Should I be worried?

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New Bee
Apr 13, 2009
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SE London
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Hi everyone, with the sun out today I thought I would do my first inspection of the swarm that was housed last Wednesday Evening.
There has been a lot of activity around the hive over the last week and they have been taking down a lot of feed and also bringing back pollen etc.
The swarm was very large so when I housed it I added a QX and a super of foundation to give more room etc (feel this may be a novice mistake and welcome feedback on that).
The foundation in the super have been drawn out in the first 7 frames from the entrance with 3 untouched. There was quite a bit of bridge comb between 2 or 3 frames (not sure why as i am using castellated spacers).
All frames that had been drawn out were full of stores (unsealed). No pollen just liquid etc.
There were a lot of Bees in here, possibly more than in the Brood Box.

In the Brood Box 5 frames are virtually all drawn out and 5 are untouched. Again they seemed to be full of unsealed liquid stores.
There were a couple of uncapped Drone Cells, but no sealed brood and to my newbie eyes no evidence of Eggs or Larvae.
It could just be my inexperience here, but slightly concerned etc at no obvious activity of Queen.
Also saw very little evidence of all the pollen brought in and just a few dotted cells with dark looking material at the bottom, which may be pollen but i have only seen bright yellow pollen coming in.
They were pretty calm with only a very few buzzing me etc.

Any ideas?
I will also call a more experienced member of my local club (Bromley Beekeepers) to come and have a look for me if they have time etc.
Many thanks in advance.
Have you seen the Queen ?

Do you have another hive to take a frame of eggs from ? if not can you beg one of your association members for a test frame, stick it in and see if they draw QC.
I used to be a bit keen to say if you cant see a queen then the hive is queenless, best way to get confirmation is with a test frame, get one from your buddy.

There could be one there, but for one reason or another she isnt laying, pop the frame in, and you will have an answer in 4-5 days.
The swarm a week ago? - It is not time yeat find brood if it is a virgin queen. It takes normaly 10 days from emerging to start - if weathers are good. But what do you do with excluder if the hive has no eggs.

Let the queen first do mating flight and start laying before you put an excluder. Bee consume pollen for wax making.

Foundations drawing seems normal what they do in one week.

Calm is a good sing. If they are queenless, they woud fan on combs and be nervous.
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The swarm a week ago? - It is not time yeat find brood if it is a virgin queen. It takes normaly 10 days from emerging to start - if weathers are good.

Adding to Finman's post, if there is a virgin queen in there which seems likely the best thing you can do is leave it alone and don't disturb the colony for 2 weeks. If you happen to open the colony when the queen is out on a mating flight she may not find her way back in due to the strange presence of a beekeeper standing over the hive.

I wouldn't have put the super on but you might as well leave it in place now rather than disturb the colony. The bees tend to work upwards and may be reluctant to draw the outer frames in the brood box. Wait till the queen starts laying and then you can rearrange the frames if the outside ones are not drawn.
I'm off to see Nick and his bees this evening and would like to firm up the advise above.
Jon, I can see that leaving them alone might be the best thing but after two week would there be a healthy amount bees to still raise a queen?
He says there are drone cells, maybe laying workers, and black/dark bits at the bottom of cells. Could this be stonebrood? At bit of a leap I know but just to put my mind at rest would stonebrood happen in a new hive? If not any other thoughts on what it might be.

What I want to do is put Nick's mind at ease and let them get on with it. I can get a test frame for him just unsure of the timing of it.


Panic over:cheers2:

Mike came over this Evening and very generously gave up his time to set my mind at ease.

after examining the brood box with no sign of laying or HM, we thought we would have a quick gander at the super and lo and behold, there she is !!!!
she must have got up there when i added the QX and super that first evening the swarm arrived.
3 Q Cells were being made in the brood box as she could not get back down there etc and they maybe could not sense her.
QX has been removed and i will now work off a brood and a half.

Will leave them for another week and then report back any progress etc.
Many thanks to you all and particuarly to Mike for his patience and generosity.

No, this was the second inspection of the day and it was getting late. The cells were well advanced, one looked ready to be closed, but with the queen up top they did not have any eggs to work with. I advised Nick to get rid of them when he opens the hive next week. Do you think he should do it sooner?

The dark cells were pollen not stonebrood, without brood there can't stonebrood...still don't know if it can happen in a new hive, maybe some day I'll learn....

Nice calm bees and very black queen, it would be good to see them build up and for Nick to get them thou the year.

Sorry,you gave the impression they were making new queens in the brood box,if they are empty/play cups I would leave them.
They were barely formed and empty.
do you think I should destroy?

Those are not queen cells, they are queen cups if there is nothing in them and they appear all the time. Don't worry about it. remove them if you think they have been laid in.

I also found a queen in the super a few weeks back and I removed a brood frame and set her back down below on the frame she was on as I did not want to go to brood and a half.

At least you have the problem solved.