Virgin queen swarm

New beekeeper, my bees are testing me.

Long story, I will try to shorten it. I split my hive to avoid a swarm by moving the queen and 5 frames to a new hive. Right about the time I would be expecting a queen to do a mating flight in the original hive it swarmed. I was able to catch the swarm and put it in a new box after two tries. I saw a queen go into the new hive, (but was too slow to catch her), so I know she is there. Since I originally moved the queen from the box that swarmed, I am thinking that the queen that was in the swarm is a virgin. If so, how long should I wait for her to get mated? I want to go in and inspect for eggs, larva, etc, but I don’t want to do that too soon.

The other question is since the original, queenless hive swarmed, and there was a queen in that swarm, is it reasonable to assume that the split hive hatched out a couple of queens and that is why there was a queen in the swarm? My concern is that if there is not a queen in the original hive it is getting close to the laying worker stage. Again, trying to figure out how soon I can go in to the original hive to try and figure out if it is no queen right.

Thanks ahead!

Hi Rob, your colony had the urge to swarm, so they swarmed with the first queen to emerge, rather than that queen kill the others. A colony doesn’t usually swarm unless there is provision for a new queen in the original hive. That basically answers your last concern.

To answer your first question: we need to be familiar with timelines. 5 or 6 days before the mating flights, then another 5 or 6 days before she starts laying eggs. Therefore you should start to see eggs in roughly 12 days time, however give it a few more days before taking a look.

Thank you Jeff!

I have done a lot more research, and it sounds like you are right. Either that or they had two queens that did not take each other out and one decided to leave. I think there may have been two queens because I had done so much work before that to make sure they did not need to swarm. I am most concerned about the hive that swarmed just because they haver been queenless for so long. The information on mating flights and eggs is great. All very helpful information, thank you again!

Hi Rob, you’re welcome. The hive that swarmed should have a queen to carry on with, otherwise it wouldn’t swarm.

The best way to stop a colony with queen cells from swarming is to break every queen cell down, bar one.

Anyway if you have any concerns whatsoever about a colony being queenless, don’t hesitate to give it a frame of brood that contains worker eggs, & or very young worker larvae. Then check it out in 4 days time to see if the colony is making emergency queens or not.

When I split them and did the “artificial swarm” I did not see any queen cells, but I am new and probably just missed them.

I don’t have any brood right now to give them, all my hives are either undated queens or a brand new split.

Thanks again!

Hi again Rob, I reread your original story. Because you moved 5 frame, including the queen from the original hive, they started building emergency queens. Most times the first queen to emerge will kill the others, or have a death struggle if two queens emerge at the same time. During swarm season, the presence of emergency queen cells can trigger a colony into swarming. So therefore the first queen to emerge will go with the swarm, leaving the yet to emerge queens with the remainder of the colony.

Having said that, you should have brood frames in the 5 frame split you took with the old queen. Plus, if the virgin queen mates successfully, you’ll have brood frames in that hive in a couple of weeks. However you shouldn’t need them at this stage.

Welcome to my world :slight_smile: I’ve been there, done that, quite a few times.

PS, the only down side of virgin queens mating in the wild could be the possibility of Africanization of the progeny. Maybe not a problem in Columbus Ohio.

No Africanized bees up here!

Whereabouts in Columbus are you, @Robcool? I’m in UA.

Thanks! What I was trying to do was to make them think they had already swarmed by moving the queen and adding empty space to the original box. What I think happened was either as you said, or two queens emerged at the same time and one decided to swarm.

I am really new, so the challenge with taking frames from the new hive that is queen right is that I did not move enough bees. When I shook bees into that new hive, instead of using one of the frames from the brood box, I shook them from the super. So what I really added to that box was a bunch of field bees that just flew back to the original hive leaving the new hive very low on bees. My mistake, that is how I learn, but that hive is going to take awhile to build a population, so I am hesitant to take frames from them. I am going to do an inspection today, and if they are doing well enough I will grab a frame from them.

Thanks again for all your help!

Oh, and as far as I can tell the Africanized bees are not really a problem here. At least I have not heard of anyone saying that they are.

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Hello Jeff! I live on the east side of Columbus near Gahanna, but the bees are located at my vineyard near Lancaster.

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Hi & you’re always welcome Rob. Yes that was a mistake, for sure, which can lead to hive beetle problems. However if beetles don’t cause a problem & you moved a lot of emerging brood, the population will quickly grow.

One way to rectify such a mistake is to add a lot of nurse bees to the colony. Simply place a large flat surface in front of & touching the entrance, or place the hive on the ground. Grab a frame of brood, minus the queen, before shaking all the bees onto the flat surface, but not too close to the entrance, maybe a foot away. Repeat this 2 more times. The bees that have done orientation flights will go back to their hive, leaving a nice cluster of nurse bees on the flat surface or ground. It wont take long before the nurse bees march straight into the entrance, which is pretty to watch, where they’ll be readily accepted.