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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost 2 weeks ago I found a swarm about 40 feet from my 3 hives. I assumed it was from one of my hives. It was way too high to capture unfortunately.

Yesterday I went trough a 2 deep hive that I had overwintered. There were lots of bees and they were fairly gentle but I found absolutely no brood or larvae. Did a very quick look for eggs and didn't see any.

If this hive is the one that swarmed, there should be brood shouldn't it? I've worked a queenless hive before and heard them "roar" but it didn't happen yesterday.

What's going on?

Thanks!!
 

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I usually dont look too hard for brood before 2 weeks after emergence. Sometimes it takes a while for a new queen to get organized and small patches of eggs are easy to miss. One time I did spot eggs 8 days after a new queen emerged.

You could put in a frame with eggs and just hatched larvae and see if they start cells. That will tell whether they have a queen or not.
 

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Did you see any queen cells? If not, you have a problem. If the swarm you captured was less than 2 weeks ago and came from your hive, the capped queen cells should still be present.
 

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Did you see any queen cells? If not, you have a problem. If the swarm you captured was less than 2 weeks ago and came from your hive, the capped queen cells should still be present.
Not necessarily. The colony doesn't ordinarily leave the hive before the queen cells are capped. And then they may remain for a period of time depending on the weather. I've seen swarms leave a hive within hours of the new queens emerging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I did not see a queen cell but I did see some queen cups that were not capped.

Wouldn't there still be some brood or larvae present if they had swarmed less than 2 weeks ago?
 

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No evidence of a queen or brood in any stage, combined with the absence of the queenless roar and good temper, would make me guess that there is a virgin in the colony. There should be eggs/young larvae 21 to 28 days after the swarm. The recommendation about giving the frame of eggs/larvae is sound advice.
 

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I did not see a queen cell but I did see some queen cups that were not capped.

Wouldn't there still be some brood or larvae present if they had swarmed less than 2 weeks ago?
I agree. I would think there would be larvae or capped worker cells present. For a hive not have brood of any kind this time of year tells me something is very wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I actually did consider giving them a frame of eggs/larvae, but it was getting late and I had about had it with bees for the day.

I'll do that today if the rain will hold off.

Thanks for the advice everyone! I'm trying to get better at this.
 

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I dont know how long before swarm issues that a queen is put on a diet to get in flying shape. That is one unknown. Weather can delay swarm issuing. That is another unknown. How long after emerging until successful mating and return to hive, and commence laying is more unknowns. Put them all together and you certainly could have no brood left in the hive before a new queen starts laying.

The frame of brood with viable eggs is the acid test.
 
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