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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello beeks,
Tough beekeeping day for me. I was doing an inspection. Found my queen and accidentally flicked it off the frame. I thought it might have crawled back in to the hive as I coudn't find it. The hive started swarming in a matter of 3 minutes. A large swarm formed right above the hive about 30 feet up in the air This happened at about 10:45am. Not 10 minutes later I could hear a T-storm approaching. It's been pouring rain for about 2 hours now. Forecast says it will keep raining for another 2 hours or so.
I got some footage I will try to attach here.
My question for your collective wisdom:
What should I do next for the remaining colony?
Can I do something for the swarm stuck on a branch in the storm?
Any advice to minimize the damage will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Swarm-Jun8-21.jpg
 

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That sounds a bit...unusual. I don't think there's anything to do about the swarm while the storm is ongoing. If it were me, when the storm is over I would check the hive for swarm cells, just to know if it had been going to swarm regardless.

If there are queen cells in the hive, I would put it back together and leave it be, then capture the swarm and put them in another box, assuming I could reach them.
 

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That sounds a bit...unusual. I don't think there's anything to do about the swarm while the storm is ongoing. If it were me, when the storm is over I would check the hive for swarm cells, just to know if it had been going to swarm regardless.

If there are queen cells in the hive, I would put it back together and leave it be, then capture the swarm and put them in another box, assuming I could reach them.
That's a big swarm
 

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Interestingly enough, yesterday after I finished mowing in the field, around the hives and some of the apple trees, I was in the garage trying to repair a tire that was leaking at the rim/bead (I got blinded by some idiot with super bright headlights and went into a ditch as I was trying to take a corner) and noticed honey bees were buzzing around inside the garage. Huh? There was nothing in the garage that they should be interested in. Oh-oh.

So I went out to take a look around. I had a stack of boxes near the front walkway and there were a lot of bees buzzing around, trying to get in. There were five deeps in the stack, I knew the bottom two were full of honey, but the other three were empty, just frames.

I got a pallet and a bottom board, and set up a hive with just the empty boxes, leaving the honey boxes behind. I wanted to know if they were interested in the honey or not, because there were plenty of blooms they could have been at. Sure enough, they all started going into the empty hive and ignoring the honey boxes.

There must be a swarm hanging somewhere, but I haven't spotted it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interestingly enough, yesterday after I finished mowing in the field, around the hives and some of the apple trees, I was in the garage trying to repair a tire that was leaking at the rim/bead (I got blinded by some idiot with super bright headlights and went into a ditch as I was trying to take a corner) and noticed honey bees were buzzing around inside the garage. Huh? There was nothing in the garage that they should be interested in. Oh-oh.

So I went out to take a look around. I had a stack of boxes near the front walkway and there were a lot of bees buzzing around, trying to get in. There were five deeps in the stack, I knew the bottom two were full of honey, but the other three were empty, just frames.

I got a pallet and a bottom board, and set up a hive with just the empty boxes, leaving the honey boxes behind. I wanted to know if they were interested in the honey or not, because there were plenty of blooms they could have been at. Sure enough, they all started going into the empty hive and ignoring the honey boxes.

There must be a swarm hanging somewhere, but I haven't spotted it.
That's the best kind of swarm catch I've heard of. Mine leave me... I started the Spring with only 2 hives. So far I have seen SEVEN (Yes, 7) swarms leave me. The last two, massive ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The swarm is gone. The trap on top of the garage is empty. I will wait a week or so before checking the left-behind colony to see if they have queen plans.
This is them leaving the hive:
Video of swarm leaving the hive
And this is how the storm looked:
Storm post swarm
The last ditch effort:
63918

Thanks all for your encouragement and guidance.
 

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All that you write suggests that they were about to swarm and when the queen came off the frame you had, it triggered the swarm. I was inspecting a hive once and after finding the first few queen cells, the bees started running around on the frames I looked at and finally I realized there were way too many bees in the air over my head. They started to swarm as I was inspecting. The swarm landed on a fence post 25 ft away and I got them.

Another thing, the bees you saw checking out the the hive boxes were probably bees from the same hive checking out a new location to move to but ultimately chose another location. I have had bees checking and occupying swarm traps only to find a hive of mine ready to swarm. When I split that hive, the swarm trap traffic went away.
 

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I would not wait a week.......
that large of a swarm could have a secondary swarm or maybe you could split the remaing hive to better your chance of getting a queen mated.

GG
 

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I agree, don't wait because of after swarm potential. I meant to write about that but forgot to. You can remove all but maybe 2 of the best looking capped queen cells if you aren't splitting any further. That would help prevent any after swarms. You want to keep the oldest cells for a bit quicker queen. The swarm cells can be laid over the course of a week or more. Keep one of the first ones you find until you go through and determine which ones to keep. Sometimes the bees seem to build them hanging further below the frame and possibly contact the frame below. You can destroy cells just taking a frame out, so I always keep the first ones at least until I secure a couple good cells elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sometimes the bees seem to build them hanging further below the frame and possibly contact the frame below. You can destroy cells just taking a frame out, so I always keep the first ones at least until I secure a couple good cells elsewhere.
Hi Daniel, before I read your post, I inspected the hive today and found about 6 queen cells in a middle frame on the top brood box. There's quite a bit of capped brood in the hive too. Could I ask for clarification on your advice? Would you describe in more detail how you would go about keeping some cells and (destroying?) others? I felt bad at inspection today precisely because I ripped a cell open which had been built between the 2 frames. Large beautiful glistening white larva was squirming in her destroyed cell as bees quickly started pulling it out. All cells are at the bottom of the top frame. The boxes are fairly well populated...

