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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a second year beekeeper. I had two hives overwinter, both in two 10 frame deeps. They both took off like gangbusters this spring. One swarmed May 14 and the other May 16. I caught both and both are doing great. On June 7 I inspected all 4 hives. The old hives have no brood and are packed with nectar. I think it has been long enough there should be a mated queen but I didn't see her. If there is a queen she has nowhere to lay. I had given them new frames with foundation but the have largely ignored it. I'm not sure what to do. Suggestions please.
ks
 

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what you describe sounds normal, Concur on the wait for a few more days.
With out a laying Queen they will not draw comb
they will use the cells for nectar if they can as they do not have brood in them, when the queen starts to lay they will move it out.
when you mess around in the hive you could squish the new or virgin queen.

If in 8 to 10 days you still see no brood in a hive then a recombine can be done with one of the swarm hives.

GG
 

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6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
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3rd year 6a. Another idea- after waiting, if the swarmed hives can spare it, give the old hives a frame of eggs and larvae. If they know they have a queen on the way they will cap it and brood of course will emerge. If they need to make a new queen because the old one didn't return they will make new queen cells. Either way it's a good insurance policy against a laying worker situation. By the way- this waiting time can test a persons patience for sure.

I always follow Gray Goose's advice. Been rescued from calamity at least once.
 

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This is why you need to find the QCs in the swarmed hives and hatch and mate several of them (using small nucs).
Success of a single mating is less than 100% - which is what you are betting on.

If you bet on a single mating success, your queen-less, after-swarm hive *may* fail.
If you mate several queens in parallel, you will always have a mated queen to fall back onto and you don't loose time trying to fix something retroactively.

PS: just wait another week - probably be OK.
 

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3rd year 6a. Another idea- after waiting, if the swarmed hives can spare it, give the old hives a frame of eggs and larvae. If they know they have a queen on the way they will cap it and brood of course will emerge. If they need to make a new queen because the old one didn't return they will make new queen cells. Either way it's a good insurance policy against a laying worker situation. By the way- this waiting time can test a persons patience for sure.

I always follow Gray Goose's advice. Been rescued from calamity at least once.
I would "consider" My advise, I am human after all. :) my only atvantage is to have made most of the mistakes several times, and have the Emphirical data to reuse.
If you have bees you find yourself in calamity at times, Soon you find the way out and remember the trail.

Giving them a frame of the swarms eggs and brood is a good idea, if they start Q cells then you have confirmed the issue, if not then they have a queen.

Greg's idea of splitting the hive post swarm is also good. If the last 2 queens fight to death and simultaneously kill each other, the hive "could" fail to requeen. Does not happen very often 1 in 50 maybe. Bigger issue to avoid the the second and 3rd swarms. I still dislike loosing bees.
With several mated queens one can choose the best 2 or 3 and dispatch the rest. could even re queen the swarms, if you think the older queens are not optimal to over winter.

A good christmas gift from Santa is 3-5 NUCs with tops and bottoms, seems I have use for them a lot, 3 Stacked up can hold a split for a while.

Could try to split the hive with the capped brood and if one fails you may still have a queen from the split. Just be sure to have 1 nice Q cell in each split, cull the smaller ones if you see several. in general 2 q cells in a split works, I have done many with 1. If you fail to get a mated laying Queen just recombine with news paper to a smallish hive and let it go. Not every attempt works. I am fine at 3 of 4 75%, some years less some more.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
With out a laying Queen they will not draw comb
they will use the cells for nectar if they can as they do not have brood in them, when the queen starts to lay they will move it out.

GG
Good to hear they will move nectar for a laying queen. I didn't see much empty and was concerned. Checking to see if it was definitely time to put a frame of eggs in. I saw the smallest larvae I have ever seen in the swarm hives. Thank you all for the responses.
ks
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would "consider" My advise, I am human after all. :) my only atvantage is to have made most of the mistakes several times

Giving them a frame of the swarms eggs and brood is a good idea, if they start Q cells then you have confirmed the issue, if not then they have a queen.

