I have a new problem I have never encountered. My super healthy hive swarmed June 11th. I caught the swarm, placed it in a new hive, but the next day it was gone. My first hive has 4 swarm queen cells at the bottom of four different frames. By my calculations they should have emerged by now, but haven’t. There is tons of honey and no brood anywhere. I would really appreciate some advice on what to do from here. I am thinking I need to get a new queen in there, but do I need to remove the bad queen cells first? Any advice would be appreciated.
I think I would gently look into one of the cells to see what’s inside. They could be all dead or not formed in the first place. Yes remove the bad queen cells. Give the colony a fresh frame of brood that contains worker eggs or very young worker larvae as soon as possible.
I always include a frame of young brood in a swarm capture box. It almost guarantees that a swarm will stay put.
A colony will often make a queen cell without it being used, I used to knock them down only to find another in it’s place the next day. I call them ‘play queen cells’.
I agree with Jeff that a frame of brood donated from another hive to a swarm hive is a good move to convince a swarm to stay.
So there is a lot in favor of having a 2nd hive, or more. The most time consuming part of hive management is in suiting up and getting the smoker going and not the extra time with a 2nd hive. But beware that bee keeping is very, very addictive.
If the queen cells haven’t developed for some reason then introducing a queen is a sound option and doing that will have brood sooner.
Welcome to the forum Jen, you will find lots of reading and good advice from members here. Maybe one of the hardest things for a beginner is to not interfere too much with looking into the hive. By all means do hive inspections on a regular basis but remember the bees will regard you as an intruder and each time you open the hive they will take time to get back to working…
I really appreciate the advice. I so wish I had a second hive to take some brood from, but unfortunately I don’t. I definitely will be getting a second hive when spring rolls around again. I will peek inside a queen cell and remove them if they are indeed bad and place the new queen inside, and pray. Last time I tried to requeen they killed both queens I put in there and I ended up losing the hive. That one wasn’t a very strong hive though, so I am hoping the strength of this one will help them survive. Thanks again for your time
Thank you so much for the advice. I have wanted to join the forum since I bought my first flow hive two years ago and am impressed with the knowledge shared here. I will place a new queen in asap and hope they accept her. I’m wondering though where she will begin to lay as all of the frames except one are loaded with honey. I have placed a box on top but they haven’t drawn out any comb in it yet. I’m hoping the one frame they are drawing out right now will provide enough room for some brood now. That one is the outer frame, so I was thinking I should maybe move it to the center. Not sure. I really appreciate your time. Thanks again
It would be a good idea to join a club & or get to know other bee keepers so that maybe you can beg, borrow or purchase a frame of brood. That will save the expense of buying a new queen, plus the worry as to whether she is accepted or not.
Sometimes new queens aren’t readily available. Then you can save your prayers for something worthwhile, like guiding Donald Trump on the path to world peace.
If the brood frames are full of honey then the first thing to do is to extract the honey in the centre of the brood box then introduce a queen, the sooner you do that the sooner the colony will accept the queen and become ‘normal’ again. Some advise leaving a hive queen-less for 24 hours after the loss of a queen, but some also will put a new caged queen in straight away after squishing the queen. Both ways seem to work. A single frame will have all the cells with laid eggs in 24 hours so what I would do is extract all the frames in the brood box except for one on each side, that is what you would normally find in a functioning hive.
I agree with JeffH with his advice, A frame of eggs is a good option and when the colony produces a queen she will definitely be accepted.
Trump and world peace -
If they have been queenless for a month then I would be buying a queen and getting her in there ASAP. Considering the timing in your season I would not be trying to breed a queen with a hive of old bees.
Thank you and I definitely agree
I have contact with three other beekeepers in my area and none of them had a frame of brood to share, but one did have a few empty drawn out frames that they let me have which was helpful. My queen is safely inside. Phew. She is from a bee farm in Texas which has disease and mite resistance bees that I have always wanted to try. I still prayed when I placed my new queen in the hive seeing as using it for Donald Trump finding a path to world peace would just be futile My next prayer will be for literally anyone else being elected in 2020, but that’s for another forum.
Hi! I wanted to let you guys know I checked the hive exactly one week after I placed the queen in there and she was in there unharmed. I didn’t see any signs of laying yet, but what a relief they accepted her! Now I know this could go bad still because my bees are older and I wonder if you had any advice from here on out as I haven’t been able to find any brood to put in there with her. Do you think we have a chance at survival? @Rmcpb @JeffH @Peter48
It would be a great step forward if you could locate a frame of brood and nurse bees, as at present you have a ‘missing link’ in the age group and older bees make fairly poor full time nurse bees. I think if you can locate a local group or a bee keeper you will be able to get a frame of brood and nurse bee and even possibly a hand to add them to your hive, but don’t forget to be grateful with a 6 pack or a coffee when the job is done.
Thanks for the update, over to JeffH and Rob for their advice and keep us all updated as we will get a buzz from your success from doing it right.
I agree with @Peter48. If you you can locate a frame of brood from somewhere, that would be a great help. You’ll probably start to realize the value of keeping more than one hives. Even if you get the opportunity to catch a swarm. That would be great to keep as a resource hive.
HI! Wanted to update you on my hive. I tried desperately to find brood from the beekeepers association and a few friends, but nobody seemed to want to sell. But, it’s been two weeks since I last looked inside and so I opened it up today and discovered two frames full of capped brood. I don’t know what’s next, but so far we are surviving! @Rmcpb @JeffH
So you still have a laying queen so that is something to work with. Maybe consider packing down your hive and keeping it warm over the winter. Feed them if necessary and keep your fingers crossed. It is hard with Winter coming on to locate someone wanting to part with a frame or two of brood I guess. They want to maintain the strength of their own hives. I can’t really blame them for that.
You already have a queen in the hive so to make her easier to find I recommend finding her and then mark her, it will make life so much easier and less time looking for her next time you need to find the queen. They hate even sunlight so she will be looking for somewhere to hide and can be really hard to find sometimes. Maybe if you decide to mark her an extra pair of eyes is handy to locate her.
Thanks for the advice! Our lovely queen came marked already. It was only an extra dollar to add that, so of course we added it. So helpful to spot her!
A marked queen certainly makes life easier if you need to find her for any reason. Even the bees would like the queen painted so that the hive can be reassembled quicker with a minimum of fuss.
My hive is thriving! I have so much brood and honey! What a relief…Thanks for your advice. It is still hot here and I do believe we are in the middle of a dearth. These bees are more aggressive than I’ve ever experienced before, so I’m hoping it’s cyclical and not this new breed of bee. We should still be several weeks away from the weather cooling here, although the nights are definitely cooler. Should I feed them even though they have good honey stores just because fall is right around the corner?
Great to hear from you and the good results. Aggression can be genetic or a signal for you to change something, First off check for bearding of an evening, if there is then the hive may be overcrowded or over heating. If there is bearding a twig under the roof will allow more air flow. Another possible is building up to a late Summer swarming so a check for queen cells being used will answer that with an inspection looking for them in the brood, they can be over looked sometimes with the excitement. If you find a queen cell in use then you should make a split to make a 2nd hive but I don’t know your climate as to how much more Summer/Autumn you have left. Another option for over crowding is to add a 1/2 box with frames and foundation to the brood. Bees can become bored and hot to handle if they haven’t got work to do or are cramped for room.
You should be thinking of a second hive if you have time to make a split and for it to build up. Then you can get away from having a repeat drama as you have had.
You keep us updated Jen, how about a pic next time??