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woody
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« on: May 29, 2008, 08:06:55 PM »

Hello all, I'm new to forum and bee keeping as well.  And i had a question. I started keeping bees last June. They made the winter OK and my bees swarmed today. I caught as many as I could (they were very high in tree)  including the queen from swarm. Put all bees and queen into an empty hive. Checked on them after work and the hive is almost empty now and i cant find the queen. So i looked in hive that swarm came from and didn't see queen in there either. Not sure what to do next. I f the bees swarm does that mean there had to be a new queen in the hive before old queen would leave? Because i cant find a queen in either. Please Help.
                                                                                                                                Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you, Woody
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2008, 09:07:57 PM »

Absconding is when they all leave with the primary queen.

But usually they will make swarm cells, have a primary swarm with the laying queen, and they may have more after swarms from there with one or more virgin queens.

Usually you will wind up with a virgin queen and less numbers of bees. Virgins are harder to spot.

In your scenario, you may have caught an afterswarm with a virgin(which are very flighty, and prone to leave) and she flew the coop with your bees.

Or, they just didn't like the setup and swarmed back out.

When housing swarms, you want to make the new set up as attractive as possible. Usually, they are very accepting if you place a brood frame from another hive in the new hive. Drawn frames work as do honey frames as well. They also like old comb.

After you house them, an entrance reducer with grass stuffed in front of the opening will convince them usually, to stay put.


...JP
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woody
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2008, 09:19:46 PM »

The queen i found with (what I'm calling swarm maybe incorrectly) was marked so i know she was my original queen. Also i removed all queen cells because a friend said i should. Hopefully i didn't make a mistake..... Would the queen that left the original hive return there? Does a virgin queen look different until she mates? should i order new queens for both hives.?
                                                                 Thank you for your replies, woody

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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2008, 12:38:05 AM »

The queen i found with (what I'm calling swarm maybe incorrectly) was marked so i know she was my original queen. Also i removed all queen cells because a friend said i should. Hopefully i didn't make a mistake..... Would the queen that left the original hive return there? Does a virgin queen look different until she mates? should i order new queens for both hives.?
                                                                 Thank you for your replies, woody

Removing queen cells once they are developed past the cup stage (have eggs or larvae in them) can be problematic.  The old queen will often swarm out of the hive BEFORE the replacement queens hatch, removing them can leave the hive queenless.  So unless you are fortunate enough to capture the swarm with the old queen removing queen cells is a very bad idea.  It is tantamount to tossing the baby out with the bath water. 
I've known of cases, personal experience, where the old queen swarms before the replacement cells have even been capped.

Best advise: Never Ever destroy queen cells.  Use them to make nucs and recombine if necessary but don't destroy them.  Destroying almost guarantees a queenless hive.

Also a point of information: If a swarm lands near its point of origin it is almost always a very short period of "taking stock" before moving to a predetermined site.  If the bees had already decided on a new home the only way to have kept them in the box was using an excluder between the hive body and the bottom board as an includer--inprisoning the queen.  2nd best is to hive them into a hive with a frame of mixed brood.  In your instance they had a home already selected and they preferred it to the alternative to provided, happens often.
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Cindi
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2008, 09:18:24 AM »

Woody, welcome to our forum, you have already discovered that this is the great place to get answers to your questions.   We are a friendly group.  Ask all the questions you need to, no question is ever considered irrelevant or dumb, they are all good.  Good luck with getting the answers you require, they will come.  Have that great and wonderful day, Cindi
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