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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C. Canada
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    35

    Default Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    I have been diligent in checking my 2 hives this spring but was unable to for just over a week. When i went to check the hives on Tuesday and do a split and in one I discovered many freshly capped queen cells. My thought was to find the queen and sequester her in a nuc box with some frames of honey/ capped brood and no frames with queen cells, place the nuc in a yard over 3 miles away and let the old hive requeen. The problem was that i could not find the queen anywhere in the mass of bees that were on all the frames. I don't think the hive had already swarmed due to the high population in the hive.
    Does anyone have any suggestions that i could use to try to possibly not lose most of my bees?
    I have a queen mating box built (http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/downloads/ )and ready to go.
    Steve

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,171

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    I had this same scenerio happen I may have squished my queen, but I ended up with 6 queen cells 2 on one frame 4 on the other, I pulled the frame with 2 on it and put in a mating nuc I made by adding a followerboard to a 8 frame med box. I also put in a frame of stores. That way if one or the other doesn't make it back from their maiting flight, I can newspaper combine. IF they both made it back I will end up with a new colony to start building. unless neither make it back it should be a win- win.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,979

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    Are the queencells easily accessible and can be taken out? I'd pull any frames with 1-2 cells and make some nucs, you can recombine later. While you're doing it, maybe you'll find the queen too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    How many is "many" queen cells? If it's under, say, a dozen Q cells, then I'd guess that your hive is queenless (which could explain your inability to find her royal highness), or in the middle of a supercedure...NOT swarming. If it's way over a dozen, then they're prepping to swarm, and I think your best bet (note, I did NOT say this is a "sure thing") would be to split them 3 or more ways, maybe even split down to 2-3 frames of brood & 2-3 of stores each in several new hives...let them all raise a new queen (hopefully without swarming), then re-combine any whose new queens fail to mate with one that "took", and squish the queen+recombine any that are more hives than you want, or that you don't like the performance of their new queen.


    ....just my $0.02

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    Make them thin they have swarmed, take the queen cells and some brood and quite a few bees and make a split. if you don't want to use a lot of bees, just make sure there is suddenly space in the hive. they will think they already swarmed and get back to work.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    I think that taking a some frames 1 with queen cells and 1 or 2 with stores and placing them in the Queen mating box will at least assure that i get something if the original hive decides to swarm. Here is a pic of the queen box that i made out of an old Ikea dresser. Cant seem to post the pic....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,144

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    I agree with robherc and Harley craig, but another alternative is to make a couple of nucs for backups, confirm eggs or other evidence that you still do have a queen, and then cut down every other queen cell in the hive - then do it again in less than ten days. If it ends up queen less that is what your backups are for. If it's a strong hive this would give you a chance to make some honey. The thing is - you can't miss even one cell, and you must stay on schedule.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    Quote Originally Posted by svengali View Post
    Here is a pic of the queen box that i made out of an old Ikea dresser. Cant seem to post the pic....
    The forum seems to be VERY sensitive to pic. size...try shrinking it down a little at a time until it successfully posts


    Hmmm, looks like JRG13 and I posted the same thing, at about the same time, earlier...just that he used a lot less words to say it ... who says asking 5 beeks will get you 6 different answers? lol

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    queen box.JPG
    Thanks everyone . I'll post the results soon
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Battle Ground, Washington, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    One question about your Queen Castle there, which BTW looks really good. It's hard to tell by the picture but are your entrances for each section all on different sides of the box? If not, they need to be to reduce the likelihood of a queen going in the wrong hive section when she returns from mating. If they are, just ignore me. And did you steal those political signs? :-) I do the same thing!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    If you have capped queen cells, I'm 99% sure the old queen has flown the coop...and you should be thankful for a large population left behind. You may still end up with a honey crop.

    Option #1: split up the hive into several nuc boxes with frames of queen cells divided among each nuc box.

    Option #2: cut out all but one queen cell and keep the hive intact. The queen cell will hatch; she'll mate; and with reduced brood responsibilities, your nurse bees will graduate sooner to foragers and you may salvage a honey crop.

    Option #3: pull out a couple of frames with cells to nuc boxe(s) and raise some back up queens, leave the bulk of the bees with one queen cell in the hive and super.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO Need ideas on maximizing your honey crop? https://www.createspace.com/4111886
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    >If you have capped queen cells, I'm 99% sure the old queen has flown the coop..

    That would be my assumption as well. I would just make your split, if you think they are strong enough, and make sure each part of the split has queen cells. I would have done that in the first place, and only done something with the queen if I happen to see her. Looking for queens is too time consuming...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    The box does have the entrance holes on each side for the compartments. the larger holes are ventilation with screen over them.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C. Canada
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    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >If you have capped queen cells, I'm 99% sure the old queen has flown the coop..

    That would be my assumption as well. I would just make your split, if you think they are strong enough, and make sure each part of the split has queen cells. I would have done that in the first place, and only done something with the queen if I happen to see her. Looking for queens is too time consuming...
    I thought the capped cells meant the same thing but with such a large population i thought it might have not happened yet. I agree looking for queens is too time consuming.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Cant find the queen and my hive will swarm!

    http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm#o...dsprimaryswarm

    François Huber, New Observations on the Natural History Of Bees Volume I, LETTER IX:

    "6 September 1791.

    "In receiving this letter, I find I have neglected taking notice of an objection that may embarrass my readers, and which ought to be answered.

    "After the first five swarms had thrown, I had always returned the bees to the hive, it is not surprising, therefore, that it was continually so sufficiently stocked that each colony was numerous. But things are otherwise in the natural state, the bees, composing a swarm, do not return to the hive; and it will undoubtedly be asked, What resource enables a common hive to swarm three or four times without being too much weakened ?

    "I cannot lessen the difficulty. I have observed that the agitation which precedes the swarming, is often in considerable, that most of the bees quit the hive, and in that case we cannot well comprehend how, in three or four days afterwards, it can be in a state to fend out another colony equally strong.

    "But remark, in the first place, that the queen leaves a prodigious quantity of workers' brood, which soon transforms to bees; and in this way the population sometimes becomes almost as great after swarming as before it.

    "Thus the hive is perfectly capable of affording a second colony without being too much weakened. The third and fourth swarm weaken it more sensibly; but the inhabitants always swarm in sufficient numbers to preserve the course of their labors uninterrupted; and the losses are often repaired by the great fecundity of the queen as she lay over a hundred eggs a day.

    "If, in some cases, the agitation of swarming is so great, that all the bees participate in it, and leave the hive, the desertion lasts but for I moment. The hive throws only the finest part of the day and it is then that the bees are ranging through the country. Those that are out, therefore, cannot share in the agitation; when returned to the hive they quietly resume their labors and their number is not small, for when the weather is fine, at least a third of the bees are employed in the fields at once.

    "Even in the most embarrassing case, namely, where the whole bees desert the hive, it does not follow, that all those endeavoring to depart become members of the new colony. When this agitation or delirium freezes them, the whole rush forward and accumulate towards the entrance of the hive, and are heated in such a manner that they perspire copiously. Those near the bottom, and supporting the weight of all the rest, seem drenched in perspiration, their wings grow moist; they are incapable of flight; and even when able to escape, they advance no farther than the board of the hive, and soon return.

    "Those that have lately left their cells regain behind the swarm, still feeble, they could not support themselves in flight. Here then are also many recruits to people what we should have thought a deserted habitation."
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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