Virgin queen swarmed
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    New Egypt, New Jersey
    Posts
    4

    Default Virgin queen swarmed

    Hi there. First year beekeeper. So i had a package of bees that killed the queen a month in. I found 11 queen cells. All were a mixture of emergecy/supercedure cells of various sizes and a couple swarm cells. I killed 3, put 3 in a nucbox and left 4(thought there was 10 and left 3 but i missed 1) in the original hive. I found a queen which hatched yesterday that was all yellow. This morning i saw a swarm from that hive (cant get it as it is 30 feet up in a tree) and went to check and see the hive. Turns out there is now another darker colored queen in there. Do i kill the remaining 2 queen cells so they do not swarm again or leave them alone? I also found a very small queen yesterday in the grass (unsure where this one came from, my have missed another queen cell im assuming) with 10 bees around her and put her in a queen cage. Im confused to why this hive isnt killing the queen cells and keeps letting queens leave unscathed. I checked my nuc i did the split from yesterday and that queen killed the 2 other cells in there and im assuming is still in there today but the original hive keeps swarming virgin queens. Again now that i found a new queen in the hive im unsure if i should destroy the remaining 2 cells. (one has a crack in it so i assume she may have stung through that 1 but the other seems unscathed and is a swarm cell.) Any advice? Dont want to kill the remaining ones just to see another swarm and have 0 queens but i also want to prevent more swarms.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,409

    Default Re: Virgin queen swarmed

    welcome to beesource andrew!

    tough call, but probably best to just let the bees work it out on their own.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    New Egypt, New Jersey
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Virgin queen swarmed

    Thank you for your advice. I closed up the hive so unless i hear compelling evidence to do otherwise i think thats the plan. Have you ever seen anything like this before? I was always told most of the time the queen will kill the other cells. Seems odd to me that these queens are suddenly pacifists. You would think one would want to stay put.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,409

    Default Re: Virgin queen swarmed

    i have seen it before. sometimes it just goes that way and i don't think anyone knows exactly why. trying to intervene has just as much chance to go wrong as to go right.

    if you have been keeping a syrup feeder on the hive this may have signaled to the colony that a very strong nectar flow is underway and therefore a good time to send out swarms and afterswarms.

    consider adding your general location to your profile. it helps a lot when folks are trying to best answer your questions.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    New Egypt, New Jersey
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Virgin queen swarmed

    No syrup feeder. I just updated my profile. Im located in ocean county NJ. Also looking outside and see alot of sudden activity after hive inspection seeing the new queen. Hope i didnt cause another swarm...

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,409

    Default Re: Virgin queen swarmed

    multiple swarms are more the exception than the rule in my experience.

    but on one occasion i had a total of 5 swarms coming out of one hive over a period of about a week.

    after that i started staying out of the hives as much as possible when requeening is going on.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,480

    Default Re: Virgin queen swarmed

    Virgin queens will destroy other cells but apparently workers will sometimes, in special situations, protect them. I dont think mated queens will automatically destroy queen cells, otherwise the supercedure process would not work: Opinions welcome as I have never had direct experience with this.
    Frank

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    New Egypt, New Jersey
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Virgin queen swarmed

    I ended up finding a really nice guy to help me get the swarm down. Unfortunately at 30 feet up with a bucket and a metal rod, although we got alot of bees down no dice on the queen. Tied a 10 frame box to the fence where they fell and put lemon grass on the frames. Any chance ill get this one back? I see some bees flying in but again there are still a bunch up in the tree.

    Also,
    They seemed to have killed the original queen as i couldn't ever find her. I just suddenly found almost a dozen queen cells.One which hatched yesterday. Then today after i saqw the swarm she disappeared (probably up in that tree) and a newer slightly striped queen is now in there and another queen cell is opened. Aain 2 more queen cells in there (one cracked a bit) so im praying she kills them off and prevents another swarm...

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