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Think I am queenless

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Bo66y 

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bee-smilliebee-smillie

Have one national hive all doing well until 10 days ago.
They swarmed and I managed to catch the swarm. Put them in
the travel nuke box I got original Nuke in. Put a hole in the roof and attached a feeder covered with a bucket to keep the weather out.
on inspection I cannot find a queen eggs or lava in both the hive or the nuke.
Should I requeen both ?
I am more concered about the original hive as all the brood has hatched and no sign of eggs or a queen

Can anyone advise the best course of action.

Thanks in advance
 

plumberman 

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Hi Bo66y

Have you joined a local association? - this sort of situation is where having someone local that can mentor you can be invaluable.

Onto your problem

Original hive - Old queen will have left with swarm leaving behind queen cell(s). Virgin will have hatched by now, and will be in the process of maturing/mating. It can take 3 weeks or so from hatching until she starts to lay, so it is very possible/probable that there is a virgin queen present. Patience required here.

Your nuc- how sure are you that you got the prime swarm - i.e the first swarm with the original mated queen? You may have caught a cast - a secondary swarm with one of the virgins that will have hatched out from your original hive. If this is the case, you are in the same boat as your original - she needs to mate and start to come into lay, and this again takes time.

Correct checking for queenlessness needs a frame with eggs/larvae. If the hive is genuinely without a queen, they will produce emergency queencells on this. Introduce a queen where there is already some sort of queen, and your investment will be killed outright.
 

Bo66y 

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Thanks
The hive has about 6 to7 frames full of bees
the nuke has about 3 to 4 frames full
By deduction it looks like most of the bees
The swarm was about the size of a Mellon
But cannot be sure if it was the prime swarm
I am a member of the NBKA and will try t get some
advice from them.
Your correct I need to give it more time
Must remember the first rule in the Hitchhikers guide
"Don't Panic"
 

Cazza 

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Hi Bo66y
Depending on the size of your melons (I'm thinking Galia), it's probably not a prime swarm as it sounds too small, large watermelon sized, possibly.
(No smut intended!)
Cazza
 

oliver90owner 

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I am more concered about the original hive as all the brood has hatched and no sign of eggs or a queen

Fairly evident, when one applies some basic maths to the basic honey bee life cycle, that this was most likely a cast.

How often do you inspect? Less than weekly, I suspect.

RAB
 

victor meldrew 

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bee-smilliebee-smillie

Have one national hive all doing well until 10 days ago.
They swarmed and I managed to catch the swarm. Put them in
the travel nuke box I got original Nuke in. Put a hole in the roof and attached a feeder covered with a bucket to keep the weather out.
on inspection I cannot find a queen eggs or lava in both the hive or the nuke.
Should I requeen both ?
I am more concered about the original hive as all the brood has hatched and no sign of eggs or a queen

Can anyone advise the best course of action.

Thanks in advance
Read this ,it may give you a clue as to what's happening

Help, my bees swarmed & there is no brood!
This is one of the most frequent problems for new beekeepers. What is happening?
• If a full colony swarms it is quite normal for the successor queen not to come into lay for 5 to 6
weeks.
• If beekeepers get worried about it and interfere too much they can kill any new queen
and be in more trouble!.
To solve it happening again the beekeeper needs to learn about Swarm control. (Another
project)
What is happening.
• Old queen gone with swarm
• 7 days later, cast goes - sometimes unobserved.
• They may cast twice!
• So, the successor queen may not have hatched until 10 days after the colony swarmed.
• No problem to the bees but it is to the beekeeper!
• It is normal for the new queen in such conditions, not to come into lay until there is NO BROOD
present.
• It is taught that a queen should come into lay in 4 weeks, but it is not emphasised that that can
be in the 6th week after the swarm has gone. (4 weeks plus 10 days)!
• As a trainer what you have to look for is are the cells in the centre of the brood nest
POLISHED? If they are , the queen is there..
• If not - try a test comb (eggs and larvae for them to raise cells on).
• Organising a test comb from a selected stock is perhaps the best thing to do in these
circumstances. It will either prompt the queen to come into lay or be the safest way of
solving the problem,
• though of course if the beekeeper has killed the queen by looking for her too hard, they
just have to learn not to do it again.
• Putting a cell in is a safe second alternative.
DON'T
• put a 'new' queen in! She will almost certainly be killed.
• The daughter queen is probably there, but they are difficult to spot, (being nubile and small as
her ovaries are not yet fully developed).
• The first eggs of a new queen are not the easiest thing to see, so the queen can have been in
lay for a week before beginners can see them. (All the more reason for people to learn to look at
brood and eggs with their reading glasses on and in good light).
• A large colony that has swarmed, can count on getting 30,000 emerging bees to nurse the next
lot. No problem, they swarmed because they could afford to split. Time is not of the essence to
them.
Nucleus
• With 3 to 5 comb nucs a different set of rules apply.
• They are small, they cannot expect 30,000 bees to emerge, so they must get the queen
mated and in lay ASAP.
• The queen can be in lay in a week after hatching!
• Now why didn't we take a nuc out with a queen cell as part of the aftermath of
swarming?
Ian McLean NDB

John Wilkinson
 

Bo66y 

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Thanks all, that is most helpful.

I had checked both the hive and the brood box (with swarm) yesterday and the centre of the brood area did have polished cells in both the hive and the brood box.
I will wait and see how things progress. Leave them for a couple of weeks.
By the way I am feeding the swarm in the brood box. Should I also feed the hive in this situation ?

Bob
 

oliver90owner 

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Should I also feed the hive in this situation ?

6 or 7 frames of bees? No larvae to feed? They should be bringing in excess nectar lke it was going out of fashion! And for a week yet as there are no eggs present and small larvae wll not consume so much.

You should have noted the amount of stores, in the brood area, at your inspections. Act on that information. Are there any supers fitted?

I doubt they need feeding.

RAB
 

Bo66y 

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You are both correct , there is loads of stores in the hive all necter and honey
There is a super fitted they had started to draw it out just before the swarm.
Now it is no further on. I think half my problem was their reluctance to cross the queen excluder. I removed it for three days in June to get them to start working in the super.

I will stop the feeding

Thanks again everyone for your help

I thought bee keeping would be a relaxing passtime !!!

Still I love it .
I am now going to make my own hive from scratch

Cheers Bob
 

admin 

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I thought bee keeping would be a relaxing passtime !!!
It is very relaxing,once you get it tune with the bees and learn to work with them.

Bee books can teach you lots,but the bee's will teach you more..
 

Hombre 

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I thought bee keeping would be a relaxing passtime !!!

Still I love it .
I am now going to make my own hive from scratch

Cheers Bob
Can I recommend a more traditional approach and the use of a timber such as . . . I have heard that this scratch stuff isn't really up to the job . . . :) Enjoy.
 

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