Greg's idea of splitting the hive post swarm is also good....
With several mated queens one can choose the best 2 or 3 and dispatch the rest. could even re queen the swarms, if you think the older queens are not optimal to over winter.
I made mistakes last summer. Started two packages and rolled the queen in one in the middle of June. Bad weather got a drone laying queen and I shook the hive out and put it away. July the other hive swarmed and I split the swarm cells and the bee into the two hives. I have two young, strong laying queens. I was lucky to catch them. I'm much better working the hives than a year ago but I'll keep out for a week.
ks
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This is why you need to find the QCs in the swarmed hives and hatch and mate several of them (using small nucs).

PS: just wait another week - probably be OK.
We were pounded with rain for I don't remember how many days. I was just happy to get the swarms before they drown or left. I've got a nuc and a Dadant support hive painted and ready. I have to get a grip on swarming. I need comb.
ks
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Using May 9th as the day the queen in the first hive laid the egg that became the capped cell on the day the bees swarmed, my queen calendar suggests that June 4th is the first day you should have/could have seen eggs. It has been reported by several people that queen mating has been running slightly behind schedule. That is consistent with my own observations as well. On the day of your inspection, June 7th, you should have seen a small area on one or two of the frames in which the bees had removed the nectar, maybe a circle about two or three inches in diameter. This would be your indication that the bees expect a queen to start laying very soon. See what you have this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
On the day of your inspection, June 7th, you should have seen a small area on one or two of the frames in which the bees had removed the nectar, maybe a circle about two or three inches in diameter. This would be your indication that the bees expect a queen to start laying very soon. See what you have this weekend.
Thank you. Knowing what to look for is a big help. If she was laying a small patch of eggs on the 7th they will be larvae this weekend which I can actually see. I did see the tiniest larvae I've seen last weekend, maybe I'm getting better at knowing what I'm seeing. It didn't hurt it was brand new comb on black foundation.
ks
 

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Thank you. Knowing what to look for is a big help. If she was laying a small patch of eggs on the 7th they will be larvae this weekend which I can actually see. I did see the tiniest larvae I've seen last weekend, maybe I'm getting better at knowing what I'm seeing. It didn't hurt it was brand new comb on black foundation.
ks
KS, the cells are built at a 15 degree angle upwards to disallow the contents to spill. If possible stand with your back to the sun, tilt the comb 15 degrees, to look down into the cell with sunlight, the new small larvae will have some white milky looky jelly in the cells, It somewhat looks wet and whiteish, or wait till the 5-7 day point where the larvae are larger.
We all make mistakes, I squished a nice queen this spring, still trying to re queen that hive, Mistakes happen..

sounds like you are on the right track.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If possible stand with your back to the sun, tilt the comb 15 degrees, to look down into the cell with sunlight...
sounds like you are on the right track.

GG
My biggest problem finding eggs is my 60 year old eyeballs. Getting better at it and always hopeful.
ks
 

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My biggest problem finding eggs is my 60 year old eyeballs. Getting better at it and always hopeful.
ks
I use my readers for inspections. Best wishes as you work this out.
 

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My biggest problem finding eggs is my 60 year old eyeballs. Getting better at it and always hopeful.
ks
lol
mine are 60 years old as well.
Some additional light may help
I seen those glasses on the TV that have a LED on each corner and magnify, I may just get a pair. the veil does not help either.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wait 7 - 10 more days before becoming alarmed.
The first answer was right. The first hive I checked had three frames with about three inch circles of capped brood, big larvae and smaller larvae. I closed it back up. The second hive had two frames with small circles of larvae a little way from being capped. I didn't see very much smaller larvae. One frame had what looked like a supersedure cell, filled with royal jelly but no larvae I could see. I opened the hive for the first swarm I caught and the queen was on the second frame I looked at. I caught her and marked her with a green dot (only paint pen I had) and put the frame she was laying in the previous hive. I actually saw eggs, pretty cool. If they make a queen with them, so be it.
ks
 
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