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Last year was my first year with bees. I was a little nervous and didn't want to bother them too much. A friend of mine hasn't had bees make it through the winter and thought he disturbed them too much so I didn't want to make that mistake.

My bees made it through the winter and seem to be doing great, they swarmed 3 times, I kept two swarms and had to pass the last one along due to not wanting to scare the neighbors.

My original hive consistyed of 2 deeps, and I had planned to have a second hive of 2 deeps as well. I didn't have frames and was totally unprepared for swarming so the first swarm went into 2 mediums. The third and fourth both went into single deepd, its all the equipment I had and was scrambling to find something to put them in.

I checked the original hive last week, opening up the bottom for the first time, there is a lot of what I will call irregular comb, almost like tunnels and ripples on some of the frames. There appears to be quite a bit of honey and some good brood patterns in both deeps. I pulled two outside frames that were loaded with honey, capped and there was still a lot of honey between the two boxes. I didn't see any eggs but there was some larva and an awful lot of bees.

Yesterday I looked at the two other hives and they have almost filled every frame, I have new ones ordered and am expecting them any day now, looking forward to having a good harvest this year.

My questions are how often should I look at a hive? Is the rippled comb normal? What are swarm cells? I am sure there are more, but I don't always know what to ask.

Great Day
 

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My questions are how often should I look at a hive?
I always recommend that a new beekeeper do a thorough inspection every 10-14 days the first year. The only way to learn what's going on in the hive is to get in there and look.

Is the rippled comb normal?
Probably not. Hard to say without a picture.

What are swarm cells?
They are queen cells that look like peanuts and are nearly always built hanging on the bottom of frames. The colony will usually swarm right before the new virgin queen emerges.
 

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[/QUOTE]They are queen cells that look like peanuts and are nearly always built hanging on the bottom of frames. The colony will usually swarm right before the new virgin queen emerges.[/QUOTE]

Saw one of those in Hive B, what do I do now?
 

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They are queen cells that look like peanuts and are nearly always built hanging on the bottom of frames. The colony will usually swarm right before the new virgin queen emerges.
Saw one of those in Hive B, what do I do now?
 

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Saw one of those in Hive B, what do I do now?
I would be surprised if there were only one cell in the hive, especially if it is relatively strong.

The first thing I would do is check the resources of the hive in terms of eggs, open brood, sealed brood, and emerging brood. Then I thoroughly inspect the swarm cell. Has it emerged, is it capped, are there sting marks, etc... Once you have all the information you can then determine what munipulations if any are in order. If you have no eggs and only sealed and emerging brood I would leave the cell alone. If there are eggs, and you also found the queen then I would make another split, but you sound like you have run out of hive bodies, so this may be hard for you to do, lol.
 

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I am getting more bodies tomorrow, and will check for more swarm cells then. I will also take pictures
 

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Saw one of those in Hive B, what do I do now?
Catch that hive B queen, and pull a few frames of brood for a nuc.

I saw a couple almost capped queen cells and about 10 queen cells that had eggs and very young larva in them in one of my hives last weekend. I destroyed all the young queen cells but left the almost capped queen cells. I then found the queen, 28th frame out of a possible 30... I removed her to a nuc with 3 frames from that hive. I've found that once the queen is laying in Q-cells and the hive actually raising them they'll kick off a swarm eventually. I also removed a drone frame from this hive as previously scheduled. I replaced all of the frames with undrawn frames as that's all I had.

By stealing the queen (by their frantic fanning, they could tell she was missing within 5 minutes) and 4 frames of brood (one drone that was not added to the nuc) the hive believes it has already swarmed and the queen cell will be raised as a replacement, not a for a swarm. The first to hatch will (in theory) kill her rival, get mated, and become the new laying queen for that hive in about 3 weeks. This assumes the cell was about 7 days old. There were still a lot of eggs in there so they could raise some additional queens from those fresh eggs but time will tell.

I will be putting that queen (she is 1 1/2 old) and her nuc in my recently finished 5 frame OB Hive this weekend if all goes well.
 

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I'd be tempted to make a split with that swarm cell. I'd want to be real sure the queen is still in the hive though, as I made the split. otherwise I'd leave the swarm cell there, as that queen might be the new monarch in that partciular hive.
Regards,
Steven
 

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so, when bees swarm, the old queen goes with the swarm, and the new queen stays in the hive, gets mated, starts laying....?

by taking the queen cell away, will they still swarm with the old queen,
leaving the new hive queenless?

if you take the queen out, with a few frames of brood and nursery bees, would this make the remaining bees 'think' a swarm had occured? then they would accept the new queen?

when bees swarm, which ones swarm, the workers or the nursery bees?
both?
 

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so, when bees swarm, the old queen goes with the swarm, and the new queen stays in the hive, gets mated, starts laying....?

by taking the queen cell away, will they still swarm with the old queen,
leaving the new hive queenless?

if you take the queen out, with a few frames of brood and nursery bees, would this make the remaining bees 'think' a swarm had occured? then they would accept the new queen?

when bees swarm, which ones swarm, the workers or the nursery bees?
both?
Yes.

If you remove the queen cell soon enough, they'll realize it isn't there, and remain without swarming. If not removed soon enough, they won't miss it, will swarm, and you're now queenless.

Yes, removing queen and frames will constitute an "artificial swarm" and the remaining bees will accept that virgin when she emerges, mates, and returns to lay eggs. The danger is that she won't make it for some reason or other, and you might end up queenless anyway.

Mainly field bees and older house bees. The beauty of hiving a swarm is that they are geared for wax production! A swarm makes beautiful comb quickly. Most nurse bees remain with the parent hive, where the brood is...plus some house and field bees. Up to 60% of the parent hive leaves. Then again, they can throw off several smaller swarms, apparently depending upon the original size of the colony and the number of swarm cells that survive.
Regards,
Steven
 

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One of the main risks you run is that the queen is killed on her mating flight. It does happen on occasion and you've got to be prepaired for that eventuality. That's one of the reasons having some nucs in your back pocket (not literally) is a great thing.

If in doubt after the normal queen time frame of emerging, mating and laying, drop a frame of eggs in there. If they raise the eggs as workers then you know there's a queen in there who may not yet be laying yet. Obviously, if they raise some of those egg to be queens, they're queenless and you can make decisions accordingly. Again, having a nuc to drop in there at this point would be a great back up plan.
 

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I'm gonna make a few nucs asap.....like having spare parts laying around...


thnaks:thumbsup:
 
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