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Hived swarm. No eggs yet ....

 
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barshambees
Nurse Bee


Joined: 26 Feb 2015
Posts: 26
Location: UK/Suffolk/Beccles

PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 6:48 pm    Post subject: Hived swarm. No eggs yet .... Reply with quote

Hi all, I caught a swarm and housed it in a warre hive on 8/5. Quick inspection today shows some lovely comb, sealed honey and pollen, but no eggs. Didn't see a queen, though that's not unusual as I haven't found an unpainted one yet!

If it was a cast / secondary swarm, how long until I intervene and introduce a queen from elsewhere, or should I wait due to the naff weather? If so how long?

If it wasn't, how would I know?

Many thanks in advance...

Andy
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CeeBee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 104
Location: UK, Cambridge, Milton

PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found this http://beekeeping.org.uk/is_nat_swarm_cal.pdf very useful (not sure if that's where I originally downloaded it, but it's where I just found an online copy). Nothing you couldn't work out yourself, given the timetable of development of bees, but all there on a nice diagram.

From that diagram, maximum time from first cast swarm to first eggs is around 17 days, so there' still time for you. Last year, my first with bees, I hived two swarms - one set off with eggs straight away (prime swarm), the other took some time (presumably cast). So give it another week or so - if they seem happy bringing in stores and pollen, then I expect all is well.
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barshambees
Nurse Bee


Joined: 26 Feb 2015
Posts: 26
Location: UK/Suffolk/Beccles

PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks ceebee. Interesting diagram. Will keep a copy.
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CeeBee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 104
Location: UK, Cambridge, Milton

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should have looked it up while posting yesterday:

According to my records, I hived my 'large cast swarm' on 3-May-2014, first saw eggs on 23-May-2014, and capped brood on 2-Jun-2014. Obviously I wasn't looking every day, but when I saw the eggs, there was no sign of more-developed brood. So that was 20 days after hiving that I first noticed eggs.


Last edited by CeeBee on Sun May 31, 2015 7:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a very interesting chart and not one I had seen before....it is however referring to timescales for the parent hive and not the swarms that emerge. Also, there is no maximum time for the new queen in the colony to start laying.... it just states that it usually happens after all the old queen's progeny have hatched.
I am typically seeing my parent colonies wait 4 weeks or so after the last cast has emerged, before the new queen starts laying. The bees appear to have a "holiday". There are plenty of stores in the hive, so they don't need to work themselves death foraging. The increased longevity means they are still fit to look after brood when it eventually arrives and the long brood break knocks the varroa mites right back.

If they are industrious as you suggest and preparing for brood, then I think you are most likely still queenright. Personally, I hive swarms and leave them to it and don't check and I haven't had a failure, although last year I had one parent colony swarm itself to queenlessness, as did a neighbour's hive.... something I had not experienced before.
Having said that, the weather has not been ideal for mating flights and a queen could easily get lost in the cooler blustery conditions. They sound Q+ though.
I would give it another week and if there is still no brood, then take the decision.
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barshambees
Nurse Bee


Joined: 26 Feb 2015
Posts: 26
Location: UK/Suffolk/Beccles

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara. Its been windy and not exactly steamy here. She may just be waiting for an opportune time. Just out of curiosity, how long can an unmated queen go on - if you see what I mean- is there a set period that she Has to be mated in or can she go on indefinitely until temperatures rise?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have any reference for that info but I'm sure Bernhard (Zaunreiter) posted something about it a year or two ago and although I cannot remember how long, it was quite a short finite period..... a matter of days rather than weeks.....

That said, I don't know if the virgin queens that are left in my parent colonies that exhibit this 4 week holiday period, mate straight away but then delay laying or actually delay mating, as I have not witnessed them leave on their mating flights. It seems odd that they would not start laying straight away once they are mated as there is masses of empty brood comb and plenty of stores to feed new brood, but then it also seems odd that the queen would not be encouraged to go on her mating flight within that early time frame. Bees may have developed this system to overcome the varroa problem. It may be specific to my area and my bees. My main flow is late summer/autumn, so there is no rush and the hives always have plenty of honey on them in the mean time. It's just something that I used to worry about, but since it is repeated behaviour over several years and brood eventually appears(except in one case), I worry less about it and accept the benefits of varroa control/reduction.

As we often find, bees don't read the same books as us. They do things by their own rules, not ours and what is normal for one colony in one location, may not be for another.

Watch and listen to your bees and go with your gut instinct, and try not to let irrational worry (or what the book says) influence that.

Good luck

Barbara
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barshambees
Nurse Bee


Joined: 26 Feb 2015
Posts: 26
Location: UK/Suffolk/Beccles

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Barbara. Guess I have to also think that the swarm was free and I didn't have it a month ago anyway. Whatever happens is a bonus.

Thanks also ceebee for the other info
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is the way I try to rationalise things. You are giving them help by giving them a home. In nature things are not perfect and some thrive and others don't. Accepting that, is part of the journey from conventional mentality to a more natural approach in my opinion.
Not having forked out a large sum of money for them should make it easier to be more philosophical about it.

From what you have said though, I think that these will thrive.
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barshambees
Nurse Bee


Joined: 26 Feb 2015
Posts: 26
Location: UK/Suffolk/Beccles

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just an update..... Checked again today and we have eggs!
Thank you everyone for your comments .... Must learn to have patience.

Same thing occurring with my HTBH now .... Very Happy

Andy
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's great to hear.

Wow! 4 weeks from hiving the swarm to eggs.... even I would have been concerned and yet I see it happen in my parent colonies. We get so bound up in what is normal and it's a real temptation to interfere when things fall outside those "normal" parameters. Thanks so much for posting this update as it's really useful to read about the ones that successfully don't follow "the rule book" that we write for them.
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