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New swarm- advice needed please

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Emily 

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Hello all,

We are new to beekeeping and have recently aquired a swarm (20,000 bees approx), after one week they have drawn out the comb on 4 frames on one side of the brood box (none in the middle), so we have tried moving the box 'warm way' as have read that this can encourage them to work the middle. Also we have noticed that they are producing queen cells (uncapped on Sunday) but can't see the queen, does it mean that she is there? or are they panicing and trying to make a new queen? Should we remove the cells and look again for the queen? Would you recommend that 'warm way' is good (frames horizontal to entrance)

Any help/advice would be MUCH appreciated :gnorsi:
 

Polyanwood 

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I think cold way or warm way doesn't matter much. They will draw the comb they need. You can feed them syrup which might help. You could buy a couple of dummy boards so there is only one undrawn frame on each side then the dummy board to give them less area to keep the right temperature.

Most important thing is whether you have a queen.
 

plumberman 

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I think you need to supply a bit more information:

did you see eggs/larvae in the drawn out comb?

The queen cells that you say are present- are you referring simply to the wax shape of an early queen cell, or is there something in the cups - royal jelly ( a whitish jelly) and a larva?
 

Emily 

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Hi, I am referring the wax shape of an early queen cell, but bees were going into them, is this less to worry about/ do I still need to remove them?

Some of the normal cells have been capped over but I could not see any distinct eggs or larvae, however as I mentioned this was only after a week of putting them in the hive.

I am going to check again on Saturday so is there any pointers you suggest I should definitely try to look for?

Thankyou so much for your advice it's very helpful
 

Rosti 

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Emily welcome to the forum, focus on the question that Plumberman has asked, this is the key point and tells you if they are 'play' cups or there is something else happening that you then need to manage
The queen cells that you say are present- are you referring simply to the wax shape of an early queen cell, or is there something in the cups - royal jelly ( a whitish jelly) and a larva?
 

plumberman 

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When you do your Saturday inspection ( although I would probably do it sooner, weather permitting) check exactly what is in these cells.

If there is nothing ( even if bees going in and out), then they are almost certainly what Rosti has described as play cells - a normal feature of brood comb that bees build. If this is the case, then, assuming you see normal eggs and larvae in worker cells, you need do nothing.

If these cells are occupied then you need to do something. If this is the case then I would guess that your queen has been lost sometime between starting to lay and the present, or the bees sense that she is not right and are attempting to supercede her. Chances are these are emergency queen cells that the workers have created from ordinary worker cells by flooding with royal jelly and extending to a larger size.

You need to be careful not to go mad destroying these cells as you could deny your bees the chance to resolve whatever is wrong. What I would suggest you do is report back to us your findings - even better take a picture of what you see!

HTH

Roddy
 

Mike a 

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Welcome to the forums Emily

Did the queen cells look like these in the middle of the frame





Or are they towards the outer edges of the frame?

As suggested already a picture of the cells would help us advise you.
 

Poly Hive 

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A picture unless of the INSIDE will tell you zero.

If there is an egg panic not. If there is a grub then AS the colony.

PH
 

Emily 

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Ok I will check the hive thursday- weather permetting and will take a photo of it and post here (if you wouldn't mind checking back then I would be very grateful), it's really nice to have this forum- very reassuring, I hope to be able to help others soon :)

Interesting that they make play cells, I had never heard of this before.

I will report back soon!
 

Emily 

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Pictures

Hi everyone,

I checked the hive and took some photos, two of the cells have been capped and in the other one is larvae. There is also brood larvae. My instinct tells me that they are so small (only on 3 frames) so should know not to swarm. They might be superceeding their old queen. I still can't see her, I looked very hard yesterday and no sign.

Anyway here's the photos;







Please let me know what you think :)
 

Finman 

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Hello all,

We are new to beekeeping and have recently aquired a swarm (20,000 bees approx), after one week they have drawn out the comb on 4 frames on one side of the brood box (none in the middle), so we have tried moving the box 'warm way' as have read that this can encourage them to work the middle. :
Without exception the swarm starts in one side and never in the middle.
It is natural and why to change it.

:
Also we have noticed that they are producing queen cells (uncapped on Sunday) but can't see the queen,:
It is usual too that after swarming bees start to replace an old queen.
If you see eggs, the queen is there.



:
does it mean that she is there? or are they panicing and trying to make a new queen? Should we remove the cells and look again for the queen? Would you recommend that 'warm way' is good (frames horizontal to entrance):
Warm way or cold way means nothing practical.

If you have 20 000 bees in a swarm, bees should occupye all frames in the langstroth hive. That size of swarm is able to draw the whole box of foundations in a week.
 

Mike a 

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Maybe just me but I'm not seeing the pictures just the broken link icons.
 

plumberman 

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Emily - can you try reposting the pictures? - perhaps try a different format (.jpeg seems to work fairly well)
 

Emily 

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Okay, here's the images again, I have uploaded them differently so I hope it works.

My hive is a national, not langstroth so i'm not sure if drawing out all the frames in a week is the same.

It is interesting that swarms start from the edge of the frames, I will leave the box how it is with regards to warm/cold way so thank's for the advice on that.

I do agree that they are trying to replace the queen, as I suppose that's a sensible thing for the colony to do, so i'm veering towards just leaving them to do what they know best with regards to that.

They do look healthy and are a very good temprement, there is lots of brood and honey.

Let me know what yor opinion is about the queen cells (pictured) and whether I should just leave them or some tips on what is good to keep an eye out for at this stage, they would be much appreciated,

Emily
 

Poly Hive 

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Certainly looks as if they are replacing the queen.

Very small colony as it is and going to get smaller I'm afraid.

I would dummy them up to the four frames they are on with a frame feeder and feed them to. Huge space they have for such a little lot.

Also consider some insulation above the crown board?

PH
 

Emily 

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Ok, well I am feeding them sugar syrup anyway, by getting smaller do you mean you think they will swarm or just die from working and not be replaced quickly enough?

What do you mean hivemaker by drone laying queen or laying workers?

So should I leave the cells? Apart from putting dummy boards in im not sure what to do, is the situation bad?

Thanks
 

Hivemaker. 

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Is all the brood that they have irregular,like bumpy and raised cappings like in the picture?
 

mbc 

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looks more like 8-10 thousand bees than 20000 and by the look of the brood and the queen cells their doomed without a new queen or some decent eggs to raiser a queen with - sorry but thats how I see it
 

Emily 

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not all the brood is bumpy like in the picture, there are uncapped brood cells which contain larvae.

The swarm when collected was 20000 strong. I guess that's why they are making a new queen to avoid being 'doomed'
 

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