, I don't think they would have started one if they had one. Did they hatch that queen?
I had a similar situation just a few weeks ago, and when I checked the hive, I saw just one queen cell that had been torn at the bottom. Within a couple of weeks, there was evidence of a laying queen, and now, three weeks later, there is lots of brood. Give them a little more time and check again.
What are the possibilities here...? If the queen cell was started on the frame you introduced on May 3, (from an egg less less than 3 days old), that egg was laid... say May 1, possibly May 2 or even May 3, just before you pulled the frame from the other colony. That means that on May 15 there should not have been new eggs, since we are assuming that they started this cell because they were queenless. And the new developing queen should be born on the 17, 18 or even 19 (after 16 days). Then she will need 3 to 7 days or so to go out and mate and a couple more days to start laying (I'm guessing here). So if we are expecting to see eggs from the queen that developed from that frame you introduced, they will not be around until the end of May...
My question though is... On May 13 when you checked the hive, what did you see in the frame you introduced on May 3? Was the queen cell still there? hopefully it was still capped. If so she will be born in just a few days. I would not disturbe it anymore, since they are pretty fragile for what I understand. If it was not, then something happened to that cell and they are queenless with no queen to be born.
In that case, I would introduce a new mated queen, or a new frame with fresh eggs, but with this later option it will take another month (June 15) for the new queen to start laying. And after that, 40 days (July 25) for those workers to be old enough to start gathering nectar. That means no hope for surplus honey this year.
However I'm just a third year beekeeper...
The good news is that there will be very little (if at all) of varroa mites, since the brood cycles were interrupted for so long!
I just thought... Are they bringing any pollen? (Check at different times of the day. I saw mine bringing pollen only early in the morning, possibly before they started gathering nectar.) If yes, I would bet that the colony knows they are about to get a queen which is developing or they have one already which had not started laying on May 13, or that you missed her eggs somehow in that inspection.
[This message has been edited by dandelion (edited May 14, 2003).]
I may have screwed up. I tore the one queen cell out when I saw it because I was expecting several queen cells. I assumed because there was only one cell they had a virgin queen not laying yet. I got a new queen to put into the hive, but I wanted to make sure they didn't already have a virgin queen before I tried to introduce the new queen. That's what I thought you were suppose to do. Make sure they are queenless before introducing a new queen. Now, I am almost certain that they are really queenless because if they had a virgin queen on May 3rd she should be laying by now. I had to do something with the new queen. So, I introduced her into a nuc. I can keep this hive going with brood from the helper hive and I think I will try to introduce the queen out of my helper hive (which is a different queen than I bought) into this hive. Do any of you have any suggestions on how to introduce a queen while they are gathering nectar and filling supers. You wouldn't think this hive is queenless, because this is the stongest hive I have. They are filling supers like crazy. Thanks,
Have you check it lately for eggs? Have you searched for a queen? I'd make one more shot at finding either or both. If they have been queenless since the begining of May there shouldn't be any open brood. You added eggs on May 3rd so those would have been sealed up by the 13th. There should be no eggs or open brood if there is no queen. If not, I'd do the standard "queen in cage with candy" intro if you have a cage. But I think you're saying the queen is in a nuc.
If you can catch her and put her in an old cage with a marshmallow in the hole you can do that kind of intro. It's up to you.
If you can catch the queen, you can use a push in cage. This is a hardware cloth cage you trap her in and push it into the wax of the comb. The bees will eat out the wax to release her. You can find pictures and descriptions in any bee book.
You can pull the supers and put the nuc on top of the brood chamber with a newspaper under it and a board to cover the gap on the other side and wait a day and put all the supers back on.
You can put your nuc in a ten frame box, put a sheet of newspaper on top of the brood chamber, put the nuc (now in the ten frame box with other frames to fill in) on top of the brood chamber and newspaper on top of that and the supers on top of that with a top opening on the supers (either the notch in the inner cover, or a imire shim, or just prop open the inner cover with a stick.
I think any of these will work. I think I'd probably do the last one.
Have you check it lately for eggs?
reply: Yes, They had no eggs or larve/just capped brood May 3 and checked again thoroughly May 13 (10 days later) no eggs or larve, no brood except the rack I added.
Have you searched for a queen?
reply: Yes, They had no queen May 3 and checked again May 13, no queen.
I'd make one more shot at finding either or both.
reply: I didn't see any eggs or queen, so I think at this point without doing anymore damage to this hive during the nectar flow, I will go with the last option that you give. I have a helper hive already in a 10 frame box just ready to go, with good queen and right much brood. That will put me in a 3 deep hive. I wanted to try that anyhow.
One thing is for sure, I may loose a queen, but I won't loose any bees. So, I haven't lost anything by trying and learning.
Thanks for all the help. I learn something new everyday that hopefully will make me a better beekeeper. Duane.