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Erichalfbee 

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I did an AS on june 25th and to cut a long inept bad beekeeping story short I obviously missed queen cells in the old hive. They swarmed this morning as I watched. There may be some good news though. I cut two balls of bees out of the neighbouring trees and each is now in a cardboard box. Another clump remains entwined round a small hazel tree trunk so I have put a nuc box with frames sprayed with lemongrass oil next to it.
How do I know if I managed to get the queen? There surely couldn't have been three!! Did I box them too soon, would they have come together if I left them.
God, I feel such a useless wally. I KNEW something was up yesterday. There were a lot of bees in the air.
Any advice on how to proceed? I have a nuc box and a top bar hive empty.
My mentor is not reachable.
I looked in the old hive and there are a sparse three frames of bees and I caught sight of a skinny queen running about quickly on the top. I nudged her gently back in between the frames and closed up.
 
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Midland Beek 

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There surely couldn't have been three!!
I am assuming these are three separate second swarms each containing a virgin queen. Perhaps they all came out after a rainy couple of days and when the queens were locked inside their cells.
 

beesrus 

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Hi,
I did almost exactly the same as you - AS'd on the 24th June and on the 9th July they swarmed. We lightly sprayed the bees with water from a hose pipe and they went quietly back into the hive. I actually found my Queen (virgin) at the entrance to the hive so encouraged her back in. Once she was back home the swarm followed. If you have 2 clumps they are unlikely to stay where they are if the Queen is not present and they will sometimes clump together without the queen but will try and get back to her eventually. You should keep an eye on the clumps today and see what they do the queen scent should get them all back in one place.

Your old queen in the original hive is still viable?

What has happened here is there is a Queen about to emerge (or has emerged) in your swarm hive what I did at the weekend was open the swarm hive, check for QC's or Queens and remove them, I didn't destroy all of them just in case but put them somewhere safe. I have now split the swarm hive into a nuc box with a capped QC and some bees and taken them away. The swarmed hive now has a virgin queen and most of the original bees and without any other queens or QC's should stay put...

If you cannot take a nuc box away +3miles then i would suggest getting into your hive and removing any QC's and Queens but i would keep hold of at least one capped QC just in case. Hopefully all your bees will return home and you can put this little incident (like me) into your beginners mistakes book.

Should you not get them back into the original swarm hive but into your nuc i would leave alone and recombine once your queen is mated. The swarm hive will have a capped QC or Queen running around so that should be ok too.

Please note this response is based on my own experience and i am not in a position of authority on bee keeping so if anyone else responds with more tenure please take their advice into account.

Good luck

BeesRus
 

Erichalfbee 

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Aaaarghhhh
The swarmed hive has no brood and a skinny queen running around.I looked today after the swarm had left.
I checked the frame with my supposed ONLY queen cell yesterday and it had hatched and my calculations indicated that happened on 5th July.

I have the swarmed bees in two separate boxes. One is quiet and the other is not.
I am going to have to unite all three at some stage for them to survive. Do I put the two little swarms in separate hives?

Why have I had such a baptism Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr
 

beesrus 

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Well if nothing else at least we are contributing to the stock levels of all the existing bee keepers around our areas. I have lost 2 prime swarms this year (1st year) so i am not happy about it, certainly wont be making the same mistakes again but i do still have 1 strong colony, 3 nucs and 2 weaker hives that i will be combining over the next few weeks, not to mention the 90lbs of honey.

I would say leave your skinny queen alone, i thought i had a small queen it turns out she was mated and laying in 3 days remarkable really, she is doing really well so don't fret about it. I would say that the non-quiet box is the one without the queen put them close by each other and they may sort themselves out. At dusk this evening or early tomorrow (weather permitting) empty the box out on a sheet in front of your nuc box and let them find there way in i have seen this done on a video by my mentor it works and is great to watch. Alternatively just empty the box of bees into the nuc and put the lid on (to be safe).

You could always over winter your nuc (i am going to insulate my 3 through the worst of it) then you can either re-stock or sell you nuc in the spring.

