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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, first post from me. This post is going to ramble a bit so bear with me. I am sure somebody has posted a similar question but I am having a hard time finding an answer. I have a hive that I started last year from a package. The hive was two deeps over the winter. When I did a full inspection around the first of April I found that they were doing really well. Still lots of capped honey, eggs and brood at various stages. So I threw on a super from last year, that was about half drawn, hoping they would get it drawn out before they needed it. Well as the last couple weeks progressed they became very active, clinging to the outside of the hive during the day and bearding well in to the night. Last Friday the neighbor called and told me there was a swarm in his yard so I caught that and put it in an empty box. Im assuming that the swarm I caught came from my hive. I wasn't able to find a queen yet(my original was marked). Since then there was not as much activity outside of the original hive. I did another full inspection this evening to find that the bees temperament has gotten calmer and there are no eggs or uncapped brood. Only a few capped brood and drones. The workers have begun to fill both deeps completely with nectar, there are very few empty cells left on any of the frames. There was also a dozen or so queen cells. Upon reading various things I decided to check all the queen cells to see what stage they are at. I checked all of them and they were all empty except for the last one. It had a mature queen ready to go. So I carefully let her crawl down one of the frames and put the hive back together. They haven't really done much with the super I put on a month ago, it is about half drawn(still) and has no capped honey. I put another super on top to give the workers something to do. After all that, my main question is, will the hive be ok at this stage. Will they accept one of the queens that emerged? Will she have any place to lay since they are filling it with honey? Will she have enough time to start laying again and make new bees before the current ones die? I greatly appreciate any responses. Or tips. What should I do? :scratch:
Thanks!
 

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Under normal circumstances such as the ones you describe here, your hive should be just fine. When a hive swarms, you end up with the old queen leaving and a new virgin queen taking over that hive. It will take up to two weeks from here for you to find eggs/brood in your original hive. Don't mess with it between now and then. Let them be for about two weeks, then check them out again. The swarm you captured is probably a secondary swarm. Since you had a marked queen before, you either hived another virgin there, or a superceded queen. Again, give them about two weeks as well before you mess around in that hive much.

Now about the space problems you think you may have on the first hive.. Don't worry too much. What will happen once the virgin is mated up is she comes back and starts laying up the place. They will move the honey out of the lower deep into the upper honey area. If that means they have to draw new comb, they will do so at that time.

And as for making new bees prior to the ones you have die off. YES a normal bee's life can range between 45 days and 6 months depending upon what it's job is and time of year. Normal workers die off within 45 days normally in spring/summer/fall. That gives your queen plenty of time to get out do her thing, come back, lay up the place, and have new girls coming out all over the place before the workers there already die off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, thank you. The BLUF method probably would have been useful for my post. Thank you drlonzo for your response. My instincts were telling me to just relax and let them figure it out but I just wanted some reassurance that they were not making the hive uninhabitable for a replacement queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just an update. I just did another full hive inspection. I started with the bottom box on the double deep. They had moved all the nectar from the brood comb, there is lots of pollen and some capped honey on the outer frames but not one egg/brood on any of the 10 frames. I started digging in to the second deep and I was relieved to find that there was some eggs, various stages of larvae and maybe 20-30 capped brood. Out of the 10 frames on the 2nd deep only 4 sides had a minimal amount of eggs and brood. The outer 4 frames are completely full of capped honey. Does this sound normal, I always thought queens laid low to high? From what I saw she probably has both sides of 14 frames of clean drawn comb. Given the amount of space she has to lay is it ok to have so few eggs/brood from a queen that was released as a virgin on 5/6?
Thanks!
 

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I think you are about on schedule -- typically it takes a month, but since it's spring and the weather is nice, your queen got mated well right away and is doing her job. Next week you should see quite a bit of open brood and more eggs.

My hive swarmed Monday, with a few queen cells not quite capped. That means a new queen should emerge early next week, get mated in a week or so, and start laying a few days later, new brood in early July. Lots of bees left, I'll extract some honey in the next couple weeks and let them fill things back up.

Peter
 

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It sounds like your new queen is playing catch up. The main flow is likely still a few weeks out around here. They should respond nicely. They may have a bit too much space at the moment.

Have you given any thought to starting a second hive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have a second hive going with the swarm that I caught from my main hive. They are doing well, but have only populated about half of a medium so far. I know it is still early in the year but because they were such a small swarm would it make sense to take the lower deep off my large hive that has drawn comb and no brood in it yet and give it to the small hive?
 

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It's probably a bit early for that - wait for ~3/4+ - likely within a week the way it's going around here right now. I like to see mine working all 10 medium frames before adding. Yes, placing that deep is one way to go.

I've found that running all mediums is more practical for me. You might also consider going the other way - adding another medium, and bringing your other colony along the same way.

It all just depends on how you plan to go/grow - or not.
 
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