Inspections After The Swarm

I wanted to check in on the girls, since I haven’t in more than two weeks, and they swarmed.

Trunchen Hive is doing really well, they’ve completely drawn out the top box, and there are several frames of capped brood, with a frame of fresh eggs at the far edge of the box. I took a couple bars out (painstakingly) to examine the comb, and found that the center of the frame, the most concave part, was filled with capped drone cells. This kiiind of worried me, because that means those cells are too large for workers, which means those cells can’t be used for anything other than drones and honey. I tried to peek into the bottom box, but the bars stuck to the top box so I had to reorganize everything again. This is quite a bother. They hadn’t drawn anything out in there yet.

White Hive had capped drone cells in the super. This immediately sent me into a panic, because there shouldn’t be brood in the super, and because I didn’t remember seeing eggs in there when I removed Queen Agatha during the split. After dispatching of the drone cells, I prepared myself for the worst and began digging through the top brood chamber. I was amazed at the complete lack of brood in the hive. It was a new experience to see the frames completely devoid of their usual white glow. The drone population is rampant, and there are almost more drones than workers. No wonder they swarmed, they wanted to get away from all the boys!

There was a LOT less honey then there was last time I opened the hive. I guess I didn’t realize how much the bees would take with them when they swarmed. I still expect being able to harvest at the end of the year though.

The frames were all connected with burr comb. The hive looked like such a mess. I didn’t make it into the lower box because the bees were getting really angry. I didn’t see the new queen, and there was no eggs yet. I was concerned a few weeks ago about her not having enough room to lay eggs because of how much honey she had, but with all the honey gone, she’s got two boxes to hurry up and fill! The bees level of irritation makes me worried about if they have a queen though, cause they shouldn’t have been as angry as they were with the lack of brood and honey to defend. I dunno. Anyone have anything to say about what might be going on in the hive? I’ve never experienced a swarm before, so this is all new to me.

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9 responses to “Inspections After The Swarm”

  1. Emily says :

    So you need to work out whether White Hive has a queen or not. Are there opened queen cells in there? A good test would be to take a frame of brood from your other hive, put it in White Hive and see if they start drawing out replacement queen cells. Meanwhile if they have no stores feeding could also be a good idea and might help make them less grumpy!

    • willowbatel says :

      I don’t know how they couldn’t have a queen, because there were literally over a dozen queen cells open in the hive (I took a chunk of comb with three of them on it out of the hive to show my mom) and they just swarmed a few days ago. Swarming without leaving the parent colony a queen seems like something they wouldn’t do… right? They didn’t get too grumpy until I was a few frames in, so I could’ve made the horribly mistake of accidentally squishing the new queen…
      Putting a frame of eggs in from the other hive is a lot easier said than done, because the bars are different sizes. I suppose I can try next week if no eggs show up in White Hive.

      • Emily Heath says :

        If they just swarmed a few days ago and there’s loads of opened queen cells you should be okay. Hopefully they will fight it out till one queen remains, or alternatively they might send out another ‘cast’ swarm headed up by a virgin. It’ll be a few days before the new queen is ready to mate and then potentially another couple of weeks before she starts laying. Perhaps just feed for now so they don’t starve.

        Hoping our new queen gets laying soon! It’s a nerve racking time waiting for her to mate and start laying.

        • willowbatel says :

          Oh ok. I assumed that because they swarmed they had a mated queen already ‘set aside’ for the parent colony.
          It is stressful! I mean, I can’t really do anything to help them, but waiting for them to sort things out is agonizing!

          • Emily Heath says :

            They swarm usually on the day the first queen cells are capped, which is day 8 after the eggs are laid. It’s then another 8 days before the queens emerge, so there can be quite a gap before the new queen gets laying again. Fingers crossed you have good weather over the next few days!

  2. flcpa92 says :

    I tried to email you at the AOL email… but it got kicked back… wanted to ask your opinion on something.

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