Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 24
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Gilford,nh,USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    image.jpgHow can a tell if I got the queen with the swarm? This is my first time collecting a swarm and I was very careful, but what is the best way to know she is there. Here's the recap of what I did and my observations so far. I would welcome any and all constructive comments and suggestions.

    I collected a large swarm (about 9 or 10 lbs) two days ago. The swarm was positioned in a tough location and took some time to carefully relocate. I transferred it directly to three medium hive bodies with a couple of drawn frames and the remainder of the frames with foundation. I let the hive bodies sit for about 45 minutes once I got the majority of the bees in and the remaining bees from the swarm went into the boxes on their own. The bees were very quiet once they settled in. I then sealed the boxes with a moving screen on top a relocated them keeping them confined in the hive until the next afternoon. Around 4 pm the next day, I opened the hive entrance and added some additional frames of foundation to fill the boxes. The bees were calm and within an hour they were all over the holly bushes and flowering trees in the area. This morning they were out flying and outside of the hive by 6am. This evening they are very active and flying , but are much louder than yesterday. I did not see any pollen coming back to the hive. How long should I wait to inspect?

    Thank you in advance for any assistance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    Time, be patient. Treat them as if they where a package. You should feed them (you nearly always feed swarms) then give them a week, maybe 2 with very minimal intervention. After that, do an inspection and look for signs of a queen. With a swarm, inspecting too soon could allow the queen to fly, not a good thing.

    If, once you caught the swarm and hived it the bees found the hive and housed into it, you likely have the queen.

    Note: May people immediately requeen a swarm; I don't but I wanted to throw that information out in case you wanted to consider it. The main reason that I don't is because a swarm, almost by definition has a queen that over wintered in your area and that can be gold. People who requeen often do so because they feel an older queen is more likely to swarm and/or that she swarmed once, maybe she is more prone to swarm again. You need to decide your path in this matter.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,340

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    If you give them lots of hive does it decrease the chance of swarming.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    It's a balance; you don't want to give them too much space or they may try to spread themselves too thin and not too little or they may swarm. I add a box when the other box has been covering 6 frames (in a 10 frame hive). I'm sure other use various methods for calculation but this is me.

    I've also, when knowing that I couldn't service the hive or felt they would be many bees before I would visit again added an extra box a little early with no ill effects that I noticed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Humnoke,Ar
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    Cottonwood
    I just hived a wild swarm and it was eleven days before i saw the first eggs. Good luck with yours!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    269

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    Normally a swarm will not stay put if you missed the queen. "quiet bees, settling in" is a real good indicator that she's there. A swarm of that size is likely headed by an old mated queen rather than a virgin. The virgin might not get mated (survive...?) and begin laying for some time, whereas the swarm will likely try to supercede an old queen rather quickly (and I'd let them, unless you plan to requeen them yourself). Leave them alone for a week or two (or three), then check for either a good laying pattern ( recently mated virgin?) or a poor pattern and likely supercedure queen cells. Either way, congrats on a huge snag!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Butler, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    I caught my first swarm nine days ago. I put them in a deep with one drawn frame of nectar and 7 frames of foundation. I took a look today expecting to see eggs and found nothing. They're drawing comb like crazy and have partially drawn both sides of 5 frames and the insides of the two outer frames. They're storing pollen in a couple of frames, but no brood rearing at this time. They act like they're queen right. Quiet bees, going about their business. I'm planning to look again in about another week. If everything progresses like it has so far, I'm assuming they'll be ready for another deep. I hope to find some nice brood frames then too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Gilford,nh,USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    Thank you to all who have replied. I appreciate the feedback. A quick update and question. This morning I wanted to check the level of the sugar water I gave them so I opened the outer cover to take a look. This hive has three mediums with a couple frames of drawn comb and the rest foundation. On top of that is an empty super to hold the jar of sugar water which is sitting on the top of the frames. When I pulled the outer cover off, there was a large cluster of bees hanging from it ( looked like about 3 or 4 lbs). Does this mean there is not enough room in the lower three boxes? I have frames but do not have any foundation until Tuesday. Suggestions please. Thank you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,928

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    Swarms always start in the top box, frames or not.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    Good grief...what a swarm...
    Try it. What could happen?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Gilford,nh,USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    I did not know that they always form a cluster at the top. I added an Additional box of foundation less frames under the top empty super. That gives them five boxes total so I hope they have enough room for now

    Yes. It is a nice size swarm. There are more bees than both my overwintered hives,
    Last edited by Cottonwood; 05-17-2014 at 02:57 AM. Reason: Correction

