Tried an experiment with a hive I have at a farm, to see if bees would fill the cavity or swarm as soon as they had a compete brood nest.

The hive was an old 8 frame box. When I put on the next brood box it was about 3 weeks before swarm season. I only moved one frame up into the second box. the new frames were foundationless except for a small strip of foundation alone the top as a guide.

The owner told me he thought they had swarmed on Thursday 6th after a few days of bad weather. So I went and checked them today, the 10th.

The bees built comb in the frame where the previous one was, but the one moved up was abandoned and resources moved once brood had emerged. There was only a small patch of foundation on the frames next to it that had be started to be drawn out.

Found 8 queen cells, all along the bottom or the very edge of the frames and the old queen gone. But I could hear a queen piping and it wasn't from the queen cells. I found this virgin queen after following the sound. So I started cutting out the queen cells. The first one was made of new wax, was open and it just broke apart. I was able to cut the rest out. I then found another virgin queen wandering around! I then noticed that one of the cells was open that I thought had be closed when I first separated the frames with queen cells.

Since there was only capped brood, no eggs or larvae, the main flow is on, and good weather forecast for the next few days I decided to checkboard the two boxes to encourage wax building. I thought that this should also discourage any further swarms. The only pests in this area are wax moth.

As I was finishing putting the hive back, another virgin queen flew back to the entrance and wandered around. I managed to get a few photos of her.

When I looked the the queen cells I found two were open (the third was squished), they still had the cap on them like it was hinged. (But they soon broke of with the heat.)


The first two photos are of the each of the two queens I found on frames (sorry the second one is not real clear)

The third is the queen at the entrance.

The fourth photo is the seven remaining queen cells. Notice they are mostly old recycled wax.









Matthew Davey