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was wide frames now queenless

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peteinwilts 

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further to the thread about wide combs, I am pretty sure I have no queen

I searched the frames and could not see her, but could also see no eggs.

However, there does appear to be what I believe is a sealed supercedure cell a third of the way up the frame (some articles suggest positioning of the cell is important, other says it is rubbish :confused:)
The same frame also has what I believe is 3 unsealed queen cells at the bottom of the frame.

Other observations (not sure what is relevant yet!)...

Very little bee movement outside the hive. A landing maybe every 20 seconds.

No or little pollen collection. I noticed this a few days ago, but as it was only a 5 frame nuc in a very different environment (came from a city and moved to the country), I gave them same bakers fondant. (not sure if it was a good idea... it felt right at the time) A couple of hundred were tucking in this evening.

No interest in the new foundation frames.. only about a dozen bees exploring.

no eggs

quite a lot of sealed drone cells

quite a lot of stores half filled with liquid (uncapped)

This time tonight, I have left the super and queen cells alone. My two questions are...

Am I doing the right thing leaving the supercedure and queen cells alone?

Should I prepare and bait a hive in case there is a swarm? If so, any advice for preparations would be great.


Stress!! I thought beekeeping would be relaxing! (although I am learning a lot, very fast!). I went to the library near my work today. It was closed. :(
 

Polyanwood 

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Hello Peteinwilts,

Do you think you might have already had a swarm? Sealed queen cells and no eggs makes it likely. Most people would destroy all but one of the queen cells, or if you have a nuc, put one in the nuc with some bees as insurance and leave one in the hive.

I was feeling pleased with myself about swarm control and since then have had one swarm and 2 casts I wasn't expecting!!

Polyan
 

shonabee 

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Hi Pete, I don't have any advice, really, other than that I know exactly how you feel re: the stress! :cheers2:
I've one colony and this is my first year too...my plan is to try and get a second colony going ASAP.... should make life easier - and less stressful!
Do you have larvae and capped brood (other than the drone)?
 

peteinwilts 

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Hello Peteinwilts,

Do you think you might have already had a swarm? Sealed queen cells and no eggs makes it likely. Most people would destroy all but one of the queen cells, or if you have a nuc, put one in the nuc with some bees as insurance and leave one in the hive.

I was feeling pleased with myself about swarm control and since then have had one swarm and 2 casts I wasn't expecting!!

Polyan
I am pretty sure if they have swarmed, it must have been before I got them. I would say I have the same amount of bees as when I picked them up on Sunday.
All I can do is deal with what I have (and they are lovely and extremely gentle... ideal for a newbie!)

I have two hives (+ a spare brood) and a carrying box (which I designed around a 5 frame NUC so can be converted). Only one hive is occupied.

The superceeding cell is on the same frame as the three open queen cells. If they seal, should I remove and graft one or more queen cell onto another frame and split the few bees I have already? (and feed as much as they can manage!)... they were on a 5 frame NUC only 5 days ago so are only a small population.

Should this surpress swarming?
 

Baggyone 

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I have gone through the same thing. New queen went in weds, eggs today.

I can see why you need to have more than one hive. Thats priority number 1 if I can get my hands on a juicy swarm.
 

jon 

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All the observations you made in your first post suggest that the hive has just swarmed in the last day or two.
It can't have swarmed more than 8 days ago as you don't have hatched queen cells.
There are still open queen cells which suggests that it swarmed relatively recently.
If it had swarmed before you got it i don't think you would have open cells at this stage unless they made some emergency cells as well.
For me the big indicator is lack of flying bees at the fromt of the hive. A hive only looks like this for a day or two after swarming until new foragers orientate.

leave 1 cell, probably the one that looks like a supersedure cell would be best.
If you like, check in a week to see if there is a hole in the bottom where a queen emerged.
Don't look for the queen or disturb the box with an inspection, just check that the cell hatched.
The next part is the hard part. Just leave the box for at least 2 weeks, longer if the weather is bad. Don't look in or check anything while the queen is waiting to take her mating flights.
They will probably have no interest in the super at the moment due to the lack of foragers.

PS
I just read your second post on the thread and saw that this was a 5 frame nuc.
Don't try and split it. I would just remove the open cells. If the sealed cell opens before they are sealed you could lose another cast swarm and be left with very few bees.
You don't need a super on until the brood box is bunged with brood and bees.
 
