opinion please?

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Queen Bee
Dec 7, 2008
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Newick, East Sussex
Hive Type
Number of Hives
I have a strong colony. Wall to wall brood. Lovely to handle. Not a queen cell in sight- So I thought - all was well.
Next inspection-yes- was 12 days later- I know I left it a little late.
No eggs, loads of 3 day old brood- so she was fine then- but 3 lovely capped queen cells- not emergency ones.
Queen was fine- laying well - why 3 new queen cells, which they had started a while ago whilst all was well- and she has disappeared- I am pretty sure not swarmed, hive still big.
Did they know in advance that she was going - how, why- any ideas???
Could be they have started to trim her down ready to swarm thus no new eggs for the last few days and she is able to frame hop or jumped on to the hive wood work to evade you during the inspection in her new leaner form.

Have you started an artificial swarm method?
Queens slimmed down ready to swarm will appear and behave differently as the bees shoo her away from damaging the swarm cells and shes far less likely to be found in the middle of a brood comb than when shes in full lay. If you 're sure she hasnt gone, ( off with a swarm )then it may be worth really making sure you havent missed her during your inspection.
She may be thin and flighty, the bees may hide her and shes unlikely to be where you usually expect to find her - maybe a good time to offer a prayer to the gods of beekeeping before you open up !
I found this useful and interesting. Thanks
On a related topic ... do queens thinned down in preparation for swarming fatten up again if prevented by conducting an artificial swarm?

I found a much skinnier queen (than at previous inspection) on Sunday in a hive containing one sealed and two open QC's, and about 9 frames of brood. I presume that the terrible weather we had on Saturday might have prevented her from leaving.

She's now a lot less cramped and has acres of new comb to work with :) I'll check how fat she is next w/e.


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