Found a new Queen!

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Joined
Feb 16, 2024
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Location
Northern California
Number of Hives
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So, I've almost made it one year with my single hive of Italian bees! I have a question for the experienced Beeks... I opened my hive this week for the first time since November, and my marked queen was nowhere to be found, and I have a new queen. The last time I spotted the red painted queen, was late August last year, when I did a varroa wash. I never saw any queen cells in the hive. My question is.... will they still swarm in your opinion? I live in US, northern CA. The blossoms are just exploding right now, and my hive is doing great, with one 'Medium Super' with all 10 frames of honey. In the brood box there are eggs, and larvae at varying stages, with pollen, honey, and nectar aplenty. I placed an excluder amd added a second medium super. I'm getting a nuc of bees in April, and I wanted to split this one but I'm not sure if I should, given there are no queen cells, but maybe the girls might still make some soon? I'm so nervous to try splitting, I don't want to make a mistake.
 
I'm getting a nuc of bees in April, and I wanted to split this one but I'm not sure if I should, given there are no queen cells, but maybe the girls might still make some soon?
G'day Bex.
So if I understand correctly, you are looking to have three colonies the first being the original one, the second a new nuc in April and the third one being a split from the original one?
It would have most likely been a supercedure replacement queen. Very easy to miss those cells. Even if you saw the marked queen on your last inspection, the new queen could have been in there too at that time, just not spotted perhaps.
 
So, I've almost made it one year with my single hive of Italian bees! I have a question for the experienced Beeks... I opened my hive this week for the first time since November, and my marked queen was nowhere to be found, and I have a new queen. The last time I spotted the red painted queen, was late August last year, when I did a varroa wash. I never saw any queen cells in the hive. My question is.... will they still swarm in your opinion? I live in US, northern CA. The blossoms are just exploding right now, and my hive is doing great, with one 'Medium Super' with all 10 frames of honey. In the brood box there are eggs, and larvae at varying stages, with pollen, honey, and nectar aplenty. I placed an excluder amd added a second medium super. I'm getting a nuc of bees in April, and I wanted to split this one but I'm not sure if I should, given there are no queen cells, but maybe the girls might still make some soon? I'm so nervous to try splitting, I don't want to make a mistake.
Bees will do what bees do ... if they decide to swarm they will make queen cells. It's no use worrying about it, the only thing you can do is inspect weekly or at least every 10 days and watch for signs of queen cells being made. If it happens then you are lucky - you have the means to make a second colony - basically an artificial swarm (I'm assuming you know how to do this ?). If you don't find queen cells being made you can split the colony and the half without a queen will make queen cells - the simplest is just to do a walk away split but there are other methods such as Demaree which will keep your honey production in place. There is an old adage in beekeeping - you can't make new colonies and still get a honey harvest (not strictly true but it's worth bearing in mind).

JBM's Demaree method is a sticky on here:

https://beekeepingforum.co.uk/threads/demaree.46464/https://beekeepingforum.co.uk/threads/demaree.46464/
 
marked queen was nowhere to be found, and I have a new queen
Check the thorax closely for traces of paint; if there is truly none, she is likely to have been superseded late last year and as this will be her first year, swarming is unlikely.

You can reinforce that outcome by giving plenty of brood space; extra supers will not deter swarming, so add another brood box next time.

To nudge them into the new box and keep the nest compact (in case of a return to cold weather) put a few brood combs with open larvae into the middle of the new top box, condense the remaining brood combs centrally below in the bottom box, and add foundation to fill the flanks of both boxes.

If the queen is laying well, you could wait until summer and split the boxes when both are rammed with brood and bees. If the queen does not lay well it is likely that mating last fall was inadequate, and she will be superseded again.
 
Check the thorax closely for traces of paint; if there is truly none, she is likely to have been superseded late last year and as this will be her first year, swarming is unlikely.

You can reinforce that outcome by giving plenty of brood space; extra supers will not deter swarming, so add another brood box next time.

