Swarmers and Queenless
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Toms River, NJ
    Posts
    6

    Default Swarmers and Queenless

    Hello,

    Been struggling with two nucs all season. Both swarmed at least twice. Evidence of swarm cells and supercedure cells in both hives.

    I only see some drone brood in there now. No eggs or larvae for at least a month.

    Two weeks ago I put a frame of eggs and open brood in each hive and they didn't rear a new queen.

    I'm stumped here. Please advise. Thanks!

    Mike

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    4,499

    Default Re: Swarmers and Queenless

    Quote Originally Posted by ziggy389 View Post
    Hello,

    Been struggling with two nucs all season. Both swarmed at least twice. Evidence of swarm cells and supercedure cells in both hives.

    I only see some drone brood in there now. No eggs or larvae for at least a month.

    Two weeks ago I put a frame of eggs and open brood in each hive and they didn't rear a new queen.

    I'm stumped here. Please advise. Thanks!

    Mike
    Nucs - meaning you got 5-frame nucs and kept them as 5-frame nucs (until they swarmed because they ran out of space)?

    What is the difference between the swarm cells and supercedure cells?
    Normally you don't get both at once.

    Drone brood - takes longest to hatch; that's why it is still there.

    Did not rear a new queen - check now and may get surprised (there was no need for the ECs - there was some virgin running about).

    If you got yourself overcrowded nucs and never expanded them in time, pretty much this is what you get.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Toms River, NJ
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Swarmers and Queenless

    I didn't keep them in the 5 frame nucs box. transferred them into a ten frame super.
    They had both swarm cells and queen cells.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    4,499

    Default Re: Swarmers and Queenless

    Quote Originally Posted by ziggy389 View Post
    I didn't keep them in the 5 frame nucs box. transferred them into a ten frame super.
    They had both swarm cells and queen cells.
    Good to know - this is an important detail to specify before asking.
    Keep in mind, for most any healthy nuc in spring - a single 10-frame box is way too small in summer - you should have been running 2-3 of these at the least by now.

    Another important detail is absent - the timeline of the swarms (with respect to you getting these nucs and also the 10-frame expansion event).

    Are you truly queen-less or just did not look or looked but was not able to find a queen?
    Any hatched swarm/queen cells?
    Still not enough information.

    OK, sounds like you repeatedly ran them over-crowded and forced into swarming yourself.
    New virgin queen(s) probably should probably be mated by now and start soon enough (since the ECs were not initiated).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,727

    Default Re: Swarmers and Queenless

    Something seems a bit unusual, but I have to say that I have seen capped queen cells that were built out of worker brood cells at the same time there were similar aged queen cells off the bottom of frames where we expect to see swarm cells but emergency or supercedure cells could happen there if there were larvae present. Conditions were not exactly right for swarming and the queen still there and laying. Tore cells down and things went back to normal. Some times it is hard to tell.

    Needs lots of background info need to figure out sometimes exactly what is happening. As Greg has said you need to supply more of a description of what happened and precise time frame of events leading up.

    It sounds possible you have a virgin in there not laying yet if they dont start cells on introduced frame with eggs and all age larvae. I have one queen now that is just over the month from grafting date and not laying yet. Running around with her blue dot and peeking in lots of cells. She better start sticking her tail in them soon or she is toast! A month is normal.
    Frank

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    5,402

    Default Re: Swarmers and Queenless

    You did not say if the drone brood was in drone cells or worker cells. If in drone cells, probably have an unmated virgin. If worker cells, then the queen did not make it back and the hive has gone laying worker. Agree with the others that a single 10 frame box is too small for a healthy nuc and the bees probably ran out of room. Swarm cells can appear anywhere on a frame, they are typically in the lower part, but not always.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Toms River, NJ
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Swarmers and Queenless

    When I received the nucs, I put them in a 10 frame super with another 10 frame super on top.
    Both boxes had drawn comb.
    They never seemed to expand from where I installed them.
    Any swarm cells I discovered hatched. Same with queen cells. They were chewed open.
    I made sure they were not honey bound in any way.

    Appreciate all the help.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    5,402

    Default Re: Swarmers and Queenless

    Mike, if you are referring to a 10 frame medium box as a super, even having two could result in the bees running out of room, especially on a flow. They do not need to be honey bound for the bees to start to feel crowded. While I am not a believer that bees caught from a swarm tend to be more swarmy than others, it does sound based on what you have stated, as if those particular bees are more inclined to swarm than usual. I ran into a similar situation a couple if years ago with a mentee whose first year hive would swarm every month, as soon as they had a mated queen. That hive was not crowded at all. I know for a fact that it swarmed at least three times, over the spring and summer. The hive eventually collapsed.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,852

    Default Re: Swarmers and Queenless

    JW, what was the varroa counts? They may have been trying to rid themselves of a high varroa population.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

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