Will a new package swarm?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Fond du Lac WI
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    44

    Default Will a new package swarm?

    I installed a package on 4-22-17. I used 7 frames out of 10 of drawn comb with the outside frames being capped honey. Our weather has been rainy and cool for the most part. I put a second brood box on a week ago which also had 7 frames out of 10 of drawn comb. The weather was nice today so I opened the hive to check on it and it seems to be doing well. A few bees were starting to move into the second brood box so I moved on to the lower box. There was still a frame that was just beginning to be drawn. Pulled another and I saw capped larva, larva and eggs........but I also saw what looks to be a swarm cell on the bottom of one frame. I held the frame up high to look in the bottom and there appeared to be a larva in there.

    Will a new package swarm? I didn't think I had much to worry about with this hive since it was new. Any advice on what to do at this point?

    Brad

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    beaver county pa usa
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    396

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    Most likely it is a supersedure cell It is not uncommon for bees from a package to supersede a queen in the first 6 weeks or so. You could tear it down then wait and see if they build another cell or just let it happen

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,803

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    many of the packages will try and supercede the queen. Whether she's a bad one or there is just an imbalance in the hive of pheromones is a research question to be answered. I agree with bee keeper chef, as long as her brood pattern is good, knock down the first few queen cells.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Bailey, CO USA
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    I got a package of Carnolians last spring. About a month after installing them, I noted a queen cell up high on one of the frames. At first, I thought it was cross comb, but later after some reading, I believed this to be a supercedure cell, which I removed thinking it was cross comb. I thought swarm cells were at the bottom of the frames. Is this correct?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Fond du Lac WI
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    Well, here's my story about the queen....when I installed the package, I waited 4 days then opened the hive to see if they released the queen. They had not and she was dead. I bought the package from Honey Bee Ware in Greenville, WI so I contacted them and picked up a new queen 8 days after install. Put her in an closed up the hive for another 3 days. Opened the hive 3 days later and found that she also was not released and was dead. I wasn't understanding what was going on so I began to inspect the frames where the bees were. There were eggs and larva. They apparently had a queen in the cluster within the package and didn't need to release a new one. As a result, I don't know what see is, Italian, Carnolian or ???? The 2 dead ones were supposed to be Italians.
    She seems to be laying ok. I will do a more detailed inspection this weekend and will have a better idea of how she's doing.
    On the situation at hand, I also thought queen cells at the bottom of the frames were swarm cells. But this is only my second year so what the heck do I know?
    So would I be safe in tearing it down and monitoring further? I'm afraid that I'll tear it down and they will swarm anyway and then I will be queenless for a longer period of time than I would be otherwise.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,527

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    I have heard of extra, uncaged Queens in packages.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    beaver county pa usa
    Posts
    396

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    Swarm cell and supersedure cells can be any where on a frame Usually supersedure cells will be 1 or 2 on the side of a frame, swarm cells will be numerous and usually on the bottom of them frame but not always. If you only have one cell it is not a swarm cell. If your queen is in the hive tear it down if they have other intentions they will build another.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Marietta, Ohio USA
    Posts
    489

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    To answer your original question concerning if packages swarmed, Yes they do. I installed a package from down South on April 4 and within 3 weeks, after adding second deep on drawn comb, they swarmed. They left one swarm cell, which hatched and successfully mated. The hive is doing well.
    The package grew very rapidly and had lots of number, which were possibly augmented by another nearby package. I am not sure, so overcrowding may have been the cause.
    It has been a very strange and good year for bees in southeast Ohio

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    Bees from a package quite often try to supersede the queen because the brood cycle as it is leaves the hive in need of nurse bees. he hive interprets this as a failing queen. Thus they take measures to correct what they perceive as a problem. When queen cups are discovered within an installed package. Giving the hive a frame of ready to emerge brood usually takes care of the problem and the cells are abandoned. I usually tear them down as insurance. And the hive returns to normal without a supersedure. Allowing them to supersede only serves to set the hive back further. A package my abscond, but rarely swarms, unless there is an older queen in the cluster and there are lots of bees within the hive, Not a likelihood in a new start! But it can happen.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Marietta, Ohio USA
    Posts
    489

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    To answer your original question concerning if packages swarmed, Yes they do. I installed a package from down South on April 4 and within 3 weeks, after adding second deep on drawn comb, they swarmed. They left one swarm cell, which hatched and successfully mated. The hive is doing well.
    The package grew very rapidly and had lots of number, which were possibly augmented by another nearby package. I am not sure, so overcrowding may have been the cause.
    It has been a very strange and good year for bees in southeast Ohio

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Milford, Michigan USA
    Posts
    304

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    Brad, in 2014 I posted a thread to mention that I had two packages swarm. I tried to copy the thread address but my Ipad is not cooperating. Walt Wright and MB both commented and even the missing Acebird. Anyway if you care to read it just search on my screen name and look for "May packages swarming". Michael suggested feeding may have been the reason and Walt suggested that perhaps I should have added new boxes under the brood nest rather than above. So to answer your question, absolutely they may swarm.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Fond du Lac WI
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Will a new package swarm?

    Thanks for the info everyone. There just seems to be the one cell so I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for supercedure. Given the unknown nature of the present queen, I'm going to let the bees handle it as they see fit.
    A couple of things I'm still not understanding--I'm seeing a lot of drone brood on the bottom of a couple of the frames. This is built onto the bottom of the frames, not on the face of the frames.--They also don't seem to be drawing much new comb, but rather using old wax to move comb around.
    Michiganmike-I looked up the old thread you mentioned. Good info in there. Thanks.

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