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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Frisco City, AL, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Can a swarm be queenless?

    I've caught six swarms last week, but two of them do not appear to have a queen. The bees began fanning at the hive entrance when I hived them so I thought all was well, but they aren't making much of an effort to draw out comb (the other four swarms have already drawn out 7 - 10 frames and I was able to find their queens). I gave the two slow hives each a frame of drawn comb to jump-start them, but it didn't seem to help. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,344

    Default Re: Can a swarm be queenless?

    Not typically but, you could have missed the queen when you captured them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Greene County, NY, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Can a swarm be queenless?

    I had a very small swarm move into one of my swarm traps that was queenless

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,117

    Default Re: Can a swarm be queenless?

    When a swarm looses its queen, most of the bees return to the hive.
    Very small swarm might have been stragglers left behind.
    Dan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Greene County, NY, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Can a swarm be queenless?

    Thnaks for that because the swarm was about the size of a baseball,mate a little bigger. I always wondered why such a swarm. I have a story to go with the swarm. I had already caught a couple of swarms and my brother had a fews hives die in the winter so I thought I would be a good sameritan and bring it to him. I get real early to close entrance , not knowing how small of a swarm had moved in, and bring swarm trap up to his house. We open up trap and couldn't believe our eyes. Kind of funny. I guess it was the thought that counted and it was good for a few laughs

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Frisco City, AL, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Can a swarm be queenless?

    I don't think that the two swarms I've got were stragglers; they had enough bees to cover every frame in a 5 frame deep nuc. I figured I had the queen since the bees that remained in the tree/bush went to the hive by nighttime (I put a piece of screen in the entrances & moved them at night). Could these have virgin queens? I've done a lousy job of swarm management this year, based on the number of hives that I've had swarm. I've taken the queen cells that I've found and used those frames to make splits, which has worked well (too well.....I've used all of my woodenware and had to retrieve my swarm traps to use them for splits ).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,117

    Default Re: Can a swarm be queenless?

    Secondary swarms have virgin queens all the time,
    The original swarm that leaves has the old mated queen, the ones that leave after have virgins. A hive can have multiple after swarms with virgins.
    If the swarm has a virgin, it can take a couple weeks before she is laying eggs.
    Dan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Kihei, HI, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Can a swarm be queenless?

    Thanks Dan, this is helpful to a post I just made with a similar question.

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