Prime swarm

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I caught a prime swarm 11 days ago and did my first inspection yesterday.
The hive is doing exceptionally well and has drawn out nearly the whole brood box from starter strips and foundation frames 50:50. The queen is laying well eggs and larvae covering 5 frames (of 10 langstroth).
My question is, is it possible the colony could swarm this season if / when she's filled all of the frames with brood and stores or is that unlikely given the time of year?
Also I'm amazed at the amount of propolis in this hive, its plastered in the stuff. Is that a good trait to have in a colony?
 

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possible the colony could swarm this season
Unlikely, as the swarming season is over and bees are working to make winter stores, but keep giving them boxes. As the queen may be older, expect supersedure later this season, or swarming next.

propolis in this hive, its plastered in the stuff. Is that a good trait to have in a colony?
You can collect propolis from frames at the end of the season (make sure to check very closely for contamination from wood, bee leg etc) and sell it. A propolis screen is another inexpensive method - bees fill the holes, you freeze the screen & scrunch it over clean paper. If it comes away in big lumps, freeze it and crush gently in a pestle & mortar.

I put 10 or 25g into little glass jars with aluminium lids, and it sells well, esp. near winter. Was £10/25g last year. Tell customers that propolis is anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-oxidant and anti-viral. Eat raw or make a tincture - overproof white rum or vodka is good.
 
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Unlikely, as the swarming season is over and bees are working to make winter stores, but keep giving them boxes. As the queen may be older, expect supersedure later this season, or swarming next.


You can collect propolis from frames at the end of the season (make sure to check very closely for contamination from wood, bee leg etc) and sell it. A propolis screen is another inexpensive method - bees fill the holes, you freeze the screen & scrunch it over clean paper. If it comes away in big lumps, freeze it and crush gently in a pestle & mortar.

I put 10 or 25g into little glass jars with aluminium lids, and it sells well, esp. near winter. Was £10/25g last year. Tell customers that propolis is anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-oxidant and anti-viral. Eat raw or make a tincture - overproof white rum or vodka is good.
Thank you 😊, that sounds wonderful. Ill keep an eye on them and order a screen asap.
 

Ian123

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I caught a prime swarm 11 days ago and did my first inspection yesterday.
The hive is doing exceptionally well and has drawn out nearly the whole brood box from starter strips and foundation frames 50:50. The queen is laying well eggs and larvae covering 5 frames (of 10 langstroth).
My question is, is it possible the colony could swarm this season if / when she's filled all of the frames with brood and stores or is that unlikely given the time of year?
Also I'm amazed at the amount of propolis in this hive, its plastered in the stuff. Is that a good trait to have in a colony?
Simply put yes it’s possible they can swarm again. If you allow congestion at any point in the main part of the season they can swarm.
 

jenkinsbrynmair

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Here's the full list:
  • The first swarm to leave the hive (and this can be headed by a virgin in some cases so never assume it's headed by a laying queen) is called a Prime swarm
  • the second a cast
  • the third a colt
  • the fourth a filly
  • a swarm emanating from a colony who started as a swarm that season is called a maiden.
Any more swarms than a filly, the naming convention then changes to classing the beekeeper as either clueless or incompetent
 
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Hi, I wasn't sure if I should start a new thread or not, but as my post relates to a prime swarm (well after a prime swarm), it seemed related here, so apologies if I am "hijacking" a thread and please feel free to tell me so if that is the case. I wondered if anyone would mind sharing their thoughts on the following (apologies this is quite long)...

Our hive (two brood boxes and two supers) swarmed on Sunday June 25th this year while we were checking the next door hive. The queen was clipped and we managed to catch the swarm and put them in a nuc. We then went through the hive and found about 50 + Queen Cells. We knocked them down save for one good looking sealed cell which was in a good position and was being fussed over. Our theory is that this was sealed newly and on sealing the prime swarm left. We knew to go back in after a few days and did so, knocking down a further 30+ queen cells. Our chosen queen cell was still present and continued to be fussed over and looking more peanut like. We knocked down everything else. We think we went wrong on going into the hive too early here, as we went in on Tuesday 27th June. Having read up more, it seems to suggest 3 or 4 days to do that inspection and take down cells so I think this is where we went wrong.

