Do I still need to worry about swarming after not having a laying queen for 3 weeks?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Bloomington, IN
    Posts
    157

    Default Do I still need to worry about swarming after not having a laying queen for 3 weeks?

    I found a lot of capped swarm cells & supercedure cells in my hive about a month ago. Thinking I was supposed to knock off all these swarm cells to prevent a swarm, I knocked off around 14-16. I checked again in a week and found a several more so I knocked those off too. Then someone told me that if they are capped, the swarm probably already happened. I tore into the hive again a week later and could not find my queen (marked) but there were so many bees, it didn't seem like they could have swarmed. At this point, there were no more eggs or larvae though but i did manage to find 2 queen cells that I missed so I left them alone. Another week, no signs of eggs & I couldn't find a queen so I ordered a mated one. When I tried to introduce the new queen a week later, I found a new queen in my hive but I didn't know if it was from the 2 final queen cells or from another missed cell. At this point the hive had hardly any capped brood left except for a few drone sections. No eggs or larvae, but still lots of bees. I decided to leave the natural queen (unmarked, so not my original) and leave them be. Almost 2 weeks later, the hive now has new capped brood and larvae (I assume eggs too) and seem to be getting back to normal.

    The question of the day though - on this last inspection, I found quite a few empty queen cups again scattered throughout the second deep (I didn't look into the 1st deep). Are they preparing to swarm again? I seem to have a lot of bees, but I gave them another super (now 2 deeps & 2 mediums) and added a slatted bottom board. I also previously checkerboarded a couple of empty foundation frames into the middle of the 2 deeps to spread them out a little. I'd hate to keep breaking into the hive during the flow to check on queen cells and was hoping the swarm issue got taken care of (if they actually didn't already in the first place). I'm guessing that I had a gap of at least 3 weeks of no laying. Don't know if I did all the right things but would like to know if I should still keep watching them. Thanks.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Do I still need to worry about swarming after not having a laying queen for 3 wee

    > found quite a few empty queen cups again scattered throughout
    normal

    >Are they preparing to swarm again?
    Have they filled the hive with nectar? And not much room for the queen lay?

    Sounds like what you did will prevent it, but just to be sure check those q cups in a few days. I tear the side off so I can see in the bottom better.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Bloomington, IN
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: Do I still need to worry about swarming after not having a laying queen for 3 wee

    Thanks. They were starting to back fill some brood cells, but here were still a lot of empty areas to lay between the two deeps. The new queen also started to lay a little in the honey supers. I will try to take a peek in a couple of days. I felt the hive might not have had the best ventilation pre-cells, but I have since got a top cover with a bigger center hole and a second exit, as well as the slatted bottom board. Hopefully, they can just concentrate on making honey now.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Do I still need to worry about swarming after not having a laying queen for 3 wee

    I think you are probably OK bees sometimes build cups for no reason, this seems to be especially true post queenless. If there was no larva in the cup no concern.

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