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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We caught our first swarm last Friday (May 14), but are not completely sure if we captured the queen because the swarm was 15 feet up in a tree and we caught them at night. We're beekeeping beginners and don't know what to look for in a swarm hive. Basically we put the swarm of bees into a 10 frame super with waxed foundation frames. We've been feeding them them sugar water daily. Everyday we check the hive from the outside entrance and the bees don't seem to leave the hive. They walk to the feeder, drink from it, and walk back into the hive (we don't see them fly from the hive). We opened and checked the hive this evening (six days after capture) and the bees were clustered between the hive box wall and the outermost frame. There was no signs of comb building. Is this normal? Or does this seem to indicate that there is no queen? We have another established strong hive of bees. Should we take a brood frame from that hive and put it in the new swarm hive to get them started? Any help or suggestions are appreciated.
 

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I would of also expected them to be building comb like crazy. Might have missed the queen? I caught and installed a swarm about the same time as you did, they are building comb, working hard at it. They are now leaving the hive and bringing back pollen, not a great big bunch of them but some. I think most are still building the comb, I have looked but not pulled out any frames yet, trying to give them a couple weeks to get established. Were going to need more help getting your question answered, that swarm was my first and I wanted to share with you what they were doing. Good Luck
 

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I got a 6 lb swarm may 8th and put them on the right side of my TBH and they was drawing comb the next day..may 10th i got called again for a swarm from the same guy and the same tree. I went and it was about 3 lb this time, i put them on the left side and they done the same thing that yours was doing...They would cluster up along the wall and that was it..This went on for a few days until i went out and looked inside and the left side was empty, they was gone. Here they went over and joined the right side and now there is 6 drawn comb now and they are going strong. They fly out of there like an airport during a thanksgiving holiday...hahaha...I say you dont have a queen but since it has only been 6 days, i would keep an eye on them for alittle bit longer before you go buy a queen, just in case there is a queen in there already!
 

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Yes, take a brood frame with good amount of eggs on it and give them. It never hurts. If they queenless then they will make queen cells. If they not queenless then it gives them frame of brood to get going.
 

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I have a swarm hive that was caught about 4 weeks ago and used brood frame with them. This hive was doing just as you described little to no activity. I ordered a queen with 2 day delivery and the same day found what I think is the queen that had hatched out and removed her. The queen arrived yesterday and 2 hours after putting her cage in the hive the hive explode with activity. Now I was advised in chat last night that I may not have given the new queen time to get her act together, and by the time line I was given it is very possible I didn't. I am very new to this so this is my observations no more no less. Good luck
 

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I noticed the same thing in one of my caught swarms -- Just bees without a purpose, listlessly hanging on the box and landing board-- I didn't check for a queen and it is probably likely that they don't have a queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences and info. It sounds like the swarm I got is doing what other folks have observed. This weekend I'm going to have another look-see in the hive and, if nothing is still going on, will add a brood frame from my other established hive to hopefully get things going. My established hive has an Italian queen. The bees in the swarm are much darker in color so I'm guessing they might be Carniolan (which are known to be prone to swarming). Would there be any problem taking a brood frame from my Italian queen hive and putting it in with the other bee type (e.g., Carniolan)? Thanks again.
 
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