Given the prime swarm was issued on 25th June and we assume any Queen Cell sealed that same day, we anticipated our chosen Queen Cell would emerge on either Sunday 2nd July or Monday 3rd July, we were surprised that when we went in to check the hive for weekly inspection on Saturday 1st July to find lots more Queen Cells with content and sealed Queen Cells. Even more surprising was that, and maybe due to our bumbling around, that our chosen Queen Cell was opened. The end was hinged open and worker bees were fussing over it, so we suspect a virgin queen may have emerged at this point. We knocked down all the other queen cells, which may also have been another mistake as potentially we have left this hive Queenless (this may be remedied if so, as we have the original queen in a nuc and we might be able to re-unite if that is the case).

Because we went in early after the swarm on just day 2 did this give the bees the opportunity to make further queen cells and if we had have gone in on day 3 or 4 we would not have found further Queen Cells on our later inspection (other than our chosen one)? I can't quite remember this correctly, but think bees will only be able to do this on anything up to a day 2 larva?

Was our calculation off as to the emergence of the sealed queen cell or is there another reason that she might have emerged early, was it just our bumbling around that caused this?

Just wondered what people's thoughts on this might be and their views? Thank you. Dan.
 

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Your virgin may be fine. All you can do is wait 3 weeks and see.
For future reference if a colony swarms it is best to leave one open cell with a fat larva and plenty of jelly. Go back in 6/7 days to remove all the emergency cells the bees have made. Bees can make queen cells on 3 day old larvae, so that’s day 6 and a queen will continue to lay right up to swarming.
Leave well alone for 3/4 weeks
 

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50 + Queen Cells
further 30+ queen cells
Whatever the re-queening outcome, I'd get rid of those swarmy genetics, perhaps by buying from a good source such as BS, Black Mountain Honey or Denrosa. Try also local queen producer Khalil Attan at bushwoodbees.co.uk.

Where are you in Epping? I keep bees at Copped Hall.
 

jenkinsbrynmair

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I don't understand, whenever someone says a hive has swarmed, that people assume that means the bees have "swarmy genetics".
Surely almost all colonies will swarm (or try to) at some point?
Quite true. We have seen some on here state that just because they have caught a swarm that it must have 'swarmy genetics' whatever that is. It's simply not true. However, you do get the odd line that will swarm at the drop of a hat. I had one colony that invariably, each spring will swarm on a handful of frames of brood, I only kept them as, whenever there were replacement queens available I'd be busy and forget.
One year, however, they went on only three or four frames of brood and unluckily for them I had an early Demaree going on the hive next door, so all the QCs were quickly torn down and a decent QC was transferred from the Demaree
 
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Your virgin may be fine. All you can do is wait 3 weeks and see.
For future reference if a colony swarms it is best to leave one open cell with a fat larva and plenty of jelly. Go back in 6/7 days to remove all the emergency cells the bees have made. Bees can make queen cells on 3 day old larvae, so that’s day 6 and a queen will continue to lay right up to swarming.
Leave well alone for 3/4 weeks
Thanks very much for the recommendation and advice there. We were contemplating whether a sealed cell or open one would be best. We Went for the latter, but will bear that in mind next time. Thanks again.
 
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Whatever the re-queening outcome, I'd get rid of those swarmy genetics, perhaps by buying from a good source such as BS, Black Mountain Honey or Denrosa. Try also local queen producer Khalil Attan at bushwoodbees.co.uk.

Where are you in Epping? I keep bees at Copped Hall.
Not far from Copped Hall! Just down by the High Road on the way into Epping. Actually, our Queen is from Khalil! 😃 This is the first time they have swarmed. We were not quick enough with space provision, although we had two brood boxes, foundation hadn't been drawn so essentially no usable space.
 

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Thanks very much for the recommendation and advice there. We were contemplating whether a sealed cell or open one would be best. We Went for the latter, but will bear that in mind next time. Thanks again.
At least with an open cell you know when she will emerge
 

ericbeaumont

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assume that means the bees have "swarmy genetics".
Ten, twenty? Routine and acceptable, but I'd say 80 QCs was swarmy and driven by genetics. Most I've worked on was a colony that produced 251 in 2 weeks.

These oddball colonies produce not only too many QCs, but also hard work.
 

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