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The NUC that was installed in my backyard swarmed yesterday. They have only been installed for 30 days (May 15) and only have the 5 frames they came with, plus they have partially drawn out some comb on a couple of other frames, so they occupied fully or partially only 6 frames, with the 2 frames on the sides void of drawn out comb.

When I looked in the hive yesterday, there is capped brood, pollen, capped honey and uncapped honey. No eggs that I could see or larvae, and only 1 queen cell with a larvae in it. I did not find any mites or SHB's or any other bee disease's that I know about or might recognize. They are partially shaded and near water and a lot of open fields within a 1/4 mile.

Any idea why they would swarm? Any recommendations? Should I re-queen and kill off the one uncapped queen cell?

I did capture the swarm, as they flew only about 20’ from the hive. I have them in a 10 frame hive body with new frames in them and a feeder with sugar water. I had a bottom board but need to buy an inner cover and out cover.

I am a newbee Beek, with most of my beekeeping experience from my high school years when I was a swarm catcher for a beek in Torrance, CA

Thanks
Art
 

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Swarming is what an established hive wants to do in the spring - even a small one. It's hard to say exactly what you could have done to prevent it in any particular instance, but it's gonna happen sometimes no matter what. As you get more experience and resources - like drawn comb - you will probably be better equipped to manage it, but it will still happen. You might not like it, but you can live with it.

The main thing now is to make sure the hive re queens. It's hard to do anything except let nature take it's course for a few weeks because there is probably a virgin queen running around that is probably hard to find. As long as there is a queen - even one that is not laying - they will not accept a new queen no matter how much you spend on it.

Take good care of the swarm and it will give you what you need to be proactive.

If you can't find eggs or young brood in 3 weeks - with a little luck you will - give them a frame with eggs on it once a week until you do see evidence of a laying queen - or until you determine that they are queenless by the evidence that they build new queen cells on the brood frames you give them. In that case you can let them raise a queen from those cells if they look good or tear them down and buy a new queen. I would choose door number 2 because too much time passes for a second try, and SHB take over here in the south.

Don't worry about weakening the swarm hive by taking brood from it. It is way way more important to get the other hive queenright. And you can always pay it back when they are both healthy.

Good luck.
 

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Same thing happened to myself. New nuc installed early May, swarmed on Fathers Day, but I didn't catch them though I tried. It was pretty impressive when the swarm got tired of me trying to get them in a nuc box 20' up a ladder and flew off across the fields. I had them in 2 deeps and had added a medium on top one week earlier. They hadn't touched the medium and the first frame i pulled on the 2nd deep had open queen cells so I closed it up. Decided to wait 2 weeks before I look in again. Hope I'm doing right.
 

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P.S. I didn't feed at all and didn't see any queen cells on my last inspection 1 week earlier but they had filled both deeps 90% when I put on the super. I'm also new to this, 2nd yr, both packages last yr didn't make it through the winter
 

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I have a April 5th package from Walters that was aboslutely determined to swarm. They had two deeps with room, and two mediums, one almost full of honey. I split them after an aborted swarm attempt returned to the hive. After I split them they swarmed twice, and I only caught one swarm. My established hives were fine, with only one swarm. With all my efforts this package was going to do it anyway. I am not all that experienced, but with a great flow this Spring, the bees are more motivated to split themselves.
 
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