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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
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    Default Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    I installed a swarm in my first top bar hive roughly 3 weeks ago. Checked on them today to find about 6 partially drawn comb with lots of honey. There are cells with pollen and eggs are visible. However I'm not seeing any capped brood or larva and some of the cells have more than one egg. There are also a few queen cells (I think I counted 2-3 and one is visible on the left in the first photo.) I couldn't find a queen but I'm also not good at finding her yet either. My first thought was that I'm simply expecting brood too soon but that doesn't explain the queen cells I'm seeing (if they are queen cells.) Could it be they had a queen, lost her, and now they are trying to raise a new one or do I simply have a laying worker on my hands? Any suggestions?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Baden Wurtemburg Germany
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    188

    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    [QUOTE=Ambassador;977696]I installed a swarm in my first top bar hive roughly 3 weeks ago. Checked on them today to find about 6 partially drawn comb with lots of honey.

    Are you feeding them? If so how much and what mix?

    [QUOTE=Ambassador;977696] There are cells with pollen and eggs are visible. However I'm not seeing any capped brood or larva and some of the cells have more than one egg.

    If you have eggs wait... when they cap the larva you will see if they are drones. Then you can think about an old barren queen or laying workers.
    My guess is that you had a cast with a virgin queen. In which case it can take a while before you will see capped brood. A new queen can lay multiple eggs in a cell. I don't think they are queen cells, maybe drones. To me this looks like a very small swarm/cast. A difficult task for a new beekeeper to build up to strength.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    Not feeding at all and yes they were a small swarm. Is the timing about right for a newly laying queen considering she was a virgin?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    Is that capped worker on #3 on the lower edge? Yes #1 is a q cell. Is or was a queen, LW not likely.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

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

    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambassador View Post
    Not feeding at all and yes they were a small swarm. Is the timing about right for a newly laying queen considering she was a virgin?
    yes the timing is about right....wait a little while and I think all will be ok

  6. #6
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    Mar 2012
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Is that capped worker on #3 on the lower edge? Yes #1 is a q cell. Is or was a queen, LW not likely.
    Okay so if it is a queen cell then I for sure have a queen in the hive...but there also must have been a queen originally that was either killed by the hive or outed correct?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    It is only a queen cell if there if there is a larvae inside of it. That might be a queencell cup.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
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    320

    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    I think I read somewhere that if you are seeing just 2, maybe 3 eggs per cell, it's likely a new queen. But the eggs will still be at the bottom and not on the sides. Laying workers, I've heard, will lay masses of eggs In a cell.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    Looks honeybound as well to me. You have capped syrup cells. The bees are storing faster than they are drawing comb so the queen is double laying. I would slow up or stop feeding. The hive needs brood more than stores right now.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2012
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Looks honeybound as well to me. You have capped syrup cells. The bees are storing faster than they are drawing comb so the queen is double laying. I would slow up or stop feeding. The hive needs brood more than stores right now.
    Not feeding anything and haven't been feeding at all =)

  11. #11
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    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    Missed that above. Then you have a good location! My guess is they will work it out, just growing pains.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    The presence of a queen cell does not mean the queen is dead or missing. The QC could be just "insurance", or it could mean the bees are preparing to supersede the queen but she is still in the hive.

    As for timing of new queens, this BeeMath page from Michael Bush is very useful:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #13
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    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    Radar, what does the bottom of #3 photo look like to you? Looks like it is not capped honey = worker to me, though photo's are not a definate conclusion.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  14. #14
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    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    > Radar, what does the bottom of #3 photo look like to you? Looks like it is not capped honey

    I agree that those cells appear to not be capped, and may also be empty.

    My comment about queens was not meant to imply that I agree that I saw QCs in the photos. It was in response to the OP's comment of
    Could it be they had a queen, lost her, and now they are trying to raise a new one


    Photo 1 does have an area that the cells bump out in a manner that may resemble some QCs, but I am not going to proclaim that as a queen cell.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    Asked and answered. Thanks.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  16. #16
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    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: Seeing eggs but no brood...3 week old swarm

    Dang, looks like a nice flow going on there. I wish I had a few hives there!

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