I would not wait a week.......
that large of a swarm could have a secondary swarm or maybe you could split the remaing hive to better your chance of getting a queen mated.

GG
Hey Goose, you seem to be thinking along the same lines. Would you ellaborate for me? Cells were capped but I am fairly sure I heard piping in the hive.
Thanks in advance for the wisdom!
 

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After a colony swarms with the original queen, it sometimes will swarm again, or multiple times, with virgin queens as they emerge. They would not likely swarm again if there were limited virgin queens or queen cells. It's good to tear down extra cells and leave only a couple good ones unless you want to make more splits with the extra cells. I wasn't very clear, but was just warning to make sure you had two good cells found and safe before you tore down any extras. Just like what happened to you, cells can get wrecked taking frames out. When I am removing cells, I pull several frames with cells and place them in a hive box nearby till I assess what I have. I then put the frames back into the hive with the cells I want to keep, making sure they are good and secure before I tear down the others and replace the remaining frames. Hope that makes sense. I don't think I write very clearly sometimes. No book writing in my future.

One issue now is it's been more than a week and you wrote you think you heard a queen piping. There very well could be an emerged queen in there now. I'd still consider tearing down extra cells and then leave it alone for a few weeks. If you find cells that are empty, there would be virgin queens present. Many keepers write that disturbance during emerged new queen and mating time can cause a failure. A very good beekeeping rule is, if you are not sure what to do, do nothing.
 

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if you have a lot of bees and 8 or so queen cells the next one to emerge "could" issue with a swarm again, Often happens, and can even have 3rd and 4th swarm.
So destroy the smaller ones in case they hatch first, often the first to hatch will open the side and sting the other thru the side of the cell. if you wish to not split 3 or 4 cells is enough to leave.

If you had say 10 frames of bees or more AND cells on 2 frames you could split the hive into 2 -5 frame units with at least 1 Queen cell in each 5 frame 1/2. IF all the cells are on one frame then an Exacto knife can be used to carefully cut one nice one off and "attach" it to a frame with out one and still do the split. Cut 1/2 to 3/4 inch of material with the cell, IE stay a safe distance from the cell, to insure you do not nick or squish it. cut a "similar piece from the comb with out a cell and squish the cell into the hole , as long as is does not fall out it will hatch. handle by the comb not the cell. IE the cell is not the handle.

do not shake a frame with cells you wish to use it can damage the developing queen.
A large feather can be used to sweep the bees off if needed to perform the cutting. Also "some same tipping and holding sideways can also damage the undeveloped queen so be as carefull as you can.

if you tore one open and there are others no harm done, if you somehow destroyed them all it could be a problem.

if you do not have a NUC/5 frame box, a 10 frame deep can be used , place the 5 frames in on 1 side and a couple foundations. Ideally you have a 2 deep hive and can make 2 10 frame splits with a cell in each. beyond 3 or 4 cells per split I would cull by size in each split.

GG

give it a try, if only 1 mates and lays successfully, you can always recombine in a month, back to one hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I owe you a debt of gratitude Goose and Daniel! I will split the hive into its 2 brood boxes splitting resources and leaving only about 3 cells per. I really enjoy spending time with the bees so this project gets me excited. I will definitely let you know how things go.
All the best to you 2!

Oscar
 

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Good plan Oscar. The new queens can start laying as early as a week after the queen emerges, or up to 3 weeks or more. Be patient and leave them alone for a couple weeks once they are split. One issue is that all the forager bees from both hives will want to go back to the original location and leave the split that is moved with less resources. I would favor the moved one with more capped brood and even shake some nurse bees off of a couple of brood frames with no queen cells out of the one in the original location and into the one being moved. This adds more nurse bees into the one moved. Nurse bees will stay there.
 

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I owe you a debt of gratitude Goose and Daniel! I will split the hive into its 2 brood boxes splitting resources and leaving only about 3 cells per. I really enjoy spending time with the bees so this project gets me excited. I will definitely let you know how things go.
All the best to you 2!

Oscar
be sure to not leave the original location with only 1 brood box, as the field bees will go back and it could be crowded enough to swarm.
options, add a super, add a second deep,
40% of the bees from the split moved will fly out and go back the "location they remember"
hence the above advice of making the moved split a bit stronger.

enjoy
and I concur leave the splits alone for at least 3 weeks to allow the emerge, mature, mate , and start laying of the queen.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hello chaps! All went well (I think). I left 3 good looking cells in the original place and 4 in the "new" site including 2 emergency cells (the ones hanging from the side). I put the new one right next to the old one and made the executive decision to flip it where the opening is on the other side to hopefully help the new queens orient better after mating. I will be patient and will keep you posted!
64060

Old site is on the right with an excluder and honey super per Dan's recommendation.
 
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