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Discussion Starter #1
yesterday when I opened up one of my two TBHs that survived my first winter with bees: About four of five completely empty bars of comb, and two or three bars each filled only about 1/4 way with capped honey, left over from the fall. No bees hanging around these combs on the periphery on either end. (I have a center entrance.) I started scratching my head about why there were so few bees. Then I thought that this colony must have swarmed when I was away during the week. (And I have set up lived-in nuc boxes as swarm traps with lemon grass and a little Bee Boost. Maybe they were too close - about 75-100 feet away.) I saw capped drone brood and nectar and several queen cells - one was capped, the other one had larvae and a couple of others - I don't know if they were old hatched out or being worked on. I don't have enough experience to tell. I didn't see eggs or worker brood and I couldn't find the queen.

I have three questions: 1) Does this sound like a post swarm colony to you?

2) I removed the excess bars of empty comb, took one of those 1/3 filled bars of comb with honey and closed up the follower boards. Is this a good move or do you think I ought to leave the empty combs inside?

3) Ought I remove some of the bars with the old fall honey too?

Thanks.
 

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Sound like you have laying workers to me

They will still try raising queens with the eggs that the workers lay but they will not amount to any thing they usally tear them down after a while


Or they could have swarmed and the old queen will leave with the prime swarm and the virgian queen that stayed in the hive something happened to her

but if you see queen cells with larva in them it more than likely the workers are laying them and the bees are trying to rais a queen they will even lay in queen cups
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Velbert, Thanks for you reply. If you had read my entire post, I stated that there were NO eggs - at least I couldn't see any present. An interesting note: A few weeks ago I had to take a bar of eggs from THIS colony to save my other one that was queenless. And both were doing just fine after that.

I don't want to oversimplify, but I'm not alarmed at all - just curious. And I needed expert feedback to get some advice - since I'm a novice.

What I'm asking is: After a colony has swarmed, what does the one left behind look like?? Is it anything like I described?
 

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What I'm asking is: After a colony has swarmed, what does the one left behind look like?? Is it anything like I described?
I don't have a lot of real life experience yet, but I've done extensive reading and most everything says that about half the bees leave when swarming.
 

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If you have a bar with eggs it cant hurt to add it to this hive just in case something happened to the virgin queen. It does sound a bit like a swarmed hive.. I would have to actually see it for myself, I don't have enough experience with this to say for sure from a post.
 

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I would expect to see lots of capped worker brood after a prime swarm leaves.
What's the bee population like in the hive?
 

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Hey Stone

You said there were larvae in a queen cell so if the queen had been present there would have been some worker brood sealed and larva because if the queen cell had larva was under 8 days from egg laid to sealed. being only drone brood presents and if you were to look close were the drone brood in worker cells or bigger drone cells.

When I said you had laying works they would be the only one that could have laid in the cup. unless your queen started laying unfertilized eggs. and if you think a queen laid the egg she could have become just a drone layer. and before you try putting another queen in look close for a queen and get her out.

I found a queen that I had bought to graft from had nothing but drone brood in worker cells not a single worker brood has she ever laid since introduction
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Okay. So if "It doesn't sound like a colony that has just sent out a prime swarm", what does it sound like?. (Go easy on me guys. I'm a novice. Give me a little more info to go on. :) As a science teacher myself, even though I may THINK I'm explaining things clearly, I automatically assume that some of my students won't get it the first time. Maybe it's because I went to fast, or left out some things or failed to clarify - Or assumed that they knew more than they really did.

Thanks.
 

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when bees swarm, do they leave before the virgin queen hatches? is so, maybe they left and the new queen didn't survive her mating flight..if one is still capped, I'd watch it for a while(7 or 8 days i think) and see if a new queen appears...the lack of capped brood would worry me this time of the year....but what do I know?:scratch:
 

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An interesting note: A few weeks ago I had to take a bar of eggs from THIS colony to save my other one that was queenless. And both were doing just fine after that.
Did you move this frame with the bees on it. If so you may have moved the queen with it. The queen cell that is capped is ready to emerge so sit tight for a couple of weeks then check for eggs. The timing seems right.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I just moved the comb with the eggs - no bees.

Thanks for the encouragement about the queen cell. I'm crossing my fingers.
 

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I would put a bar of eggs if you have one in this hive just to make sure, how many bees did you see on the comb in this hive? Where they covering the comb? 1000's? 100's?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Not sure. Didn't go through all the bars.

Arriving at the yard tomorrow. Will see what's transpiring and report back.
 

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Stone,

I think that the one thing that everyone can probably agree on is that if you have capped queen cells (even one), then you should have capped worker brood, as queens emerge before workers and queens are made from worker brood. It's that simple.

If you are correct in saying that there are no worker brood in this hive, then there is a high probability that you have laying workers, no queen, a drone laying (unmated) queen or a combination of these problems, and that any queen cells in the hive came from drone brood and will fail to save the colony from demise. You say you are not concerned at all, but it seems fairly likely that you should be.

Did you ever verify with certainty that the bar you took out of this hive and put in your other hive actually developed into a comb of worker brood & queen cells?

Good luck with this one.

Chris Harvey--Teakwood Organics

www.thewarrestore.com
 

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Here is a photo of one of my top bar hives that swarmed on me a few weeks after getting them hived. The queen almost filled up 6 combs with both worker and drone eggs (combs only about 1/2 the size of what they would be when finished).

This comb shows a queen cell on the right side just below the 1/2 way point on the comb. There are capped drone cells near the queen cell along with empty drone cells. There are no eggs present in any of the cells that are open. I found my hive in this condition about the time the first batch of brood would be hatching out.



There are just enough bees to cover the brood on this comb. A few days later the worker brood stared to hatch out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Stone,

If you are correct in saying that there are no worker brood in this hive, then there is a high probability that you have laying workers, no queen, a drone laying (unmated) queen or a combination of these problems, and that any queen cells in the hive came from drone brood and will fail to save the colony from demise. You say you are not concerned at all, but it seems fairly likely that you should be.

Good luck with this one.

Chris Harvey--Teakwood Organics

www.thewarrestore.com
Chris,

Thanks for your wishes of good luck. I can definitely use them!

By the way, you misquoted me and took my statement out of context. I am most DEFINITELY concerned. It would be impossible NOT to be. At the time I posted, I had very little information to go on, had no knowledge of what exactly was transpiring (the reason for my post to begin with) and was completely unaware of the consequences of the situation that has just been made clear to me by you and others over the past week - on this forum and the Biobees forum. As you know, I'm very much a novice. And the word I used was "alarmed"; I did not use the word "concerned."

I just came in from checking this colony and it is indeed in trouble. There is an enormous drone population and the bees seem listless and without direction. No new comb has been made in a week. From my strongest hive, I transferred to this hive a bar of comb with brood - capped and uncapped (I've been told by others that I could assume that some eggs came along, as well.) - with the adhering bees. I tried my best to make sure I didn't bring the queen along too. This comb even had a few queen cells on it so perhaps this is a good head start. It's wait and see at this point.
 

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There is an enormous drone population
There is still a possibility that the capped queen cell you saw on June 6th was a good one so keep this in the back of your mind when inspecting.
Many times a virgin queen will attract a ton of drones to the hive when she is ready to mate or after returning from a mating flight. The timing is still there. Most of the drones will leave once the queen has finished mating. If the drone population significantly reduces over the next few days I would think there is a possibility you have a queen. It's best to consider all the possibilities so when you do your next few inspections you can relate what you are seeing with what has been posted through out this thread.
 
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