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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
July 5th my hive swarmed. That was the day after I returned from vacation; not exactly the welcome I was hoping for. I just installed a bee package in April The swarm landed 50 feet up a Douglas Fir. We tried in vain to knock them down. They flew off yesterday, so there is no possibility of me getting my queen back (for another hive). I opened the hive 3 days after they swarmed and counted 23 uncapped queen cells located on the edges of the combs. I opened it up again today, July 14th and found all the queen cells empty! But they don't appear to have every been completed. I expected to see capped queen cells. Then a drone with 5 mites on his thorax landed on my thumb. I'm working with a top bar hive. Is there any chance of my hive surviving? Is it worth $$ to buy a queen for a hive that has varroas? Or shall I consider all lost?
 

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not going to cost nothing to see if the new queen gets mated and returns to the hive - give them a couple of weeks then make a decision
 

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Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, the queen that left was the original, mated; and I don't believe she'll be back. I had hopes of catching the swarm and placing it in an empty hive, but that is lost too.
 

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Well, no... I was pretty discouraged with what I saw and didn't bother with the last 4 that I had seen perviously. All but one of them were very small, about 1/4 inch long. The only long one, was about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and had a tapered opening that was darker in color, yet was perfectly round, as in not having the appearance of a queen having chewed her way out. I have a photo of it, but not sure about posting here.
 

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small cell size on queens is not always a bad thing - there using the original worker cell as well - might want to check back in in a couple of weeks - then post and let us know what ya find - if you get a queen then we can address the mite issue
 

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Thank you. I googled "chewed queen cells," and they look just like the larger cell I found. This is good news and gives me hope that I may actually have a queen.

I did look at the other bees that climbed out on the top of the bars and did not see noticeable mites. Are you saying that I can afford to wait a few weeks before addressing the mites?
 

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how many mites did you see on the worker bees? A picture is worth a 1000 words and ez to post - the button is on top of the response box - 4th button from the right - says insert image - when you go over it with the mouse
 

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Is it worth $$ to buy a queen for a hive that has varroas? Or shall I consider all lost?
It sounds to me like you have a virgin queen probably running around in the hive somewhere. It's also possible with that many qc's they could issue afterswarms. Keep your eyes on population. Assuming she is there and gets mated, your mite problems won't likely go away on their own because she won't have the genetics to deal with them. You will either have to treat these mites, let the hive see if they can manage, or requeen with a mite resistant stock. It all hinges on your philosophy.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I did not see any worker bees with mites. I have a picture of them too. I tried uploading the jpg, but got an error: "Not a valid image file." Sorry.
 

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The break in the brood cycle will help with the mites. Not sure what you plan on treating with but if they were in my yard I would treat as soon as new queen begins to lay with oav. If you have no capped brood 1 treatment should do the trick. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If I hadn't seen the swarm leave, I might not have suspected that there was an issue. The hive has been very active since the swarming and even today was also very active. Thanks for the advice on mites. I'll consider my options.
 

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The fact that you had a swarm confirms that you had a capped cell and most likely have a virgin queen running around in the hive. Give it ten days to two weeks and you'll be seeing eggs again.
 

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Well, no... I was pretty discouraged with what I saw and didn't bother with the last 4 that I had seen perviously. All but one of them were very small, about 1/4 inch long. The only long one, was about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and had a tapered opening that was darker in color, yet was perfectly round, as in not having the appearance of a queen having chewed her way out. I have a photo of it, but not sure about posting here.
Could be a falling drone cell. If its long and skinny and looks like it started in a drone or honey cell it's probably not a real queen cell. (See, ask 10 beekeepers and get 12 answers, lol)
 

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I did not see any worker bees with mites. I have a picture of them too. I tried uploading the jpg, but got an error: "Not a valid image file." Sorry.
I would just say it might be close on the timing as you posted 10 days after the one known swarm date and not sure if it was a secondary swarm but, that pic has them chain festooning to build comb or so it appears. They only do that if they are queen right from what I've seen. But many others have seen much more so...:)
 

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Steve - look at the photo above - see the QCs on the side of the comb? Not drone cells

And I've had/seen that in a couple of Langs but not in my TBHs. I actually tend to get very few QC's in my TBH and only once did requeen not take. But I/we in south Florida can/are kinda arrogant about what we get away with with our bees. We don't winterize and there is forage almost year round. It's almost like dog years for beekeeping. They are wearing me out! :)
 

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I hear ya - over here in SE Texas - we don't get much winter as well - I have seen pollen coming in in November, Dec. Jan. and then nectar starts in the end of Feb. Kinda makes it tricky on wintering bees. I have seen where we get a week of above 70's and the middle of January - the bees false start spring buildup - then run out of food - my reason I leave them heavy for winter - sure makes M/U nucs a breeze though
 
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