Is this a swarm?

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New Bee
May 31, 2009
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North Linconlshire
Hive Type
Number of Hives
The title of the thread might sound odd.... Here's a picture taken from underneath one of my hives. I coulnd't quite understand why the bees weren't flying to their entrance last night and this morning I took a peek.

The origional hive (this one) went queenless about 10 days ago. There were queen cells present so I took the opportunity of splitting the hive into two. The other (new) hive got a couple of frames, including a closed queen cell, and a frame of stores. Had a peek yesterday under the roof and the hive looked quite 'busy'. I was planning on having a proper inspection this afternoon.

I also took a quick peep at the old colony yesterday and things looked a bit quieter than when I last saw them on Monday. I think todays picture should explain things.

Anyway! Any bright ideas on what i should no next? Shake this swarm off into another nuc box? Shake it back into the brood box that it is under? Take the brood box off the brick stands and let them walk back in? What if there's another queen in residence? How long do I get to decide what to do - hours/days!?
Is there any chance that this could be related to a new queen from the colony above it? There were queen cell due to emerge this week. Could the new queen have gone off on a mating flight and missed the entrance back into the hive, thereby landing underneath it instead?
not really many bees under there just shake them back in the brood box.
I think it is a tiny swarm with a Queen.
I collected one a few year ago, the size of a tennis ball.
Best to knock it into a bucket and have a look for the queen.
I would just shake them back in and cross your fingers.
Thanks for the replies, however it's a bit late! I've just shook them into a nuc box and put this next to where I found them. There was a queen in there, I just managed to flick he back into the box as she was crawling out of it as I was putting the lid on. They had built a small comb and filled it with honey (about 2 inches x 2 inches). I have put frames into the box and a slice of fondant to see how they go this week.

Is there any harm in putting these frames back in the brood box as soon as they've drawn them?
What do her wings look like? A virgin queen with a defect in her wings could drop near the hive and a small cluster of bees will collect around her.
Went to have a look tonight, the bees had eaten most of the fondant but they are now sitting in front of the nuc box, again in a small cluster, on the landing board that I took from them yesterday.
I think it is a tiny swarm with a Queen.
I collected one a few year ago, the size of a tennis ball.
Best to knock it into a bucket and have a look for the queen.
I would just shake them back in and cross your fingers.

Ok, following my earlier post I've just been back and knocked them back into the origional brood box (the one they were under as in the picture). As they went back in, I saw the queen and recognised her colour marking (white). I bought this nuc from Thornes earlier this year and white means 06, does anybody know if Thornes follow the colour coding system? I know that there are some queen cells in the hive, so I'll just cross my fingers and hope ;-):confused:
Either they marked her the wrong colour or are just marking them all white, or if it is an 06 queen I would ask for a replacement as they shouldnt be putting a three year old queen in a nuc to sell as she is just about past it.

I would give them a call to clarify the situation about their queen marking policy.

Cheers Chris
Any news? did you ask thornes about the colour marking.
Not forgetting that thornes may not actually produce their own nucs they may buy them in.

Cheers Chris
I understand that Thornes buy in Nucs from beekeepers from local BBKA branches so your nuc could be from anyone.

How much did they sell you a Nuc for ?
I bet they pay about 50% to the seller..
I bought a Queen from Thorne's last year. She wasn't marked at all.

I have to say she is doing fantastically well - 3 supers on the hive, there would've been 4 but when I put the fourth on yesterday, I couldn't lift one of them back up so I brought it home and extracted it. It is way above the others production wise. More expensive than an imported Queen, but so far worth every penny. :grouphug:

I must agree with your statement Frisbee by saying I would buy a uk bred queen any day over an import if available.

Having said that I have never had an imported queen and can only go on what others have told me.
Hmmm - there are plenty of grinding axes over the whole situation, but as a newish beek I cannot compare. And working a lot with cattle where continentals are tops I have no prejudices. I have also bought a continental Queen this year so we shall see.

Was the queen clipped? If she was what you saw has been described by others. The queen swarms but unable to fly falls in the grass. They are usually lost but some make their way back, climb up the hive stand and sit below the varroa floor. While this was going on the rest of the bees would have clustered somewhere and then returned back to the hive, but a small number will remain with the queen.

I guess you could put the old queen in a nuc or hive and just shake in a few more bees from the original hive - they are her bees so there should not be a problem.
It will be intereseting to compare how they both overwinter and start off in the spring Frisbee.

What type of import do you have ?

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