Good luck

BeesRus
 
T

Tom Bick 

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When you did the As and you may well have left one queen cell the problem is they started to make more once you closed the hive.

Next time after the AS and leaving one good ideally open cell in the hive you recheck four days later for new QC and remove the new ones. Its often a good insurance to put a frame with a QC on into a nuc box as a sort of insurance but as you have the original queen in the 2nd hive not always necessary.


Did you check the hive for remaining cells you may still get more casts
 

Erichalfbee 

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Ah well, Tom............. AS on 25th june when I found two capped QC and miraculously the old queen. There was one early uncapped QC with a larva in. Moved the old queen and closed up to think about it. Sought advice here and went back in on 28th. Destroyed the capped cells leaving the uncapped one I had seen earlier which was now capped. Really looked hard for any more that day and again on 2nd July where I found one more, duly scratched out. That was 8 days after the AS. There must have been more. My ineptitude. My beautiful assistant ( hubby Stan) and I looked and looked for more.
Oh well am paying the price now but gaining experience.
I don't suppose you have a nice nuc box I can pick up on Saturday? I have put half the swarm in Fragile planet nuc box (I'm sure the queen is there as bees have been fanning the entrance) and will empty the other box outside it tonight.
There is still a cluster of bees in the tree but if they are queenless I hope they'll go home.
Phew........... At least the hens are OK
 

Heather 

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Don't want to worry you (but it will) . I have seen bees fanning when no queen present- I still don't understand why they do it!!
I think I would have put all clusters in one Nuc box and let them sort it out- You will end up with too many small non-viable little colonies if you aren't careful
 
T

Tom Bick 

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Ah well, Tom............. AS on 25th june when I found two capped QC and miraculously the old queen. There was one early uncapped QC with a larva in. Moved the old queen and closed up to think about it. Sought advice here and went back in on 28th. Destroyed the capped cells leaving the uncapped one I had seen earlier which was now capped. Really looked hard for any more that day and again on 2nd July where I found one more, duly scratched out. That was 8 days after the AS. There must have been more. My ineptitude. My beautiful assistant ( hubby Stan) and I looked and looked for more.
Oh well am paying the price now but gaining experience.
I don't suppose you have a nice nuc box I can pick up on Saturday? I have put half the swarm in Fragile planet nuc box (I'm sure the queen is there as bees have been fanning the entrance) and will empty the other box outside it tonight.
There is still a cluster of bees in the tree but if they are queenless I hope they'll go home.
Phew........... At least the hens are OK
I dont think you did nothing wrong you responded and removed the queen just be for a swarm.

You then removed all but the best open cell on the 28 June and rechecked a few days later on the 2 July for new ones

The cell you left to my calculations would have emerged on the 5-6 July perhaps now she is on mating flights or just finishing them?

This year other people have been posting about swarms leaving the hive and then returning. They may be bees escorting the virgin queens from the hive?

The timing up to today is 17 days from when you removed the queen and points to wards eggs at that time as you checked the hive on the 2 July and found no new queen cells points to things been ok but and its a big but if your bees have been sneaky and they can they perhaps started queen cells from 3 day old eggs or even young larva that will have been on the 28-29 June and 3 days later on the 2nd July when you check for the final time perhaps not so obvious and as recognisable as the one big queen cell you had originally left in the hive.

I think you have been a bit unlucky and you have crafty bees at least you have your original queen and have had a great time once it is all sorted out.

I will pm you over the hive if you still need it or two the way you are going lol
 

Erichalfbee 

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Thanks Tom. That's life I guess.
Heather, I shook one lot into the nuc box about half an hour after catching them and the bees from the second cardboard box flew and walked in when I opened it in front of the nuc this evening. It was quite frightening. They were roaring like a train but piled into the nuc box no bother!
Should I put a bit of queen excluder over the entrance for a day?
 

Erichalfbee 

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Also. Do I have to take them away some distance or can I return them to the apiary, facing a different direction from the original hive?
 

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