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Post swarm - no brood, but Queen cells

 
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mal
Nurse Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 44
Location: Rutland, Leicestershire, UK

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 5:26 pm    Post subject: Post swarm - no brood, but Queen cells Reply with quote

Hi -
Checked one of my hTBHs today after I had collected a swarm from the site last Monday. I had a very easy inspection from end to end, no agitation, no need to use smoke. However there is a reasonable amount of capped honey and pollen stores, and lots (most combs) of uncapped honey.
There was 3 still capped Queen cells hanging from the sides of combs, and one hatched. I saw no eggs, no capped brood.
I didn't hear piping, or see a Queen, but as I said - all seemed very calm and busy.
However - if the swarm did come from that hive 5/6 days ago, does the lack of capped brood add up ?

Thanks for any wisdom !

Mal
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Mal ... just to check. Was this a swarm or a split?
Swarms don't tend to come with queen cells.
There is no situation I can think of where there would be queen cells and no brood. Do you mean queen cups? Queen cups are common when a swarm comes with an an old queen out of eggs or a young queen who couldn't mate.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1573
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess would be that the swarm that you captured 5 days ago was a cast swarm and you probably missed the prime swarm leaving approx. 10 days before that. That would explain the lack of brood.

I would leave them to settle down now and hopefully become queenright without any further disturbance. I usually find with my established colonies, that have swarmed take a few weeks before they start raising brood again. I call it their summer holiday period and it is beneficial for them to reduce their varroa mite load. Most literature will tell you that they should be raising brood within 10 days of the last swarm but I've had mine go as long as 4 weeks before the new queen started laying again. It's caused me to panic in the past that they were left queenless, but just when I've given up hope, I find eggs.

Good luck with them and the swarm you captured. I caught 3 swarms this afternoon, so that's 6 so far this season and it's still only May!!
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mal
Nurse Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 44
Location: Rutland, Leicestershire, UK

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response Barbara.
I have 2 hives in that location and so very likely I have missed prime and/or cast swarms. The large swarm I did catch could have come from the other hive - though that is packed with bees, honey and brood on a quick inspection.
I will leave the non-brood hive alone and see if there is a new queen in there biding her time before laying - as you often mention bees probably know best and as they seem happy ....


PS. the swarm I did collect and put in the perone took a few days to settle in and appeared to stay in a large (slowly growing) cluster in the corner with minimal activity, however after 5 days the activity at the entrance to the hive appears very normal and through the observation window I can at last see fresh drawn comb peeking out of the cluster.
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1573
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is very normal behaviour for a swarm. It looks like nothing is happening but they are building comb within the cluster and you don't see it until it gets large enough to start poking out beyond the ball of bees. The reason you don't see much activity the first few days is that the bees in the swarm are living off the honey they brought with them from the parent hive. Once they get a bit of comb built, they can then afford foragers to go out and bring food for the colony whilst others continue the building work.

If you put your ear to the hive late on an evening when it is dark and quiet and there is less background noise, you can hear a tiny pitter patter sound of an army of jaws munching away at wax flakes to manipulate them into comb. It sounds like they are all tap dancing with their tiny little feet. After a few days you will also hear them fanning to ripen nectar that the forager have brought in.
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