I never checked on the hive. The one day I could I had to be gone all day, and the other days it has been raining. Crazy weather for us. Also, the young man that works for me doing odd jobs is allergic to bees so I won't disturb the hives when he is here.
So this week he is limbing trees for me and he comes to the house and tells me that there is a ball of really ticked off bees clinging to a tree. Well it was a swarm that had just landed and he was a tad bit paranoid, for good reason. They really weren't angry bees and a swarm typically is not aggressive as they have nothing to protect. He went home and I got out my bee vac and sucked them up and dumped them in an empty hive. So now I have another hive. Not exactly the way to increase my bees but better than having them disappear. It was raining here again today but tomorrow I will try and check the hives and start feeding the captured swarm.
The day before the swarm I was working outside and all of sudden the sky was just full of bees around the hive, you could hear them from 50' away; I think the entire hive was in the air. The ground in front of the hive was just a huge pile of bees; about a 4" x 12" mound of bees. I thought they were going to swarm but then they just all started to go back into the hive, strangest thing. Again, I couldn't check them as the guy was here working for me.
Sounds like maybe they were on a practice swarm? Then swarmed a day later. If you have a virgin queen in your hive, it would be best to stay out of it for a couple of weeks, so she can get mated and start laying.
So here's the deal, I have bees, lots of bees. I have captured 3 swarms, from my own hives. The last one I captured last night and it didn't go as well. They were in my cherry tree and I vacuumed them up as before but this time they were sticky and wet and many of them didn't make it. No idea what that was from and no idea if I got the queen alive but they are in the hive and acting like bees.
I have had a young man here working that is allergic to bees so I don't go into a hive when he is here, so finally this morning I checked on the two original hives. One had no less than 4 empty queen cells and no apparent queen. There was some drone brood but not much; no other brood. I am so confused about this. Why would a hive make queens and yet leave with her, why hasn't one stayed?
Let's just say for the sake of discussion that the original queen was the one I found outside of the hive. If the hive had brood when she died they would have made a queen and I shouldn't have laying workers. And the presence of brood should have prevented laying workers. So why no brood now? Is the virgin queen leaving for her flights and the hive is following her? Am I preventing her from returning when I capture the swarm?
They aren't supposed to follow her.
I bought a queen today and will put her in in the morning and hope it goes ok.
The other hive had no queen cells but not much brood either. It was very spotty so I will be requeening soon.
My guess is you have a virgin queen in there getting mated. Michael bush has a page on how long it can take to see a queen laying. I think it's 21 days, but not sure on that. After she mates, she has to harden for a few days before she starts laying.
That hive has swarmed at least three times which is crazy. It has been about 10 days since the first swarm left. I searched and searched for a queen today and didn't see one anywhere. Only a little bit of drone brood, nothing else. The drone brood makes me a little nervous, no eggs so where did it come from? This is also the hive that the dead queen came from about 3 weeks ago. Maybe I made the wrong choice but I did put a queen in. Time will tell.
The other hive that I though only had a little brood...well was I wrong about that. The top deep which I assumed was honey is packed with brood, 9 frames full of the stuff. I did see the queen in the bottom box which doesn't have much brood at all. I gave them a third deep and a super. No queen cells being made anywhere but they were quickly going to be out of laying room.
One of the captured swarms is very very small, but I did see the queen. Could I give this hive a couple of frames of brood from the other hive to help it out?
The next captured swarm I checked has bees galore, this is one where I killed a bunch when I captured it. No queen to be found, maybe I killed her...I will check it again next week.
The third swarm I didn't check on, I was too hot by that time. They appear to be doing bee things.
I don't want 5 hives, but I guess I have them. I also have a hive at a friend's house but last time I checked it it appeared to have a laying worker. I need to visit it.
You can add a frame of brood. You can add it without bees if there are enough bees to cover the brood. I'd probably try to get mostly capped brood to boost their numbers sooner. Or you can include nurse bees, just make sure you don't have a queen on the frame. Are you feeding the small swarm?
I'm starting to get nervous about mine swarming. We are in the middle of the blackberry flow. Fingers crossed for no swarm! Or if they do, I'm able to catch it.