How to catch my queen after swarm
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    hickory nc
    Posts
    2

    Default How to catch my queen after swarm

    I am very new to this. Purchased my first Nuk about 2 months ago. Have a large 8 frame brood box and 2 small supers. All completely filled with capped brood and/or honey. Thought they were happy, however saw a swirling mass of bees hovering above the hive and then landed about 20 feet up on a small branch. After about 2 Hours they formed a nice "beard." We then attempted to cut the branch and they regrouped 5 feet higher. Cut that branch and they then decided to form around the trunk about 35 feet up.

    Before we attempted our ugly attempt at arborism and stealth queen abduction mission, we checked our hive to find the queen with no success. However we did notice quite a lot of bees in all the boxes. Had we not have seen the swarm we would not have thought anything was wrong. This morning we again went through every frame looking fro the queen with no success, however we did notice quite a few swarm cells in the bottom large box.

    Will the bees in the hive remain and make a new queen? Is there anything else that i should look at doing? I have set up a second hive at the bottom of the tree just in case.

    If any one has suggestions as to what to do please I am all ears.

    Thanks

    Gina

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: How to catch my queen after swarm

    So the nuc made the QC (queen cell) and they swarmed on you.
    A very typical situation on a crowded hive.
    The next step is to prevent the secondary swarming after these QCs emerged.
    As long as there are virgin queens in there they will put out smaller swarm until no more
    bees are left in this hive. What we normally do is to make splits out of these QCs. Use 2 cells per
    split in a small nuc box. If you don't want that many splits then keep 2 cells in the original hive
    for them to make the new queen. To increase their mating flight and return success I would make
    2 hives from this one in a small nuc. This is to ensure that at least one of the virgins will stay and mated.
    The old queen is gone with the first swarm unless you can recover them now. This is a good lesson in
    swarm management early on.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
    Posts
    904

    Default Re: How to catch my queen after swarm

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    So the nuc made the QC (queen cell) and they swarmed on you.
    A very typical situation on a crowded hive.
    The next step is to prevent the secondary swarming after these QCs emerged.
    As long as there are virgin queens in there they will put out smaller swarm until no more
    bees are left in this hive. What we normally do is to make splits out of these QCs. Use 2 cells per
    split in a small nuc box. If you don't want that many splits then keep 2 cells in the original hive
    for them to make the new queen. To increase their mating flight and return success I would make
    2 hives from this one in a small nuc. This is to ensure that at least one of the virgins will stay and mated.
    The old queen is gone with the first swarm unless you can recover them now. This is a good lesson in
    swarm management early on.
    I am confused now. Doesnt the new Virgin kill off other developing swarm cells ? Do they still cast off secondary swarms ? What if empty frames are introduced into broodnest while they are busy working on feeding swarm cells ?

    My first year Nuc swarmed a week ago (same problem). I havent done anything and now worried if I should split to discourage secondary swarms.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: How to catch my queen after swarm

    Sometimes they just swarmed leaving the hive still with the QCs.
    This is how the after swarm happens later on with subsequent virgin that
    emerged. So chances are these are the uncap cells. Or they might be the
    cap cells. Look inside the cell with a small LED flashlight for the developing or empty
    cells. The empty frames into the brood nest will not deter their caring for these cells.
    If in doubt then do another hive inspection looking for these QCs. As long as they have
    more virgins in there they will cast of another swarm. So look closely this time.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    hickory nc
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: How to catch my queen after swarm

    So just to be clear.

    If I have 4 frames each with one with Queen cells that have queens developing. I should take 2 of the frames out and place them into a Nuc along with say 2 other frames with capped brood and honey. Then leave the other two frames in the original hive with 4 new frames? will the new Nuc bees go back to the original hive?

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: How to catch my queen after swarm

    Yes, only the foragers from the newly made nuc will go back to the original hive.
    You compensate it by adding extra frame of the young bees in the new nuc. Sometimes I will
    brush off the attaching bees without using the frame in the new nuc hive.
    Let's say the 4 frames with one frame that has 4 QCs in development, then after they are capped, you
    cut out 2 cells to go with the new nuc. On plastic foundation this is harder to do.
    This will leave you 2 developing QCs in the original hive. Whatever you do make sure 2 cells go in each hive.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,467

    Default Re: How to catch my queen after swarm

    To add to the perfect advice, when moving frames with queen cells, move them gently. Jostling the cells can kill the queen especially if they are close to emerging.

    If you have an empty box, you can set it up and hope the swarm goes into it. The most enticing is around 10 feet high, with some drawn comb and add a few drops of lemon grass oil or queen pheromone tubes. It's worth a try.

    I'm 20 minutes south of you. Welcome and good luck. I hear good comments about Catawba Co bee club.
    Lawrence Heafner
    15 hives; 17 years; TF for 12; Zone 7B

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