Swarm Season part two

Well, I got into the beehives this morning. Some of them at least.

I think I found the hive that sent a swarm out yesterday. The hive in question had six queen cells in it, three that were capped, the other three were “charged”. Meaning the egg was in the queen cup and the nurse bees had been feeding it royal jelly.

The time from an egg being laid to new queen bee emergence is an average of 16 days. On average, the new queen spends 3 days as an egg, the larva is capped around day 8, and the adult queen emerges on day 16.

A swarming hive will leave with the old queen with thousands of bees once the queen cup is capped. So I expect for any capped cells to emerge in one week—next Saturday/Sunday.

Finding queen cells takes planning before action.

The hive was still chock full of bees. If, after the swarm, I thought I would have a weak hive — I would have done things differently..but as I said the hive was chock full of bees, there were larvae, but no eggs. There was no queen as she left yesterday. There was lots of capped brood, in this three boxes deep hive and seven frames of almost capped honey.

So I made splits. I took a frame with 3 queen cells – 1 queen cell that was capped and made a medium 5 frame nuc (a small hive).

I made a totally new hive with another frame with queen cells. I gave it frames of capped brood, nurse bees and I didn’t shake off the worker bees, hopefully they will reorient and come home to the right hive. I filled the new hive box with frames that I had removed last year when I reduced the hives for winter or frames from the freezer that I had harvest honey from. I also gave it a super (extra box) full of bees from the main hive, that also had larvae and capped worker cells.

That was hive 7 of 9. The seven previous hives also got remodeled. Extra boxes on a few, checkerboarded frames in others. I have some good laying queens.

I will get to the other two hives tomorrow. As three hours in the bee yard almost killed me.

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