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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So today we are a little slow at work so I decided to get my hives ready for winter. I took a mite count of some hives I bought back in the summer and found about 15 mites in 3 hours. My goal is to have all small cell hives with no chemical treatments, but being a rookie and seeing that many mites in a couple of hour I decided I had better treat them before winter so I ordered some Apistan strips that came in yesterday. I have three hives at work so I pulled off the surplus supers, two of them had no honey and one was full. I added the Apistan strips and all went well.

One of my three hives at home needed a super to get through winter so I took the one from work and gave it to the hive at home. Did the same to the three hives at home as I did at work and when I got back to work I looked up at my hives and saw what looked like a tornado above my hives. OH NO it was a swarm about the size of two soft balls. I consulted a local beek friend who thinks that because I don't use queen exluders that I probably pulled the queen off of one of my hives when I pulled the supers off.

So I cut the limb off and set a new hive up and they marched right in (this was my first swarm experience) now I guess in the next few days I am going to have to find out which hive is queenless and try to do a paper combine??? While I did spot my queens a little this spring and summer, most of the time I just saw eggs. Does anyone have any tips that will help with my situation? Are there any ways to determine if a queen is in there other than spotting her or seeing eggs ( because they have stopped laying )? I know I am looking for a magic answer that probably does not exsist. My local beekeeper friend just giggled shook my hand and said " Welcome to Beekeeping "
 

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Ruben . . .
Im not sure "ALL queens" have stop laying eggs in Virginia. Some say, "Up north" most brood production stops in late October. Are ALL of your hives without eggs?
 

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Dave to be honest I am not sure they have stopped, I am going off of what another local beek told me they will not be laying now. I have not had the frames out in about three weeks. I plan on going through them thorough on Saturday if it is not raining. I do know that the drones are being expelled I saw many today that were barely alive and being shoved overboard. It would be great if they were still laying that way I could find out which one is queenless.

I was also told that I may go back in the morning and find that all of the bees except the queen may have gone back to the original hive and the queen may be the only one left in the box I put the swarm in, think that may happen? If so what do I do?
 

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If I really need to find the queen what I do is go in when it's pretty cool, just below 50 degrees. The bees are clustered pretty tight at this temp and the frames outside the cluster are empty. I do a quick check on all the frames outside the cluster to make sure the queen isn't on them and remove them from the hive. This leaves a lot of space to manipulate the remaining frames. Next I locate the three frames closest to the center of the cluster and push the other frames away as far as possable on both sides. I go through those three center frames at least three times before I start looking at the outside ones. Almost always the queen will be on the frame closest to the middle.

In your case, there will be enough time elapsed that if you see any eggs at all you can put it all back together and seal it up without finding the queen. Some young unsealed brood will be chilled in this process, so you really have to have a need to know to make it worthwhile.
 
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