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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Attica, Mi.,USA
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    2

    Post Will bees swarm without a queen?

    June 13, 2013

    Hello,

    I'm ChrisDH. I'm a new bee keeper. I have two hives that I've just got two packages of bees and they are doing just fine. My neighbor just cut down a tree that had a wild hive in it. I tried to capture the bees and put them into a new hive, but I can't tell if I've gotten the queen. I've swept two large quantities of bees into a nuc, and put them in a hive. Last batch I got still left several bees in the tree. Yesterday the remaining bees swarmed. Does that mean that I didn't get the queen?

    I've read your previous questions regarding bees swarming and that the queen should be in the swarm, but nobody ever actually answered the question "Will bees swarm without a queen?".

    The bees I've captured are going in and out of the new hive, but I think it's too soon since capturing them to check it out. So can an experienced bee keeper who has experience in getting bees out of a tree hive give me an answer? Thank you ChrisDH.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Pickens County, South Carolina, US
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    823

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    Welcome to the site! I'm a newbee but I believe if left alone they will re-queen on their own.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Bourbon, Missouri
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    How are they going to requeen themselves without any eggs?? Come on, really??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
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    1,269

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    NO! when bees swarm they are looking to start a new colony. the old colony builds a new queen. The swarm has to have some way to grow. If there is no queen to lay eggs, they have nothing to build a queen from in the new home. so why would they swarm. It would be certain suicide for the entire swarm.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
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    870

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    NO! when bees swarm they are looking to start a new colony. the old colony builds a new queen. The swarm has to have some way to grow. If there is no queen to lay eggs, they have nothing to build a queen from in the new home. so why would they swarm. It would be certain suicide for the entire swarm.
    I agree 100%.

    If you want to save the bees you collected you need to give them a queen, or a frame with some eggs, or combine them with another. As they are they are most likely hopelessly queenless and doomed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,098

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    That's possible but not a sure thing. They will not swarm without a queen, but they will swarm with a virgin queen. And it isn't unusual for a hive that is about to swarm to have more than one queen. Nonetheless it's always a good idea to give any questionable hive a frame of open brood.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
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    870

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    That's possible but not a sure thing. They will not swarm without a queen, but they will swarm with a virgin queen. And it isn't unusual for a hive that is about to swarm to have more than one queen. Nonetheless it's always a good idea to give any questionable hive a frame of open brood.
    all true...but if I read the post correctly this was a cut-out from a tree, and he got some bees and the next day the bees from the tree swarmed. Is that the way it went? What are the chances that he happened to do the cut-out the day before the hive was going to swarm with a virgin queen? Not impossible, but I would think it's highly unlikely.

    If I misunderstood, please forgive me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    2,149

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lazer128 View Post
    I'm a newbee but I believe if left alone they will re-queen on their own.
    Sorry Lazer, but you got some more reading & learning to do........
    http://OxaVap.com
    Your source for the Varrox Vaporizer, "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Nodaway, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    In a week or so you can check the hive to see if there was a queen. I there is then let them be. If no queen or eggs are present then you may want to remove a frame from one of your other hives that has eggs in it. The bees will make their own queen this way. However, this will be an emergency queen so if you know someone in your area you may just want to buy a queen and introduce her.
    You gotta risk it to get honey on your biscuit.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Attica, Mi.,USA
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    2

    Thumbs Up Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by NewJoe View Post
    all true...but if I read the post correctly this was a cut-out from a tree, and he got some bees and the next day the bees from the tree swarmed. Is that the way it went? What are the chances that he happened to do the cut-out the day before the hive was going to swarm with a virgin queen? Not impossible, but I would think it's highly unlikely.

    If I misunderstood, please forgive me.
    ChrisDH here. There was actually two days of harvesting bees before the swarm. I'm guessing the bees were not about to swarm. They were up 30' in a pine tree. The tree was cut down. I cut open the tree where the honey and bees were located. I removed the honeycomb and then started collecting bees into a nuc box with 3 frames in it. Those were transfered to a extra super I had. I had two bottoms one I used for a temp top. I purchased another hive, then transfered the bees I collected into the new hive, and added some more I captured from the tree. The next day I collected more bees the same way. The 3rd day the remaining bees swarmed. Currently the captured bees are going in and out of the hive, like my other two hives. I'm not sure if I got the queen in the bee captures, that's why I asked the question. There was just a small amount of bees left that swarmed. Currently, there are about 50 or more random bees flying around the tree robing the honey/wax from the tree trunk. They are not collecting like they were before. Thanks for your insite in this situation. This is the first time I've cut bees out of a tree. ChrisDH

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,384

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    NO! ....... It would be certain suicide for the entire swarm.
    Yup you are correct. But, sometimes the queen dies when you capture the swarm so you have to check to make sure you got her. She is in the middle of the pile usually.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    6,949

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    Welcome Chris!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    you may or may not have gotten the queen. But if you have another hive with some frames with eggs, I would definitely give them a frame or two of eggs for a couple of weeks unless you see the queen or begin to see eggs. That way at least they can make a new queen if they need on.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, USA
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    105

    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    I am under the impression that when bees loose their queen they soon become so distressed that they would not cooperate with each other enough to organize a swarming group. Most likely after the dropped they were all in a very bad upset situation and just trying to locate a queen or trying to make one. If you get the queen good, if not then there must be eggs less than three days old to make a queen out of I have read. Good luck.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Pickens County, South Carolina, US
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    Default Re: Will bees swarm without a queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    Sorry Lazer, but you got some more reading & learning to do........
    Yeah I read too much sometimes. lol I thot I had read where he got brood in a cut out. It obviously was in another post. So when will I know all I need to know? lol This is a fun adventure. Glad I got started. With the sourwood starting to bloom here it is going to get even more fun!

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