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    314

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    "Is my swarm queen less."
    No. I would say that 1) you had the queen originally because the remainder of the swarm followed the queen into the box, 2) having rolled her this quickly without drawn comb or even, apparently, foundation in the frames is very unlikely, and 3) from the size of the swarm, the date, and your location, you have a primary swarm, so you didn't lose a virgin queen on a mating flight.
    "How can I tell [if it is queenless]?"
    You could inspect for the queen, wait 2 weeks and look for brood, ask a very experienced beekeeper to look at the hive and opine whether it is queen right, or, (since they appear to have settled in by now), you could put a frame with eggs or very small larva in the hive and see if they build an emergency queen cell which would indicate that they did not have a queen (and solve the problem).
    "Suggestions, please."
    If you think that you need to feed them at this time of year (I don't), place a jar of syrup over a hole in an inner cover so that the bees can feed but can't get into the box that is covering the feeder to build unwanted comb.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Gilford,nh,USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Riverderwent View Post
    "Is my swarm queen less."
    No. I would say that 1) you had the queen originally because the remainder of the swarm followed the queen into the box, 2) having rolled her this quickly without drawn comb or even, apparently, foundation in the frames is very unlikely, and 3) from the size of the swarm, the date, and your location, you have a primary swarm, so you didn't lose a virgin queen on a mating flight.
    "How can I tell [if it is queenless]?"
    You could inspect for the queen, wait 2 weeks and look for brood, ask a very experienced beekeeper to look at the hive and opine whether it is queen right, or, (since they appear to have settled in by now), you could put a frame with eggs or very small larva in the hive and see if they build an emergency queen cell which would indicate that they did not have a queen (and solve the problem).
    "Suggestions, please."
    If you think that you need to feed them at this time of year (I don't), place a jar of syrup over a hole in an inner cover so that the bees can feed but can't get into the box that is covering the feeder to build unwanted comb.
    Thank you for the advice. I will give the a couple of weeks to settle in and check for brood. I am going to add another box of foundation to give them some more room. My only concern is will the cluster that is in the top empty box move down so I can get the empty box out. They are "hanging" from the inner cover and fill a good amount of that empty super.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    I never feed a swarm...I may steal a frame with some nectar in it from another hive and give it to them when I catch them to help anchor them, but the way I see it is a swarm left with what they need to survive...all you need to do is give them a place to live.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    jackson,arkansas,usa
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    You need to take the empty box off or they will build comb from the cover just put the feeder jar over the hole in the inner coverant the empty box over that so the bees want fetters to the empty box if you are going to feed. They will build quick so i wouldn't wait to do it.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    314

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    "[W]ill the cluster that is in the top empty box move down so I can get the empty box out."
    A little smoke should push them down into the next lower box. You can also firmly knock the top box on the adjacent box or brush the bees off of the top box onto the top of the frames in that box. If there are a few bees on the top box, just leave it laying on its side in front of the hive, and the remaining bees will find their way home. Good luck.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Gilford,nh,USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Riverderwent View Post
    "[W]ill the cluster that is in the top empty box move down so I can get the empty box out."
    A little smoke should push them down into the next lower box. You can also firmly knock the top box on the adjacent box or brush the bees off of the top box onto the top of the frames in that box. If there are a few bees on the top box, just leave it laying on its side in front of the hive, and the remaining bees will find their way home. Good luck.
    Thanks, I will try a little more smoke and "thump" on top of the outer cover. Unfortunately I did not have an inner cover available when I hived then, so they are attached to the outer cover. I will open it up on Tuesday and hopefully the size of the cluster will have moved down into the frames. At last check it was about a 4+ lb cluster of bees and I did not want to give them any reason to swarm again.
    Thanks again for the replies.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Gilford,nh,USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    Quote Originally Posted by NewJoe View Post
    I never feed a swarm...I may steal a frame with some nectar in it from another hive and give it to them when I catch them to help anchor them, but the way I see it is a swarm left with what they need to survive...all you need to do is give them a place to live.
    I have two overwintered hive but unfortunately they are about 2 hours away from the location of the swarm hive so I don't have access to any nectar frames right now. Thanks for the suggestion, I will try that in the next swarm if I have the opportunity.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Gilford,nh,USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    Quote Originally Posted by tank View Post
    You need to take the empty box off or they will build comb from the cover just put the feeder jar over the hole in the inner coverant the empty box over that so the bees want fetters to the empty box if you are going to feed. They will build quick so i wouldn't wait to do it.
    That is my concern. Thanks for the advice.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    880

    Default Re: Is my swarm queen less. How can I tell?

    I collected a large swarm (about 9 or 10 lbs) two days ago.
    A swarm that big is almost certainly the first swarm of the season from the mother hive, and, thus, most likely is led the mother queen rather than a virgin. Meaning, you should be seeing eggs sooner than if it was a virgin queen.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads