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I may be looking for a virgin...

543 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  crab414
I've recently read Mysteries Of Bee Keeping Explained, by Moses Quinby. He talked about the queen piping before they swarmed and I believe he said that they would pip 24 hours before swarming.
Two weeks ago when I cought my first swarm of the year I started listening every night. No piping until tonight and it sounds like I've got two different pipers 馃 I'm so glad I've got nucs, and spare hives ready to go. Tomorrow was the day I planned on adding supers and doing inspections anyways.
Now I will see if piping can be a reliable indicator of swarming. Has anyone had experience in these matters? Am I chasing fools gold? What say you?
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I checked the hives around 7 tonight. I was setting swarm traps all afternoon. I had stayed after dark and they were still sounding off.
I have heard piping in a mating nuc with an emerged virgin, couple days old, and a queen cell or 2. I think the virgins pipe. So... if true, the hive already swarmed, and has multiple queen cells, and possibly today released afterswarms.

Should be pretty obvious if this theory is correct; you'll see some capped QCs, a few open but not torn from the side.
I think you're right. The swarm I cought two Sundays ago came from that hive. I was able to hear the piping again this morning. I made four splits from it and left the virgins and the field force in place.
Afterwards I was able to still hear piping and now we have two to three days of rain coming.....If they don't get bred I'll just recombine them with the prime swarm.
On another hive inspection, it was a small swarm cought in July, they are superceding that queen. I left four cells and took one for another split. This hive has been struggling all spring, hopefully I'll end up with a better queen. I'm going to listen every night for piping and see if there's a pattern I can pick up on.
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