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Queen cell Identification

Hi all. I think I mistook a swarm for an orientation flight. A week later, noticed numbers way down and flow frames cleaned out (not all). Inspected today and couldn’t find the queen (marked blue) but didn’t spot new queen either, very little brood and lots of drones and drone cells. 3 queen cups but they don’t look right to me. Can someone give a little guidance. If they have made a new queen, how long between mating and laying eggs? And are these normal queen cells?


20200927_131246|375x500

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Hi Helga, been a long time since you last posted. Spring is the swarming season if you don’t do a split. In the 1st pic what looks like a queen cell is a play cell, even if the colony decides to swarm more often a play cell doesn’t get used. The hive will produce more drones in the Spring. If you see a fully made queen cell that is capped then assume there is a new queen forming in it.
When I do a split I don’t disturb the spit for 4 weeks to look then for the new queen laying eggs or possibly even larvae in the cells… A swarming flight seems to be a lot of mass confusion till all the bees fly off together. An orientation flight begin with bees flying close by the hive entrance, facing towards the hive and staying about the same distance from it. As the flight goes on the bees will fly further away as they learn the landmarks.
Cheers

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Hi Peter, yes its been a while. Things were going great but last weekend my husband drew my attention to the hive where there were a lot of bees just zooming around. I got worried thinking it may have been the start of a swarm, but I thought I say coming and going so assumed it was an orientation flight. But since, there have been minimal bees on the flow frames and instead of refilling them, they are quite sparse. Did an inspection today and very little brood, heaps of drones. Couldn’t see any eggs or queen. Do you think I should get a new queen ASAP or just wait?

When a hive swarms it is normal that the remaining colony will use several suitable eggs or very young larvae to produce new queens and the first to emerge terminates the other queens and she becomes the hives new queen.
When you looked in the brood frames did you see any eggs or very small larvae that hadn’t yet curled? If yes then there is makings for a new queen. Have a glass of wine and wait about 10 days after the swarm and there should be a few capped queen cells so no need to rush out and buy a queen, give nature time. Do the inspection carefully and slowly looking on every frame in the brood box and special attention towards the bottom of the frames.
Keep us updated
Cheers

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Thanks Peter, I’ll try to remain calm. I did try and look at each frame but saw no eggs or larvae. I am going away on Wednesday for a week so I’ll have another look when we get back. Fingers crossed. :slight_smile:

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Hi Peter, just did another inspection and found no brood or even drone brood, lots of drones though. From what I could see, I didn’t find a new queen, eggs or larvae. What should I do before they all die out. Do I just buy in a split or install a new queen? Thanks! I should mention the swarm happened 13 September. 20201011_094342|375x500

It sounds like the hive is queen-less but as it is Spring time and there are heaps of bee keepers in the Newcastle area I would hope someone on the forum can sell you a frame or two of eggs to weaken out their own hive, then the hive can make a new queen from the eggs. The second option would be to buy a queen and introduce her to the hive. If you decide to buy in a split then I would merge them by the news paper method but personally my choice would be to buy a queen or a frame of eggs. The hive should still be strong enough for either of those options to work.
Cheers Helga

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