AS advice needed

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House Bee
May 8, 2009
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Southampton Hampshire
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I have a colony in the garden and they are in a commercial brood box with 8 frames of brood,a few weeks ago i put another box above in case they needed room for expansion but this is being filled with nectar,it also has two partially filled supers on.
Its quite a strong colony and has started to produce swarm cells, about eight last week, these were all cut out as i didnt have the equipment ready to do an AS.
Yesterday i went through the hive to find the queen and to do the AS but despite going through the hive three times i still couldnt find her,She is a 2009 queen and marked green and was easy to find before the bees built up.
There were five queen cells built with jelly in and one almost ready to be capped so i missed it last time.
I gave up looking after three times through the hive as the bees were begining to resent my interference and i was becoming frustrated with the whole exercise.
I knocked out all the cells and am sure i didnt miss any this time as i removed all the bees from all the frames in my quest for the queen.
Im sure the queen is still present as there are eggs.
I have read somewhere that a colony can be divided temporarily and the part with the queen can be identified by the behaviour of the bees but i cant find it.
Any ideas?

Poly Hive

Queen Bee
Dec 4, 2008
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Scottish Borders
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12 and 18 Nucs

finding the queen.

Seriously check the frames you are leaving out the box for the queen. Move the brood box away from the home site by some 50 yds.

Pair up the combs so you have three pairs with a good two inches between comb to comb and hive wall to comb.

Go away. Take 20. Literally twenty mins.

If she is there she will be on one of 6 faces of comb. Why?

She hates the light and will be in between one of the three pairs.

Not my idea I just pass it on.


Tom Bick

Is that a slip of the keypad ph 50yds seems a long distance even for a strong lad as yourself


Queen Bee
Jul 15, 2009
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so i missed it last time.

Not necessarily. When you say a week, you mean seven days? The bees could be away in about 4 if they use a 3 day old larva for the cell. Depends really on the form of the cell - away from the comb and hanging down or from the face of the comb (just an extended worker cell).

She will not normally go before the first cell is capped.....but.....and cutting out swarm cells and waiting a whole week is risky, to say the least.

I have read somewhere that a colony can be divided temporarily and the part with the queen can be identified by the behaviour of the bees

A colony split into two parts should quickly demonstrate the queenless/queenright halves. But that is without the complication of queen cells being around the frames and would be of no help if she has departed.

You could separate into halves, each with eggs/young brood. The queenless section would very quickly build emergency cells, but again, if in swarm mode that could happen in the queenright side too, even though weakened! And if she has gone...well...

Sorry to say, but now you have the experience, you will have that kit ready and waiting next time. If you were anticipating increase or simply A/S to re-queen you now know it is easier to get supercedure cells built (by separating the brood) and doing the A/S in your time rather than playing 'catch-up' with swarming bees! This last para. is particularly aimed at new beeks who may fall into the same trap!

Regards, RAB

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