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I captured a swarm on June 2nd, they got to work right away building comb and foraging. I left them alone except for a couple small peeks for cross comb for the first 2 weeks so did not check for eggs or grubs. On weds 6/18 I did an inspection down to bar 8 where I saw some capped brood. This early on I do not feel like disturbing the entire nest.

The question I have is: How much comb does a colony need to build before a queen starts laying?

I would assume they would need some comb on 3-4 bars so they could keep the brood up to temperature and begin storing nectar and pollen. I am trying to determine when the first new workers should emerge.
 

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I captured a swarm on June 2nd, they got to work right away building comb and foraging. I left them alone except for a couple small peeks for cross comb for the first 2 weeks so did not check for eggs or grubs. On weds 6/18 I did an inspection down to bar 8 where I saw some capped brood. This early on I do not feel like disturbing the entire nest.

The question I have is: How much comb does a colony need to build before a queen starts laying?

I would assume they would need some comb on 3-4 bars so they could keep the brood up to temperature and begin storing nectar and pollen. I am trying to determine when the first new workers should emerge.
Our swarm queen started laying in about 36 hours after being transported to our yard. She had laid up the entire piece of comb they'd built in that time, which was about 3"x4" (roughly a deck of cards). So the answer is they don't need much comb. Of course, she was probably already mated and ready to go when we caught them. They have more than six half combs down and she's got them moving right along.

If you have capped brood you can get a rough idea of how long it will be. Freshly capped will be very white and the darker they are the closer they are to popping out. And when they're going to emerge that day or so there's little openings in the capping and you can kind of see through it.

My guess is that you'll be having bees emerge in the next couple of days. But it will only be the earliest laid eggs first, obviously. Worst case would be 6/28 (ten days after you saw them capped).
 

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Sometimes the queen takes a little to ramp back up after a swarm, it varies somewhat. I got a swarm this year and the queen had to start laying around 24 hours after they moved into the box. It seems like she hasn't stopped laying yet. I'm going to split them very soon, I'm waiting until they get more bars of totally capped honey.
 

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Sometimes the queen takes a little to ramp back up after a swarm, it varies somewhat. I got a swarm this year and the queen had to start laying around 24 hours after they moved into the box. It seems like she hasn't stopped laying yet. I'm going to split them very soon, I'm waiting until they get more bars of totally capped honey.
Do you feed a new swarm put into a TBH with nothing but bars period?
If so, how much and how long?

Thanks in advance for your reply.
 

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This swarm flew into a deadout in my yard. There was 5 or 6 bars of comb. I had been using it as my comb bank. I'm glad they landed there, but I was using the comb in my swarm traps. When they first starting drawing out comb they did a pretty good job, but when they got further back they started pulling some of it crossed and I've been fixing it each week. A few weeks ago and I counted 18 bars with brood in them. Only wall to wall in the middle, but a ton of brood.

I feed very little, and I haven't feed those bees at all. They arrived at the beginning of a good flow and have just kept rolling. I've feed some package bees in the past, but swarms come ready to make comb. On of the reason that swarms are docile is that they are full of honey. The problem I have with feeding is robbing. If I could feed and not cause robbing I probably would though, particularly if I could do it when we hit our dearth in July. The advantage of not feeding is that I know all of the honey is honey and not sugar honey. Unless they are robbing someone else's feeders. Last year I had a hive that had red honey (hummingbird feeder!)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Snookie- From all of my reading it seems an early season swarm should be left to their own, a late season swarm may benefit from feeding.

JWCarlson- By doing the math I was expecting new workers to emerge any day now but was not completely sure how soon the queen would start laying.

Thanks
 

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Snookie- From all of my reading it seems an early season swarm should be left to their own, a late season swarm may benefit from feeding.

JWCarlson- By doing the math I was expecting new workers to emerge any day now but was not completely sure how soon the queen would start laying.

Thanks
10-4 Thanks
 

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If the queen ha comb she will lay in it. I will assume that since there was capped brood two weeks after moving in that you have a prime swarm so the queen is ripe and ready to lay (yuck .. sorry about that use of the word ripe). Anyway, workers take 20 days egg to emergence and perhaps another 20 days before they are foraging BUT as they are born and take over nursing duties other bees will be freed up to forage.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
 

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We captured a swarm last Wednesday and they just now started hauling pollen yesterday (Monday). Our other swarms were hauling pollen within two days (both had laying queens right off the bat). I'm thinking this last one may have been a virgin that went out and got mated? They had some comb built when we looked on Sunday but nothing but nectar in it.
 

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Could it have been bringing it in but not in volume? If this was a new hive with no comb maybe there was no room for pollen?
I have very little experience... this is our first year. But when we looked Sunday there was zero pollen in the drawn comb. And no eggs. No pollen observed going into the hive between Wednesday and Sunday, but obviously we are only watching for a brief time.

I have yet to have a hive build comb (except for queen cells) without a queen and have yet to have a hive haul pollen without eggs being laid. The queenless hives and swarm I've dealt with have just spit little globs of wax all over the place, but with no structure to them. I added a bar of brood to anchor the swarm and when I opened it up a few days later they had started several queen cells, spit globs of wax all over, and started haulling pollen. The day after we introduced the mated queen they had started comb on two bars.

They will haul pollen as long as their is brood in any stage (it seems), and they will build comb as long as there is a queen.

The first package we installed sat and did nothing until they got their first queen. Then they drew comb quickly and she began laying and bees began bringing in pollen. Then they went queenless again. Comb building completely stopped, but they have continued to haul pollen as long as their was brood in the hive. I also put a mated queen in this same hive after feeding it eggs and emerging brood to keep it going. I did this on a Thursday evening. Guess what they'd done on Friday evening when I went to check on the queen cage (through observation window)? They'd build another good chunk of comb.

I'm not saying it's a hard and fast rule, but I'd put significant money on their now being eggs in the comb of the hive that we noticed was now hauling pollen yesterday.
 

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Hard to say. I had a queenless swarn bring in pollen for a while. Packed in a lot of nectar and some pollen. I saw the pollen going in so I didn't check them for about 2 weeks. I checked at a week just to see the comb was being pulled straight. At two weeks saw no eggs or brood and gave them a frame of brood and eggs and they made a queen.
 

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Hard to say. I had a queenless swarn bring in pollen for a while. Packed in a lot of nectar and some pollen. I saw the pollen going in so I didn't check them for about 2 weeks. I checked at a week just to see the comb was being pulled straight. At two weeks saw no eggs or brood and gave them a frame of brood and eggs and they made a queen.
Interesting. Like I said, my eight hives (3 packages, 4 swarms, 1 log) don't represent a reasonable sample size.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Went out at lunch and did a full inspection and am mostly pleased with the results. :applause: They are building on bar 14, about 1/3 of the bar is full. Bar 1 & 2 where they began building in the upper corner it looks like the queen is already back filling empty cells I saw grubs in cells with dark walls. This answers my original question, they don't need much comb to get started. Bar 1 is built against the hive wall so it is not moveable at all, I will probably wait till spring to deal with it. Bar 2 had a bit of connecting comb with bar 1 so I trimmed it off (about 4 square inches) and left it in the hive for them to clean up. They are quite the busy little colony. The last 2 bars are empty cells at this point and all the rest have brood/honey/pollen on them. I did not notice any drone comb, all of the brood is in the core of the comb and the edge cells are empty or are being filled with nectar. I did see one area which might be a supercedure cell, tried to get a picture for a closer look tonight on the computer.
 
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