Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?  (Read 238 times)

Online 2Sox

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 356
  • Gender: Male
How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« on: May 21, 2020, 03:05:25 pm »
Posted this elsewhere:

Curious to find out several things about swarms because I?ve been surprised this year.

I just ordered some queens, one of which was from a huge swarm I captured, another of which half was killed by a hose and water.  I had seen no eggs and no queen for 10 days in one.  Since the other was a disaster catch, I assumed she was lost. Well I was wrong.  Last night, just before the arrival of my queens, I saw eggs in both. In the 10 day old one, I checked every frame in this humongous swarm and I literally saw TWO eggs.  I was really thrown - and half happy and half angry because I threw out money, it seems.

So my questions are all about timing.
What is the safe window of time to wait until you?re sure you DO or do NOT have a laying queen in your swarm - if you can?t find her?
What are some signs and signals to watch for in captured swarms?
(My fear was that during installation of the big one somehow the queen was damaged or killed).
"Good will is the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." - Eli Siegel, American educator, poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Online TheHoneyPump

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 742
  • Work Hard. Play Harder.
Re: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 03:20:37 pm »
A swarm may contain either the original colony laying queen or may contain virgin queen(s) or both. As for timeline, I can only give an educated guess.

- original laying queen, I would expect to see eggs within a few days of the first combs being drawn. Call it a week or less.
- virgin queens, a lot more variables. I would expect to see eggs in 1.5 to 3 weeks if they are not lost in mating flights or kill each other off completely in the Battle Royale over the swarms new home.

Hope that helps!
Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees

Online 2Sox

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 356
  • Gender: Male
Re: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2020, 07:49:45 pm »
A swarm may contain either the original colony laying queen or may contain virgin queen(s) or both. As for timeline, I can only give an educated guess.

- original laying queen, I would expect to see eggs within a few days of the first combs being drawn. Call it a week or less.
-
Hope that helps!

It DEFINITELY helps. Thanks.

I think one mistake I make is that I assume that the queen will start laying in a very short time in the drawn comb I provide for all swarms I install.

Another question: If a swarm starts building new comb, quite robustly I will add, can it be assumed that a queen is present - even if eggs are not present yet?
"Good will is the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." - Eli Siegel, American educator, poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Online TheHoneyPump

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 742
  • Work Hard. Play Harder.
Re: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2020, 08:05:09 pm »
I doubt that comb building infers anything wrt presence of queen(s).  In a swarm, the bees had gorged themselves before leaving the hive and their natural metabolism forces wax production.  If you get hot, you sweat.  If a bee is overfilled and no place to unload, it oozes wax flakes.
Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees Buzz Bees

Offline FloridaGardener

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 285
Re: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2020, 11:03:07 pm »
I wish I was like a bee in that regard...if I were to eat too much sugar, then I would just leak wax out of my abs.  Instead, The fat sticks to my abs! :(
     
Oh tiramisu, why do you do that to me...?!

Online cao

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1359
  • Gender: Male
Re: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2020, 12:07:25 am »
A swarm may contain either the original colony laying queen or may contain virgin queen(s) or both. As for timeline, I can only give an educated guess.

- original laying queen, I would expect to see eggs within a few days of the first combs being drawn. Call it a week or less.
- virgin queens, a lot more variables. I would expect to see eggs in 1.5 to 3 weeks if they are not lost in mating flights or kill each other off completely in the Battle Royale over the swarms new home.

Hope that helps!
Pretty much agree with timeline except the three weeks might be a little long.  Getting close to laying worker stage IMO.

Offline Oldbeavo

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 587
  • Gender: Male
Re: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 07:12:20 am »
2Sox
Observe how the bees are filling frames with honey and nectar, if there is a queen present they will leave space for her to lay in the future, if it is old brood comb they may start polishing the vacant cells.
Also if the hive is content and not what we call roaring, more noise, vacant cells, polishing then wait.
Also if you have a virgin queen and bad weather then mating flights will be delayed and so extended time to finding eggs.
No rules, just bee clues that the BK detective must access.
If you want to hurry the detective work, just add a frame of brood with eggs and in 3 days you will have the answer to whether you have a queen. QCells=no queen, no QCells=probably a queen.
Also as a hint to lock a swarm to a box, just add a frame of open brood and there is a big chance they are yours.

Offline Acebird

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 5869
  • Gender: Male
  • Practicing non intervention beekeeping
Re: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2020, 09:25:20 am »
I was really thrown - and half happy and half angry because I threw out money, it seems.

Havies.  The solution might be to shake half the bees through a QE and install the  purchased queen.  You could stack the two hives together separated by a double screen.  This should buy you time to watch and inspect the original hive (on top) with less bees.  Should it turn out queenless combine.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Online 2Sox

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 356
  • Gender: Male
Re: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2020, 11:07:20 am »
Acebird and Oldbeavo, thank you.  GOOD suggestions.
"Good will is the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." - Eli Siegel, American educator, poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Offline Seeb

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 361
  • Gender: Female
Re: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2020, 01:15:32 pm »
what do you do when you have too many queens, kill them, let them fly?

Offline Oldbeavo

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 587
  • Gender: Male
Re: How to be sure your swarm has a queen?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2020, 06:46:27 am »
In a commercial situation if you have a lot of queens, just make nucs till you run out. One frame of brood, one of honey and an empty frame in a 3 frame nuc.
I don't think I can think when I have had too many nucs at the end of a season.