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Discussion Starter #1
IMG_0766.jpg IMG_0767.jpg IMG_0772.jpg IMG_0771.jpg

I hope the images attached. I have an unusually high incidence of drone bees (oh oh!), but also no eggs to note. I THINK my bees have swarmed recently, as their numbers seem to have dropped suddenly. I saw a newborn worker chewing her way out of her cell- so some of those sparse cells must be workers. I'm just scratching my head as to what is going on! Why do I have so many drones and almost no brood!?

Here are my two options and why I'm confused:

Option 1
We in an interregnum and waiting for the new queen to get fertilized from her mating flight- then why are there so many drones!? Do the drones get left behind when swarming? Why is there almost no brood left over?


Option 2
We have laying workers. Then where are the drone cells/eggs? I only checked the first 6 frames, but the back frames are all honeycomb. Will workers lay on the back combs mostly (topbar hive)? And why would I find a worker chewing her way out?

One last point- I see two swarm queen cells at the bottom of two frames: they're capped and everything but I don't know how this colony could possibly swarm right now. Is there a way to check if they're full?

Thanks for the help!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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If you think the hive has recently swarmed, then the pictures would be about right for what you would expect to find. The remaining workers are emerging, day 21, and there is no brood. You did not see an open queen cell but I would bet there is one. Figure the queen emerged around four to five days ago and start the three week countdown from there. You should check back into the hive around the July 4th weekend and look for eggs. Until then, best to leave them alone. Your pictures did not show any capped drone brood, just a normal amount of drones for a healthy hive. My gut instinct tells me you are ok for now.
 

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Thinking just a swarm. Photo 1 &2 have something in the bottom of cells, but too fuzzy. Pollen or larva? If larva are they healthy looking? Not seeing LW eggs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hm. So what bout all the drones? Theres probably 1 drone for every 5 or 6 workers. Do only workers swarm alongside the queen? Also, I had thought that the old queen leaves when the new queen hatches- shouldn't the princesses be hatched already?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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The old queen generally leaves with the swarm around the time the queen cell is capped. That would be day eight. Takes another eight days for the new queen to emerge, and another five days for the last of the worker brood.

A healthy hive going into swarm prep can be about 20% drones. Very few drones will leave with a swarm.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The old queen generally leaves with the swarm around the time the queen cell is capped. That would be day eight. Takes another eight days for the new queen to emerge, and another five days for the last of the worker brood.

A healthy hive going into swarm prep can be about 20% drones. Very few drones will leave with a swarm.
You're the best! So how long should I wait to check for eggs to be sure? Three weeks, about? Also, there's nearly no capped worker brood left, need I be worried?
 

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Keep in mind that the queen greatly reduces laying to make flying weight so there will be a smaller amount of brood than usual by the time they swarm. As JW said,leave it alone until July 4th,then check for eggs. J
 

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Also - most people (Yours Truly included) have always assumed that roughly 50% of the colony's bees leave when swarming - but apparently it's far more than that: around 75%. (Juliana Rangel, "The Behavioural Ecology of Swarming" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgRXu-N2VLA )

So - if only 25% of bees are left, and few drones joined the swarm - no wonder there now appears to be such a high concentration of drones !
LJ
 

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Google queen rearing calendar. There are a number of online calendars. Play with the starting date until you see something that aligns with a date or with a hive condition that you know. They usually swarm about the time queen cells are capped, so if you know when they swarmed then adjust until the cell capped date matches. Or estimated an emerge date and play with the start date until it matches. Then the calendar will give you a general idea to withing a couple of days on when mating flights will be and when you should start seeing eggs and when you should start seeing brood.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you guys, so much! Y'all are the very best- it's a wonderful thing to give your time and patience to an amateur beekeeper <3
 
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