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CRAZY MORNING - Main hive swarms & I capture 10 virgin Queens!

Good Day fellow BEEKS!

Well today was the first day we have seen over 30 degrees C this Spring. And the bees have taken note! So much so that as I was chilling out in my backyard I saw my main hive swarm off into a nearby tree. Such a beautiful sight indeed :slight_smile:

Anyway as I gathered my tools etc to go and collect the swarm back into a new box. I thought I would check inside the original hive they swarmed from & see whether any new Queens were hatching that I could collect before they had their Queen Battle Royal within the hive.

To my great excitement & surprise I was able to find about 10 Queen cells all hatching slowly but surely & I was able to collect the virgin Queens as they hatched. In my haste I even had to squinch a couple new virgin queens as they had been either pre-mature or injured in the process of removal. So woweee 10+ new virgin queens were emerging!

Of course I tried to get as much video footage as I could during the whole exercise. Including the recovery of the swarm & the collecting of the virgin Queens.

The videos below are in approximate order of how things played out these past 2 days…

This is the colony doing their swarm prep the day before the TRUE swarm.

Bit of close up, shows them bearding up as they return back to the hive.

That afternoon:

Another close up I took that afternoon.

The next day approx 9.30AM they’re off for REALS this time

They’ve picked their spot & start clustering

Getting thicker on the branch now

This is where I leave the swarm to continue gathering at their own pace & head back to he original hive to start Queen collecting

Here are the remaining 7 virgin Queens in cases

And listen to the lovely piping coming from one of them

OK soooo now I head back to the swarm in the tree & use the method good ol’ JEFF has recommended for getting a swarm to politely make its way onto a frame with BIAS on it (Brood In All States)

But of course I wasn’t patient enough & there was far too many bees to fit one the one frame anyway. SO I just sprayed some swarm commander onto the top of the empty frames in the box I was using th rehouse them, cut the branch, and pretty much shook the rest into the box.

Leaving the branch. After putting the frame the bees gathered on into the new box, I simply cut the branch & moved the bee clump over the box & gently shook the rest in.

The final shake:

Such friendly critters. During the whole process not one bee was aggressive & I received no stings. If I had a steady hand Id be able to pat them like they were a puppy dog. :slight_smile:

The concluding Statements

And there you have it folks!


I think beehives are like Tim Tams, it’s hard to stop at one. I’m just lucky that Tim Tams are not as addictive as bee hives.

This is after looking at your last photo.


Simply astounding Ryan!!! (or should we call you Barry Gibb :rofl:) Nice of you to get all those videos, well done :clap::clap::clap:


PS Ryan, do you have any plans of how you will use those captured virgin queens. I’ll be interested in how you go about using them. I think I have an idea after thinking about it for a while.

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I had advertised them for sale on a local BeekKeeper FB Group. But no takers yet. Im all ears for any ideas as I don’t really know what to do with them!

Hi Ryan, I’m not sure if virgin queens would be very saleable. However my thinking would be to place a small amount of open brood into each of those boxes, plus a small amount of honey in comb, then introduce nurse bees to each one. Give each box an entrance & cover them with towels to keep them warm. In the mean time you can round up some nuc boxes for a more permanent home. You might end up with 10 saleable nucs if every queen is mated successfully. That would be after some additional resources are added.

That’s my thinking, baring in mind that virgin queens go on mating flights after 5or6 days, not knowing how much extra time they would need to get successfully mated, which is the reason why I don’t think that they would be saleable.


I wonder if the virgin queens starting their life in a confined space like that would stump their development, such as wings which continue to develop after hatching before they’re able to fly for their mating flight.

Do the queens consume regular nectar and pollen like the other castes once emerged or are they still on a unique diet (royal jelly)?

Can they breathe in those cages?

All curious questions that come to my mind :thinking:

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Yes indeed I had all the same questions, I think they are ok with the amount of air, it isnt a great seal in those containers.

Its been a couple days & theyre still walkin around and getting attended to from the other bees. There is some comb with honey still in there too. Ive seen one queen with its head inside a cell & just kinda hiding from the world. One was getting fed by another bee.

But wether their development is hindered? No idea.

Time is running out for them though. I really dont wanna squinch them :frowning: