Swarms

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Tom Bick 

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Can anyone help me with what may or not be a problem my bees swarmed early this year 15 April and as good precaution I have kept well away my next inspection will be end of next week so what am I to think when I visit the hive to see if everything is ok and notice a swarm near the hive my hive being the only one in the area so I am assuming they must be my bees or are they do they do this from time to time or have I got a bigger problem.
Has anyone got any advice as I am fairly new to bee keeping my 2nd year although I have red a lot but don’t have the experience
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Tom, where do I start!!!

1 If my bees had swarmed, I would have been stright in there to sort out what mess was left. If you have not checked since the main swarm, you might have lost a cast swarm...basicaly you might not have anything left!

2 If you have seen a swarm, grabi it!

3 YES bees will swarm, hence why you need to manage them.

4 I think you might need a local helping hand to guid you through the practicalites of beekeeping.

The poor weather over the past few days might have helped you, but it might also have worked against you.

You need to open up the hive ASAP and read a bit more.

Maybe when you have opened up ask some more questions
 

MJBee 

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Hi Tom,
After your bees swarmed on 15 April did you inspect the hive? If you did you should have found lots of sealed queen cells and should have removed all but the best one, then 3 or 4 days later recheck that there is only 1 cell - then you can leave them alone for 2 weeks to let the queen emerge and hopefully mate.
From your post it looks as if you have left them to their own devices after the swarm. What happens then is the first virgin queen to emerge EITHER kills all her rivals:) or more usually leaves with a smaller "swarm" known as a cast:( unfortunately this can repeat two or three times and you finish up with a very weak colony.
I you left them alone it is too late to take any action as all the cells left behind by the first swarm will have emerged and the colony should eventually settle down with one of the virgin queens, check in a couple of weeks to see are there is any signs of eggs. Good luck.
Regards Mike
Edit: Jimbeekeeper beat me to it by 10 mins
 
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Metamorphosis 

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Hi MJBee

Mike you quote;
If you did you should have found lots of sealed queen cells and should have removed all but the best one, then 3 or 4 days later recheck that there is only 1 cell -
How do you know there is a queen inside a sealed cell?

How do you know that if there is a queen she is not malformed?

What about leaving two queen cells and then you have the option of closing both cells off and when they emerge they will be encased in a protector and then decide which of the two you will keep. It also can provide you with an extra queen.

Thank you.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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What about leaving two queen cells and then you have the option of closing both cells off and when they emerge they will be encased in a protector and then decide which of the two you will keep. It also can provide you with an extra queen.

Thank you.
Is this somthing you do Metamorphis?
 
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Tom Bick 

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Thanks but I did check and left what I thought was the only queen cell in the hive I obviously missed one and I also understood that the first emerging virgin queen destroy the other cells do I check now leave alone as it has being 15 days from the first swarm.
Either way I am not disappointed its an amazing thing to watch and be a part of
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Its good Tom that you are helping to re-stock the local area:svengo:

I would still open up and check
 

Metamorphosis 

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Hi Jim,

Yes I have done that in the past but I raise my own queens using a Jenter kit and by hand grafting. Whilst I am on the subject of grafting I use a glass pipette for transfer of the larvae, I also cut away the top part of the comb to allow easier access to the larvae.
I will try to get a photo of this method.

Yours;
 
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Tom Bick 

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Thanks Jim

I will do that and hope for no more mistakes this season
 

MJBee 

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Hi Metamorphosis,
In answer to your questions:-
I have never found a fully developed sealed queen cell to be empty. I don't believe the bees would go to the trouble of sealing a cell that would not produce a queen.
The short answer is - you don't - luck of the draw, but if you leave two cells as belt and braces it's sods law that the first to emerge will scarper with a cast.
Caging the cells obviously the ideal if you want to be absolutely certain of getting a viable queen, or do as Grizzly did and put the spare cells in the airing cupboard:)
:cheers2: Mike
 

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