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Swarm aftermaths

Hi there, this week had been a bit of emotional rollercoaster as last Saturday I inspected the brood box and with much surprise I did not find any eggs, larvae and just few capped brood, which were hatching…I also spot the queen for the first time… but that wasn’t the only one, as I have found 3/4 different cups, which later I realised were queen cells!! See pitch not great though!! Few days later we found a swarm which I managed to capture twice but finally absconded…Now I am a bit doubtful about what to do as:
1 I want to make sure if the swarm was from my hive
2 What to do with the other queen cups
3 what to do with the few drift bees still in the swarm box
4 I have reduced the hive entrance fearing it has become too weak, but they are looking fine

Read this. It will tell you everything you need.

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They look like supercedure cells not swarm cells.

Was your original queen marked?

Hi Jim thanks for the link…very very much appreciated!! I put down a timeline…last week I found 4 queen cups and a queen running through the comb of the central frame…on Wednesday there was a swarm, not sure if it was coming from my hive…then today I complete the inspection, verified the cups: 3 unsealed and empty cups, one cup with the seal removed and no host inside…the frames have just few drone capped brood, honey, and a flaky yellowish thing stuffed in several cell, but no eggs, no larvae and no sealed broods at all…and the overall number of bees is definitely lower compare to last inspection’s…so I guess the swarm’s gone now it’s time to wait for the queen start laying…hoping has happened today during the inspection… ??

Hi!! Unfortunately not, as my hive is made up of a swarm captured 4 months back. 3days ago there had been a swarm and now I have no eggs, larvae or brood…3 out of the 4 cups are unsealed and with no eggs inside the fourth has the seal removed, and 5he numbers of bees are down…

Yes, it does seem that you had an event about three weeks ago, when the old queen stopped laying or departed. Hopefully the new queen has been well mated and if so you should see eggs or small larvae in a week or so. It seems only one QC was brought to maturity, which is good as you should have had no issues with secondary or cast swarms.
It could also have been a supercedure. It is not uncommon for new swarms to supercede their queen a short time after settling in their new location. Maybe they feel that the old queen has done her bit and that a younger one is needed to boost egglaying and to get them through the winter.
Three weeks without new bees in the summer will, by itself, reduce the bee numbers considerably, maybe by a third to a half.
The flaky yellowish thing is probably pollen.
The swarm you noticed would not have been from this hive - typically they swarm when the new queen emerges, and at that point you would still have expected to see plenty of worker brood in the hive.

Thanks Jim! As a newbee I have got tons of questions, but here are just a few…
Would you consider removing the super on top of the brood box, even though here in Perth we have temperature >35c this time of the year?

What about inspections? Honestly I would keep a close eye on them but without inspecting the hive…1 week without brood had already gone…

I have already reduced the entrance, would you recommend to progressively close it in case the colony is going to shrink further?

35c is ok. You really need to think about heat when you get consistent temps over 40c. Especially over 44c… If the top super is largely empty of bees- it is probably best to remove it until the colony in the bottom box has built up to fill at least 80% of the box with bees. You want to see a good covering of bees on every frame. I’d go further and say if the population is very low- and some frames have no eggs or brood at all- and no bees on them- you can condense the entire colony down into a 5 frame nuc until it gets strong again. Sometimes a hive that has swarmed or gone queenless can take a long time to recover and if they have a lot of frames they cannot cover with bees pests like wax moth or ants can become an issue.

it’s hard to say exactly without seeing more pictures of what’s going on.

You can reduce the entrance to around 1 inch or 3 or 4 bee widths until it gets strong again.

as for inspections- it depends on the timeline - of you think you have a virgin queen at the moment it’s best to leave the hive alone for a period as she gets mated. Virgin queens are flighty and the colony is at a delicate stage- best to leave them be while she gets up and running.

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Hi Waldats, I’ll let somebody from Australia answer your questions on temperature and ventilation because here we never get anything remotely approaching 35C!!
Personally I try to inspect each week during the swarm season (here May and June), weather permitting, because I want to avoid my bees swarming and also take the opportunity to make increase. I know others are more hands off, it depends on your circumstances.
I use open mesh floors so the main factor for me regarding entrance size is to have something that the bees can defend, relative to the colony size.
Hopefully if your queen is laying your colony should build up soon. If you have access to one, adding a frame of capped brood would really boost them. However if you dont see signs of laying in say two weeks you should consider replacing the queen as it would then be likely that the queen hadn’t mated properly.

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Thanks again Jim, how usually take on the queen replacement?

Hiya Waldats, where ‘bouts in Perth are you?
I’m inclined to agree with @HappyHibee, swarm cells are usually on the bottom of the frames and for them to swarm in the current environment would be unusual and bordering suicidal.
Absconded perhaps but why? How often are you inspecting?
Remember there’s a high likelihood that the original swarm you caught would have had an old queen and it may have not been up to scratch so a replacement was decided on by the masses.
If you’re able to get a frame of brood from someone you could pop that in then wait a couple of weeks then inspect and reassess.
Do you still have the super on the hive?

Hi Skeggley I am 40km north of Perth, and the colony has just replaced the queen, I re-spotted her yesterday, whilst moving the colony into a nuc as they were too weak to withstand a full hive…I am inspecting them every 3wks, but recently due to the events I am carrying out inspection on a weekly basis…I am about to feed them…but can you tell me which is the correct sugar to use? Raw sugar, or white sugar? Please let me know as the local beekeeper who helped me did mention they were starving and what I believed to be bread pollen in reality it was collapsed brood!! Here a picture of the new set-up of the colony!

Hi mate, 1:1 white sugar to water ratio. Raw sugar is not good for them.
Collapsed brood? Cant say I’ve heard of that.
Did you see eggs?

Collapsed brood maybe sac brood or sunken caps? Scales?

Do you have a picture?

No eggs yet…I have started counting the days when the new queen emerged…We should get some news starting from 12/19 Feb…and I am not going to inspect the nuc before then…

Non sunken caps, nor holes on the caps… no pictures unfortunately… there was a lot of cells with this yellowish to amber content, which looked like a flaky/dry creme caramel…the beekeeper who helped me said it was collapse brood due to starvation of the colony…

I managed to get some picts… the queen is still there…here’one of the frames…