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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Humboldt Co., California
    Posts
    70

    Default They swarmed, now what are my options?

    hive swarmed Saturday when I was gone, neighbor saw it go. Now, there are couple of queen cells and cups -- which I imagine will eventually hatch a virgin queen.

    I don't want to wait forever for a new queen to mate and start laying.

    Can I move the frames with the queen cups/cells to a nuc and add some honey and additional bees -- and requeen the original hive that swarmed?

    What is the best method of requeening the original hive? Do I need to feed the nuc and the original hive (it has lots of honey)?

    Thanks for your input.
    Last edited by orthoman; 07-01-2013 at 08:05 PM. Reason: added content

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: They swarmed, now what are my options?

    Before you add a new queen it is important to know why the hive swarmed - and be sure the conditions are such that the remaining bees in the hive won't swarm again this season. Once you've done that: 1) order a queen, 2) once you receive the queen remove all queen cells and make sure there are no virgin queens in the hive 3) let the nuc be queenless for 12-24 hours 4) install the queen cage candy up 5) wait for the bees in the nuc to free the queen (do not do anything to speed up the queen's release) The new queen should be laying 3 to 4 days (or sooner) from release. Good luck!
    Last edited by Andrew Dewey; 07-02-2013 at 05:26 AM.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Humboldt Co., California
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: They swarmed, now what are my options?

    Does it matter if I use the add the new queen to the hive and place the queen cells in the nuc? Or, is it better to add the queen to a nuc and let the bees in the hive make a new queen?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: They swarmed, now what are my options?

    As the hive swarmed the population is already reduced. Taking the frames with the queen cells - unless there is no other brood on them - isn't something that I would do.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,961

    Default Re: They swarmed, now what are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    ... make sure there are no virgin queens in the hive
    This is going to be the trick. You can find them. But...it isn't always easy. Rather than looking for the slowest bee on the frame, you look for the fastest. Personally I wouldn't try to requeen a swarmed hive. If she has hatched she may be laying in 10 days or so. Buying a mated queen and then waiting for them to release her and then getting her laying again will negate a lot of the mating time.

    They may not like your fancy new queen, kill her and raise there own which will take even longer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: They swarmed, now what are my options?

    In my opinion, the queen your hive raised will be far superior to any queen you purchase.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    826

    Default Re: They swarmed, now what are my options?

    They knew they were going to swarm, and made preparations for such an event. A queen they selected and raised will out-do purchased queens 9 times out of 10. Save your money, and check back in three weeks to make sure you have a successfully mated queen. (And by this I mean, she is laying, and returned from her mating flights). Don't judge a 'laying pattern' yet...give her some time. JMO!

    As others have said, why did they swarm? Sometimes even a day or two late, and we can't change their minds. If you aren't having a bunch of after swarms, I would let them do what they are doing, at least for now.

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