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Author Topic: Queenless swarms  (Read 2115 times)

Offline KeyLargoBees

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Queenless swarms
« on: April 22, 2016, 05:28:08 pm »
Here is a question for the more experienced swarm catchers.....I was under the impression that a queenless swarm by definition left the parent hive with a queen...and than at some point something happens to the queen thus making a swarm "queenless" .

At that point when the queen disappears or is lost somehow and there is no longer any queen phermone in the swarm will the swarm continue to seek out a place to live and potentially move into a baited box or will they dwindle and wander off to other hives? I have caught several smaller swarms out of bushes and trees that turned out to be queenless...but have never had a swarm that moved into a trap turn out that way.

I ask this because I have a decent sized swarm from last weekend with enough bees to cover 3 frames in a 5 frame deep NUC that is drawing comb like crazy  but they are filling  the comb almost as fast as they draw it with nectar...no sign of eggs when I inspected them today and bees weren't runny and didn't show typical queen-less agitation.  i was looking hard for any sign of a queen but they were festooning all over the frames and it was 2-3 deep in most places so couldn't spot the queen if she was there....  it possible there is still a virgin in there that hasn't started laying yet or that the old queen swarmed out that was a "dud" and had ceased laying?

They have been in the box 5 days (swarmed in on Sunday 4/17) will probably add a frame of eggs this weekend to see if they build queen cells.....unless someone has better advice.
Jeff Wingate

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Re: Queenless swarms
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2016, 05:46:19 pm »
Likely a virgin queen, but a frame of brood would give them a boost. I would add it ASAP.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Queenless swarms
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2016, 09:20:03 pm »
If a swarm finds itself without a queen, they just return to the hive they came from.  I've never seen a queenless swarm...  I've seen them with seven or so virgins...
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Queenless swarms
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2016, 11:48:58 pm »
I agree with Wally and Michael. Probably a virgin queen. Bees will walk on a virgin queen and they are hard to spot. They will also fill in the brood nest and then move it.
Jim

Offline Sundog

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Re: Queenless swarms
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2016, 12:23:32 am »
Does it make any sense to combine several small swarms and if so, what would bee the best way?

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Re: Queenless swarms
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2016, 05:52:56 am »
Sundog,
Just put them together while they are a swarm. Bees from different hives that swarm at the same time in the same location will often combine. When they get to the new location the queens then fight it out and decide who will be the queen.
If one swarm is already established. Add a bunch of smoke and pour them in. I just had a swarm come from a different area and it moved into a nuc that had a very small swarm with a queen. Half of the bees went in that nuc and half went in another nuc that I got from the same location at the same time. I was glad to see they reinforced both of them. The next day I noticed only a couple of bees going into the smallest hive and I opened it up and they had moved out and probably moved into the other nuc. They had to walk past another hive to get to it.
Jim