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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,

I inspected my 4th top bar hive Saturday. This is the hive that absconded and had a second package installed. The built well, and the queen had a very good laying pattern. However, during this last inspection, I had no eggs, and only capped brood. Most of the bees are are newly emerged and sill have the nice white hairs on their bodies. I even watched some of them emerge during this inspection.

Although disappointed that I had lost the queen, I was happy to see 4 queen cells that had been capped. The bees seemed to be happy and doing their various jobs.

I took some photos during this inspection and during my examination I found a odd looking newly emerged bee. She is a different color than the rest of her sisters. Any idea why she is almost solid gold in color? I watched other bees emerge and they all had stripes.




This may bee a swarm cell. I found 4 queen cells in the hive. This was the only one on the side. It was located about 1/2 down the comb. The other queen cells are located on the face of the comb at or above the level of this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I have 3 other top bars. 2 are very strong and 1 just seems to be doing ok. The one pictured above was a replacement for a package that absconded. That first package only built a small comb and just up and left. The replacement package has built up very well, but appears to have swarmed. I wasn't able to visit the hive for a couple of weeks due to my work schedule and the weather. I may or may not have caught the hive in the act of swarming if I had been able to check it sooner.

Here are some additional photos from tbh 4.





 

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Swarming has been a problem for my TBHs too (in N. Ill). Even the first year with new packages, they swarmed. Then I went to 48" long TBHs.

This Spring, still had lots of swarms, but I wasn't able to get to them to manage them at all.

Swarming is a big issue with TBHs, so get use to it :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was able to check on the hive today. 3 of the 4 queen cells are now empty. The one pictured above is still intact and sealed. Not sure what happened with the other 3 cells. The bees seemed to be cleaning them out when I observed them.

If I do not see signs of a new queen by the weekend, I will be ordering a new queen. Looks like I might be in luck and have a fairly local source for a replacement. Will know if he has any tomorrow.
 

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If you have a virgin queen in your hive now, as it seems fairly likely that you do, you will need to find and kill her before you introduce a new queen. You will also need to remove the last remaining queen cell if it is still there next time you go in, which it may or may not be.

If you fail to remove any and all queens/queen cells from the hive before you introduce a new queen you will only be causing problems and wasting your time and money. I would just wait another 2 weeks and then re-inspect this hive to see if there are eggs/brood. It seems obvious to me that the bees have things under control. They probably balled the old queen on purpose because they want to make their own, so just let them do that.

Swarm cells almost always hang off the very bottom of the comb and emergency cells are not usually so nice as the one in the pic, so it looks to me that you have a planned supercedure going on.

Good luck with it, whatever you choose, but remember that problems are rarely caused by doing nothing.

Chris Harvey--Teakwood Organics

www.thewarrestore.com
 

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Oh, and one other note....virgin queens are usually very difficult to find. They are fast and very good at running around and hiding on you. That is why I recommended waiting a couple weeks and then checking for eggs/brood.

If you can't find her it doesn't mean she's not there...or she could be off mating when you go in next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I checked on this hive today. Bees seemed to be happy and going out doing their thing. Got down to the last 2 combs checking for the queen. Well, the cell that was on the side of the hive is mostly gone and filled with wax. Looked for a few more seconds and I saw the queen run from the back side of the comb to the side I was looking at. They now have a queen. No eggs that I could see yet, but there is a queen.
 
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