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KTB Hive Swarmed

 
Ryan Kal
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I just noticed that one of my hives swarmed and is hanging on a branch near its hive. I partially inspected the hive and there are still a good number of bees in the hive, but I didn't notice any queen cells. Would the queen swarm without leaving a queen cell behind? It also seems odd for the time of year. But I am new, so...

I would like to keep the swarm, but I don't have the time right now to build a hive for it. I am thinking (if I can be sure that there are queen cells in the hive) of letting it go wild and perhaps start rebuilding the population of feral bees. Thoughts?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Ryan
 
David Livingston
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The fact that there are many bees still in the hive implies that there are queen cells still in the hive . Is this the first time this hive has swarmed ? How old is the hive ?
and where are you ?
Having a good local population of ferals means you might get some yourself some day

David
 
Ryan Kal
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I did a little more searching in the hive, but I have taken a fairly hands off approach and some of the combs have a section that bridges to another top bar, and I don't want to go ripping through their hive. I saw some pollen going in, so I think that, in combination with your comment regarding a fair number of bees in the hive, means there should be some queen cells. If not, oh well.

The hive is only two months old, they have been productive though and have built around 20 combs. This is the first swarm. I am in Maryland. I am a little concerned due to the timing, but the bees are on a 40 acre horse farm with A LOT of clover and a good selection of other flowers. So maybe they will be able to stock up in time for winter.

One unrelated note, I used triangular guides on my top bars and they worked fairly well, but I think, in the future, I am going to save some of the wax and put small strips of it on the triangular guide to help prevent any misaligned combs.

Thanks,

Ryan
 
Patrick Mann
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Ryan Kal wrote:One unrelated note, I used triangular guides on my top bars and they worked fairly well, but I think, in the future, I am going to save some of the wax and put small strips of it on the triangular guide to help prevent any misaligned combs.


I doubt that waxing your comb guides will make any difference. I've found that the best way to make them build straight comb is by placing an empty bar in between 2 straight combs. When I see them starting a new comb at the end of the hive, I move it in one position so it's behind an existing straight comb. It's a bit more manipulation at first, but once you have a fair number of straight combs you can be pretty hands off again.
 
Ryan Kal
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Thanks for the tip Patrick. Ill have to try that on my next hive.

What should I look out for over the next few days, in regards to whether or not my hive has a queen? I would like to avoid having the remaining bees vacate the hive if there is no queen.

Thanks,

Ryan
 
Patrick Mann
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It's hard to tell reliably whether there is a queen from just observing the bees at the hive entrance. You can either trust the bees know what they are doing; or you can do a full inspection to see if there is a queen, a virgin queen (virgin queens are notoriously hard to see), or swarm cells. And be prepared to introduce a new queen if there is none.

I would take the wait and see approach. It sounds like your hive was doing well, so there's no reason to assume that this swarm is anything out of the ordinary.
 
David Livingston
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I would wait and see too . If there is a change in Bezhavior in the nect week you may have an issue but its too early to tell

David
 
Cj Sloane
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Patrick Mann wrote:It's hard to tell reliably whether there is a queen from just observing the bees at the hive entrance.


I thought if you could see that the bees were bringing in pollen that was a sign the queen was OK.
 
David Livingston
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that was my understanding too

David
 
Michael Cox
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Isn't pollen collection a sign of uncapped larvae? Doesn't necessarily mean you have a queen if something has happened to her very recently.
 
Ryan Kal
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Well, a day or two ago, I was watching the hive and saw what I believe to be a queen land and enter the hive. It was larger and darker than a drone. Perhaps it was a virgin queen returning from her breeding flight?

But, today I noticed an unusually high amount of drone activity around the hive. They are flying in and out like workers would on a good day. Any thoughts on this?

Ryan
 
Cj Sloane
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I just met a new bee keeper today who started with 2 brand new hives and they both swarmed a few weeks after putting the NUCs in. They weren't out of room and she thinks they had started swarm preparations while in the NUC. I thought I saw some queen cells in my NUC too but they haven't swarmed and have expanded tremendously. She still has bees in the hive though. She heard it was a big year for swarming due to the excellent weather.
 
Ryan Kal
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Interesting. I am thinking that the drone activity was due to a bunch of drones being "born" today. They were a bit uncoordinated, a little crazy, and seemed slightly disoriented. Shortly after posting, the extra activity stopped.

While working around the hive today (its near my yurt and garden), I had a bee following me and either trying to communicate or was giving me a thorough pat down. It was an interesting experience, as nearly every experience with my bees has been.

 
Ryan Kal
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I just performed a full inspection of the hive. I found several queen cells, but I believe I may have ripped them open when I inspected on the day of the swarm. They were attached to the walls of the hive. I found no larvae and couldn't locate a queen. Should I assume I am queenless and get one ordered?

Thanks,

Ryan
 
Ryan Kal
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I performed more research and found that I couldn't expect to see larvae for up to 3 weeks after the hive swarmed. So I didn't get a queen, left town for a week, and today found larvae. The link below is to some "bee math", which helped me enormously.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm

Ryan
 
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