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peteinwilts 

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I probably don't have hatched queen cells because when I collected them the old owner squished them on Sunday. On Tuesday I inspected them to make sure they were settling in. I also squished 4 uncapped queen cells as the old owner suggested I should do whilst they are settling into their new home.

I am pretty convinced the same amount of bees are present as when I brought them home. If they did swarm not many left home.

The main concern I have now is swarm prevention for when the superceeding queen hatches. I am happy to run with percentages but not sure if I should go for a belt and braces approach and prepare for a possible swarm as I have enough spare kit to do so.

If it is with setting up another hive (baited), how far away should it be set?? I have seen articles suggesting a few feet to a few hundred yards.
Do swarms tend to fly in a particular direction or aim for particular landscaped features? I have read about hanging a stocking with rags in to simulate a swarm hanging from a tree to use as an attractant. Is this an old wives tale?

they have an open front at the moment. As there are not many defenders, should I reduce the front and then just leave them alone for a couple of weeks, or don't worry about the front and just leave them anyway?
 

jon 

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Was your queen clipped? if so she would have fallen somewhere and all the bees would have returned. That would also coincide with your observations re. bee numbers apart from the lack of activity at the entrance.
With the benefit of hindsight, when you get a colony determined to swarm, you can remove the queen on a frame and put her in a nuc. Let the colony raise a new queen and then recombine or continue with 2 colonies.

I did an artificial swarm on one of mine on 20th April and left the queen with the flying bees and the supers. every time I checked at weekly intervals I found more queen cells. After a month of this I removed the queen and used her to requeen the queenless part of another artificial swarm. Cutting out queen cells will not work in the long run as you always miss one eventually.
 

peteinwilts 

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I never saw the queen. With hindsight when I picked up the NUC last Sunday I should have insisted that I saw her.

I hope this should be a lesson to enthusastic newbies that I have paid the price for.

... they are lovely bees though
 

jon 

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Did you get the bees from a mate or could someone have sold you a nuc with a queen cell and no queen made up from a hive which had just swarmed?
 

peteinwilts 

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Did you get the bees from a mate or could someone have sold you a nuc with a queen cell and no queen made up from a hive which had just swarmed?
the latter i think :(
 

Eyeman 

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One capped queen cell and 3 other uncapped cells in a single frame looks like swarm cells or emergencey cells. The problem you have is not knowing what is inside the one capped queen cell- it could be empty or contain a poorly developed queen from an old larvae !
If one of the uncapped queen cells has a nice juicy larva floating on a bed of royal jelly I would choose that queen cell to keep and remove all the remaining cells.
As jon says you can take a peek a few days after the expected emergence of the queen cell then after that your then need to leave them alone and keep your fingers crossed.
 

peteinwilts 

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bit of an update

I did not check for the queen... I just left them well alone. I have not been near them or opened them for a very long 12 days now.

I had a distant peek at the hive yesterday. They are now foraging with a bee hitting the landing strip every 4 or 5 seconds.
I imagine the 'was' small colony is even smaller due to the death rate and the population not increasing due to no queen. The fact that they are foraging MUST be a good sign!!?! (they were not before)

The last time I looked was 12 days ago and there was a sealed superceding cell (good or not). When do we think it will be safe to have a look??.. should I just leave them be for another week to be on the safe side??

Cheers
Pete
 

Baggyone 

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Is there pollen going in? As soon as I made my hive queenright then pollen being collected went through the roof. Not a sure fire sign but it was a good one.
 

peteinwilts 

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had a quick look today...

The bees are foraging and quite active outside and around the hive. They are just generally more active.

No sign of eggs yet and did not hunt seriously for a queen. The superceeding cell was empty and the other original queen cells were demolished.

No real sign of frames being drawn.

No sign of eggs (only had a quick look!), but reading on lifecycles this may not happen for up to three weeks after emerging (?) :(

My main observation is probably about a third of all bees are drones which I guess would be a bad thing as they are taking valuable resources.

Should I feed to save on collection? If so, what sort of food should I feed??
Also should I dispose of some of the drones when (hopefully!) I see eggs??

Cheers
Pete
 

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