Any guesses? Swarm took 6 weeks to start laying?
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    El Cerrito, CA
    Posts
    3

    Default Any guesses? Swarm took 6 weeks to start laying?

    Hi everyone - this is the first time I've posted, and it's just to see if anyone can help satisfy my curiosity. I'm in the East Bay (Northern California) where we had a dry winter but wet spring. I caught a swarm from one of my own colonies in mid-April and put it in the only empty box I had, a Langstroth 10-frame with a mix of old drawn comb and some foundation. I checked a few weeks later and saw lots of new comb but no embryos or larvae. Same thing a week ago, so I transferred a frame of embryos/young larvae from another colony in the hope that they would re-queen. I inspected yesterday and saw no emergency queen cells, but now there are embryos and uncapped young larvae, implying that a queen was there all along. Any idea why it might take over 6 weeks for her to start laying? Thanks for any insights!

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    5,197

    Default Re: Any guesses? Swarm took 6 weeks to start laying?

    Most likely you accidentally transferred the queen from the other hive. Check that hive to see if there are queen cells started.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    El Cerrito, CA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Any guesses? Swarm took 6 weeks to start laying?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Most likely you accidentally transferred the queen from the other hive. Check that hive to see if there are queen cells started.
    Hm, interesting possibility. I was pretty thorough about shaking off as many bees as I could, and there were at most 2-3 left, but I suppose it's possible. I will inspect both hives and look for cells in the donor hive. Thanks for your reply!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Any guesses? Swarm took 6 weeks to start laying?

    How did you have any bees left after 6 weeks from a swarm!? I would think that population would be super low at this point, might not even be worth trying to build up if the queen was dead all along.
    USDA Hardiness Zone 7A, Hobbyist, First Hives in 2017

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    El Cerrito, CA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Any guesses? Swarm took 6 weeks to start laying?

    Quote Originally Posted by Akademee View Post
    How did you have any bees left after 6 weeks from a swarm!? I would think that population would be super low at this point, might not even be worth trying to build up if the queen was dead all along.
    I really don't know - I kept expecting them to abscond or die off. But I'm quite sure there was no brood until I added some.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    718

    Default Re: Any guesses? Swarm took 6 weeks to start laying?

    Nurse bees that don't have to feed brood don't deplete their fat bodies and are very similar to winter bees.Combine this with the reduced need for foraging to feed brood and bees will live longer than the usual 6 wks.
    I vote for a transplanted Q but I am often wrong.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    1,094

    Default Re: Any guesses? Swarm took 6 weeks to start laying?

    I've seen a new Queen lay a small patch of brood, then found an empty Queen Cell and no sign of the Queen. So a Virgin Queen may start laying some eggs after first mating, but still go out for some more flights after starting to lay.

    If she only just started to lay and then gets killed, then a new Queen may be raised. This would explain the timing.

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
  •