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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I captured a swarm off of a REALLY small tree and it seemed that there may have been several queens in the cluster. The reason I say this is because I had boxed about half of the bees in the container shown and had a lot more fly from the tree to the box. THere were several that stayed on the tree in a cluster though.

I had placed an empty nuc box (The bottom one) at the location while I went back home to retrieve my other box that had a swarm lure and frames in it. (The one on top.) We went and retrieved the boxes after dark that night and placed them at my house.

This morning there are bees in both boxes(full) and a cluster hanging on the front top of the top nuc! Is it possible that there were a couple or several virgin queens in the cluster (maybe a combined cluster of several swarms?) and they have setup in both nucs?

I know it is very late in the year for swarms and this one seemed to me to be very large. You can follow the links to see a couple of pictures my daughter took.

http://mysite.verizon.net/the_hills/swarm01.jpg

http://mysite.verizon.net/the_hills/swarm02.jpg
 

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While it is possible that there are more than one queen in the swarm, it is unlikely. The bees will cluster where the queen was last, because her phermones are present, once they fade away, the bees will then cast for her smell around the area they were clustered. That looked like a sizeable swarm, and they will need more room than a nuc for all of them to fit in. So unless you would like to make two hives you should join them together in a larger hive.

peggjam
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks peggjam. I am planning on moving them to a medium body tomorrow. It was raining last night and I have to work a 24hr shift today, so I can't attend to them until then.

It was a VERY large swarm, witch is why I wondered if maybe a couple swarms had combined. Especially as late in the year as it is.
 

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I hate to disagree with someone who knows a lot more than I do about this stuff; but it's not that uncommon for a swarm to have more than one queen.

The queen can leave the hive as the only queen in the swarm. But one swarm can meet up with several in a good season with lots of bees flying. Swarms are chaotic and bees lose track of which swarm they started in. I would check any swarm for more than one queen and try to bank or nuc any extras.

Extra queen good, laying worker bad.

Hawk
 

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Hawk:

I normally would aggree with that statement, however swarm season is over, and what are the chances of multiple swarms this late in the season? Not so great. This is one swarm, with one queen.

peggjam
 

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It takes queen cells to make a swarm at any time. The fact that swarmm season is over doesn't mean that there is any less chance of there being multiple queens. There could have been a virgin from the same hive, issue with the swarm. I'd keep them as 2 swarms a few days and test with some young brood for the presence of a queen, assuming you can't find her. Then combine.

My 2 cents,

Dickm
 

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I doubt that there are two queens, and at this point it is a mute point anyway. As one hive it could build up enough to get through the winter with maybe just a little feeding in the fall, as two seperate hives they proably would not. I would rather have one strong hive, than two weak ones.

dickm points out that there could be a virgin queen that left with the swarm. While not impossible, it is rather unlikely because when they swarm they depart before any of the queen cells hatch. If this was an afterswarm from a hive that sienero could be more likely, but afterswarms are much smaller than this one is.

peggjam
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I combined the two nuc hives into a medium super. That gave them roughly 7 frames to draw out and use while I wait for my new equipment to arrive.

As I was going through the frames I did find that there was only one queen. Lots of drones in the group! Everything went smoothly and I even got to introduce my high school neighbor into the world of beekeeping.

Thank you all for the information. I guess my next task will be removing that feral hive in a fallen tree North on me. Owner wants to cut it up and burn it. He used to keep bees, but doesn't want to deal with these for now. I have a top bar hive ready for them. I think I will try to tie the brood comb to the top bars.

Happy Beeing! :D
 
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