Bumping this up from swarming thread below as these issues are on my mind.
I installed 3 packages on completely drawn out comb, with ample honey stores that were left over from my two hives that had dwindled away
Upon inspection 5 weeks out (May 20th) one hive appeared queenless (...had a small swarm already left?
) and there was one queen cel
l; which the mentor I had inspecting for me (bum knee...completely different story...
) cut out
(He is of the persuasion that queen cells in general should be removed...completely different discussion
When I looked in on them last Thursday, just 8 days after last inspection, there were at least 5 queen cells, two of which were so ripe and ready I swear I could see the queens inside.
I (not realizing these were swarm cells) thought they were/had simply superceded their queen and I just needed to wait and see...
Queen (s) hatched and started piping on Saturday. We really enjoyed hearing that and learning more about it. BUT it didn't sink in when I read about piping indicating swarming
in my oldtimers bee guide by L.L.Langstroth...I was more worried about her killing her foes, taking a mating flight and returning safely.
OF COURSE Tuesday, (the day I am in town) the little buggers swarmed! (right on sched according to Lanstroth "swarming occurs 3 days after piping is heard"
) I came home to a nearly empty hive!!!
LUCKILY it was a EZ beginner swarm; just 5 ft up in a baby fir tree, and I had a gifted assistant who was calm and quick thinking. We easily transferred an impressive (for package bees 6 weeks old) swarm into a single deep and moved what was left in the old hive, to a nuc with an extra frame of brood/eggs robbed from one of the queenrite hives. I still have a burning question about the mating flight. WHEN, in this instance, does it take place?? The day they swarmed? OR Now, this week, AFTER they have swarmed?
(rainy and cold now..)
All in all swarming is pretty exciting. And know, I know little about this craft. In fact, the longer I do it, it seems the less I know, and the more variables I am made aware of. And regarding packages swarming less than 8 weeks after installation, my hunch is, that by installing them on drawn comb, with ample stores, I may have encouraged them to swarm..
BTW lovelovelove this forum. Read something interesting here everyday!