My flow hive has done well this year and was teaming with bees. As expected my bees decided to swarm twice last week and thankfully I was able to collect both swarms. Today however, I walked out to my hive and discovered 3 additional queens climbing up the side of the box. The rest of the remaining bees paid no particular attention to any of them. I captured all 3 and placed them in some old queen cages I had on hand. Does anyone have experience with this type of activity? I feel assured they were extra queen cells that have emerged after the main swarm events occurred. Will they be viable queens? Any thoughts?
According to Don the Fat Bee Man, if you were to take each of those queens in a separate nuc box with a “cup of bees”, they would make a go of it. Of course, the queens have to mate before the hive is viable, but outside the box they’re just going to die.
Just be careful about taking queens out of your hive, how do you know which one is destined to rule your hive? I would leave them to it and check in a week to make sure your hive is queenright. They were most likely on a mating flight or hoping that the colony would swarm with them but again how do you know which one is destined to rule your hive. The alternative is as Michael mentioned and split your hive but you’ll need a plan as this will weaken the colony. You may need to consider re-combining these splits to build a strong colony and dispatch a queen or two.
I would let nature take it’s course. You have the original hive, plus the two swarms you caught. Just let the bees do what they do best. A good idea for next season is to exercise preemptive swarm control measures. There is no guarantee that you will catch every swarm. Plus if you live in an urban area, the swarm could stress your neighbors.
Thanks for the input guys. Here is an update though. After capturing the
extra queens I pulled the frames from the hive and discovered another
queen. She was not the marked queen originally in the hive, but looked
healthy and active. So, the original queen may have left with the swarm or
just died and was replaced. So I took the queens and introduced them into a
queenless hive I had already. They seemed to be accepting her. Time will
tell if she becomes a laying viable queen.
I will update later if she starts laying eggs.
Two queens were accepted by my queenless hives. One disappeared - expected killed by bees.
By the way I collected just over 4 gallons from my flow hive. Tons easier than the old method!!
I’m amazed you found those queens- very lucky- I’ve never seen a queen outside the hive
Yes, I have kept bees for over 10 years, but this is the 1st time I have found extra queens outside the hive. I have collected a swarm in the past that had two queens, but these queens were by themselves.