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Discussion Starter #1
I had taking queens out of 7 production hives on the 5/23 .
Well one swarmed with a virgin queen :scratch: I didn't know they did that. Last year I took queens out of 10 hives and not a one swarmed so I figured I make it part of my SPM . But this year so far I have had 2 swarms with virgin queens .
One must of had 2 queens and absconded 2 times and then I put the queen in a cage and still all the bee's left and returned to the mother hive so I'm guessing 2 queens.
And then my queen castle swarmed to day there 40 foot up a black walnut hoping they go to where I store my boxes.
Any way do virgin queens give off pheromones? And why are the virgin queens swarming they didn't act like this last year.
Thank you .
 

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If your production hives were already into swarm preparation...then yes, they could sure swarm with a virgin or with multiple virgins. The time frame for swarming and swarm preps must be slightly different this year that what you had last year. It is certainly the case in my area...
Virgin queens don't give off too much pheromones into the first few days of their life. But then it picks up as they get around one week of age and as they harden. Clearly not as "attractive" as a mated queen...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ya but what about the queen castle why would they swarm out of that?
 

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Oh yea, I've collected many swarms that had virgins for the queen. I've collected them that had more than one virgin queen, and I've collected them that had an old mated queen and a virgin queen. Some hives will multiple swarm with after swarms until there is no viable colony left in place. I often wonder the postings in the forums that say cut down split since you move the queen away they think they've already swarmed so they won't swarm. Yea right, picture 12 swarm cells left behind in a packed hive...

As for your castle, did they swarm or did they abscond? That's such a small amount, hard to see them just swarm, even if packed, I'd think they would abscond. But hey, sometimes bees just like to swarm.
 

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I did cut down splits, removed all their cells, and gave them my cells. It worked but I don't know if I will do it again next year.
A queen right medium powered hive seemed to behave better than those without. I'm really at the beginning and having too many options :D. I can't tell if it's better or not. Could be a good benefit regarding varroa but I really cannot jump into conclusions until Autumn.
I also caught my first swarm with a virgin in it... still not mated.
 

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I've often wondered if bees can "forecast" the upcoming season. Some years they swarm like crazy, & others - not. All conditions (on my end) pretty much the same, I've seen 8 hives in the back yard throw any where from none to 30 swarms. 'Also speculated that the "vacuum" in nature - devastation of feral colonies - may have provided more opportunity as colonies/swarms perceive an advantage (?) - my highest swarm year was right after the peak of CCD (in the news).
 
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