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Having issues with both my hives

Hello, year one beek here. I’m just gonna straight to the chase without filling in heaps of backstory. 2 months into sping. Two weeks ago my flow hive swarmed, I caught said swarm in a new beehive and placed it on the other side of the property. My mentor told me to leave them for 2 weeks so I have. Just did an inspection.

Hive 1 (main hive):
I put the flow super on at the start of spring which was around 2 months ago. Since then not a single cell has been filled wwith honey, I have no idea why. I let them build up. They swarmed. Checking the hive today and there is no evidence of laying or any capped brood. Many drones about. I couldn’t find the queen, but I am also new and i struggle to find her. She may have been there but she isn’t laying.

I found 4 opened queen cells. Pretty much every frame is being filled with honey/pollen. Thing is, the frames seem to nearly be 90% full of bees. Only one frame ( picture below outside the hive) has less bees. Now I’m worried they will swarm AGAIN, but I do not have the resources just yet. I just don’t understand why they havent touched or moved into the super. Theey are obviously healthy/strong enough to afford a split. As a new beek it is very confusing. My mentor and I, well lets put it, is a very dissmisive person, so it is very difficult to get help from him. Photos of hive one below:

Now onto Hive 2, the swarmed hive.

Now they seem to be going fine, have built up plenty of comb, just it is rouge comb. You can see belw how they have build the cloer frame and bent it around back up to the top of the one behind it. It is like this on multiple frames, around 4-5ish. How do I fix this? Thank you, this has been tough but also exciting.

Regarding their lack of desire to use the Flow super, I’d suggest rolling some melted wax onto the flow frames if you hadn’t already. It encourages them up. Bees are reluctant to work plastic, even the flow frame ones.

For your FH with the hatched queen cells but no eggs/larvae/capped brood, if the swam happened 2 weeks ago then it is likely you just need to wait a little bit longer for the FH’s new queen to mature, mate then start laying. There is an excellent diagram here Queen Rearing Timeline | Beespoke Info

You were on (at least) day 16 when you observed the hatched queen cells, so if it’s exactly 2 weeks since then you would be on (at least) day 30 now. I’d give it another 5 days or so then check for eggs again.

If still nothing then perhaps worth adding a purchased queen, the chances are getting slim from then on.

You could also add a frame including eggs from the swarm and see if the FH try to build an emergency queen cell on it. In that case, either wait for the entire queen process again or knock off the new QC and add a purchased queen.

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the hive swarmed exactly 13 days ago. I missed the queen cells last inspection, which was around a month ago, and only observed the open queen cells today, if that helps to get a point of reference. I did also put lots of wax on the Flow Frames with no luck so far

In relation to your main hive, I agree with @Geoff_S 's comments.

In relation to the swarm hive, I would give them frames with properly fitted wax foundation, while ditching the idea of allowing the bees to build on empty frames.

You’ll need to manipulate that comb so it sits within the wood of the frame, which is challenging for a new beekeeper. Properly fitted wax foundation frames are a dream to use, plus gives better results.

They are on waxed frames, maybe I spaced them out too much?

Jeff asked me to tell you,
If that is the case break the bur comb away, and put the frames back with no more than a 3-4 mm gap, between the shoulders.

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I noticed a few drones, would they be trying to mate/mated with the queen?

Also to add, what would be the likelyhood of them swarming again? Since there is a few bees in the hive

Mating happens away from the hive at a drone congregation area.

Drones from your hive plus and others hang out there waiting for a virgin queen to visit. She mates with multiple lucky ones, or unlucky ones if you consider the drone dies shortly after the act…

ahhh okay, do you think they may swarm again though? since there is quite a few bees in the have as you can see, just getting worried

I also forgot to mention I noticed a bits of honey and pollen where the brood used to be, is that a sign I’m queenless? Since I feel like the clock is ticking, waiting until Monday to check for brood again. I’m struggling to find anyone near me to purchase a queen from.

What really are my options here? I don’t want to lose my hive

While there is no queen ready to lay, bees will store honey & pollen where the brood used to be. As soon as a queen is ready to lay, bees will quickly clean those cells out in readiness for her to lay in. It’s actually interesting to see the boundary where honey meets the brood (the honey arc), or better still the area the bees have prepared for her to lay in.

Hopefully on Monday you’ll see new eggs, young larvae or both. Look in the areas that have been cleaned out, if any.

You have options as long as the swarm colony remains queen-rite.

Good to know, the swarm colony seem to be doing fine apart from the rouge comb which I will fix on Monday during my egg inspection. It seems I am doing a lot in my first year. Catching a swarm now even the possibility of re-queening, but I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Should I also rub more melted wax into the flow frames (if I find eggs), since they have not touched those frames yet? Just to move some bees into the super and give them more space.

I will keep you guys updated Monday and see where to go from there. Could use the knowledge

You’re doing well Tom. No I wouldn’t rub wax onto the Flow frames at this stage. Worry about that after your colony has rebuilt. The bees wont move up into the Flow super until they are ready to.

thank you, I’m trying my best. Just I’m worried if they could swarm again since there is still quite a lot of bees in there. Small steps

They’ll only swarm if they are building queen cells. At this stage you don’t even know if you have a queen to lay eggs in a queen cell. Therefore on Monday while doing a brood check, look for queen cells while looking for new brood.

Will do, fingers crossed. Thanks for all your help so far, will update Monday

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It’s a good day, she’s laying. Not many capped brood but lots of larva. I assume the girls are trying to clean cells out for he. Lots of worker brood as well. A few drones skulking about but I assume they will be outcasted soon.

I took the flow super off, going to try and rub slightly melted wax into them, hopefully it will work. I think since they weren’t liking it heaps of bees stayed in the broodbox causing congestion, I think that might’ve been a factor in the recent swarm.

As for the swarm, I cut the rouge comb best I could, as the frames were stuck together. I seperated the cut, ‘wobbly’ frames with new, freshly combed ones, hopefully that will encourage them to build it better.

I really have two options with the first hive though, either wax the Flow Frames and hope they move up into it, or I do have a regular super there I could use instead, Thoughts?

Thanks for all your help so far guys it was looking grim there for a bit

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Well done Tom, that’s a great result.

In relation to your options: You could use a combination of both options by waxing the Flow frames, then replace the middle 3 with regular frames, especially if they are stickies. Then leave a gap on both sides. By doing that, you’ll know for sure whether the bees are ready to move up into the honey super or not.

Sometimes it just takes time before the population is strong enough to start moving into a second super.

In the mean time, make sure that all of the brood frames contain a high percentage of worker comb, which will help the colony build a larger workforce, sooner rather than later.

From the all the capped frames I saw, none were Drones.

I actually melted wax and spread it on all the flow frames, hopefully it’ll do the trick. In fact when I was returning the super, I saw a drone getting attacked on the landing board.

As for the other hive, I cut some of the rouge comb out, it was a bit difficult. I hope they will rebuild it correctly. They are still a healthy hive nonetheless, but obviously makes it hard to do an inspection! I’m not as worried about my first hive now that I know I have a queen. Just gonna keep tabs on this new one.

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