To nudge them into the new box and keep the nest compact (in case of a return to cold weather) put a few brood combs with open larvae into the middle of the new top box, condense the remaining brood combs centrally below in the bottom box, and add foundation to fill the flanks of both boxes.

If the queen is laying well, you could wait until summer and split the boxes when both are rammed with brood and bees. If the queen does not lay well it is likely that mating last fall was inadequate, and she will be superseded again.
Thank you, that was very informative! I saw no traces of paint at all. The biggest worry to me is her not being mated well because it was possibly late in season. It's difficult to be patient but I need to practice that very thing🤎💛 🐝🤎💛
 
Bees will do what bees do ... if they decide to swarm they will make queen cells. It's no use worrying about it, the only thing you can do is inspect weekly or at least every 10 days and watch for signs of queen cells being made. If it happens then you are lucky - you have the means to make a second colony - basically an artificial swarm (I'm assuming you know how to do this ?). If you don't find queen cells being made you can split the colony and the half without a queen will make queen cells - the simplest is just to do a walk away split but there are other methods such as Demaree which will keep your honey production in place. There is an old adage in beekeeping - you can't make new colonies and still get a honey harvest (not strictly true but it's worth bearing in mind).

JBM's Demaree method is a sticky on here:

https://beekeepingforum.co.uk/threads/demaree.46464/https://beekeepingforum.co.uk/threads/demaree.46464/
Thanks so much! So kind of you to share the link! I appreciate the feedback.
 
Thank you, that was very informative! I saw no traces of paint at all. The biggest worry to me is her not being mated well because it was possibly late in season. It's difficult to be patient but I need to practice that very thing🤎💛 🐝🤎💛
I wouldn't worry too much, what's her brood pattern like?
 
I didn't take photos this time 😏 I was trying to make the observation quick because it was a little chilly. I was very moved by the warmth emanating from the hive though! Next time I'll prop the camera up and take some pics. A selfie stick that I can mount to my work station would be handy when I work the bees!
 
Oh, to be ab;e to get into the hives again .... so cold, windy and wet in Essex, UK. One hive, coincidentally named SWARMY, looks very busy at entrance, even in cold windy weather but daren't open hive just yet. Next Wednesday may be warm enough. Everything crossed to check for swarm cells and just generally see how they're doing. They've taken nearly 3 kilos of Hive Alive fondant since we closed them up and wrapped them in mid December. Whats the chances of swarming in early March? I've heard it can happen.
 
Oh, to be ab;e to get into the hives again .... so cold, windy and wet in Essex, UK. One hive, coincidentally named SWARMY, looks very busy at entrance, even in cold windy weather but daren't open hive just yet. Next Wednesday may be warm enough. Everything crossed to check for swarm cells and just generally see how they're doing. They've taken nearly 3 kilos of Hive Alive fondant since we closed them up and wrapped them in mid December. Whats the chances of swarming in early March? I've heard it can happen.

Too early to worrying about swarming , we have only just ended Feb.
Any opening soon will disrupt the colony and lose any stable heat within the hive, to put any wrongs that you propose right they will us eup more stores to re-establish the stable heat.

Unless the weather changes and remains stable /warm for a week or so and in the mid to high double digit numbers then one should not be tinkering so early, remember even in to May temps will soon cool to possible single digits for most part of the day bar a few hours.
 
Next Wednesday may be warm enough. Everything crossed to check for swarm cells
eh? it's still winter - I've only once ever opened a hive before the end of March, and only last year after the ides - and that certainly wasn't too look for swarm cells
 
Whats the chances of swarming in early March? I've heard it can happen
About 8 years ago we had an unseasonably warm January and several swarms were found in January and March in North London.

That combination of mild winter and very early spring is rare, but it does emphasise the need for beekeepers to be in sync with the seasons and avoid going by the book.
 
As I posted in another thread March average S/E temps are expected to be 11c / 4c day/night . It is still winter and can barely be called spring even if the sun does shine for a few hours.
Sleet /snow is still in the forecast.
 

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