How long for swarm to establish into a normal hive?

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aperritt
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:54 pm

How long for swarm to establish into a normal hive?

Post by aperritt » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:18 pm

Thanks all for this valuable resource here!

First time beekeeper - took January course, read every book the library had and many forums, got flow hive in Aug, caught swarm in Oct. Now I'm in the thick of it!!

Q: How long does it take to get a swarm established? I'll add some photos for context. As this is my first hive I'm not exactly sure what to expect and many books don't really start right at the beginning! More about managing existing hives etc.

This is them at 10 days: building comb on about 2-3 frames and using the wax foundation
DSCN8040.JPG[/attachment This is them 13 days later: Definitely see little eggs (see pic): [attachment=5]DSCN8284.JPG
Is this a supercedure or emergency queen cell??
DSCN8287.JPG
Queen cell??
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This is 10 days later: Now there is lots of them so I'm thinking they are drone cells?
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Lots of drone cells?
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Many more drones?
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Great looking brood in the big cells:
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Brood in drone cells?
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Also normal looking brood in worker cells: (None capped yet though)
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Worker brood not capped
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Does this look ok? I wish I had a "buddy" to help but I'm on my own (unless someone wants to volunteer!) so just making sure this is correct. It sometimes seem hard to know a drone from a queen cell so I'm wondering if they will supersede not long after the swarming? I've had recommendations to requeen with a swarm to ensure proper genetics. If they do it anyway then I probably won't worry about it. Can't seem to ever find her anyway and finding and squishing her seems a hard task!! The egg laying just seems to be sporadic and not in those beautiful little circles like they show in the books.

Advice is appreciated. Thanks all! Blackberry is just starting to bloom on the property so I'm hoping they get the colony established in time to take advantage of that!
Attachments
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Eggs
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10 days in hive
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Dick
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:43 pm

Re: How long for swarm to establish into a normal hive?

Post by Dick » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:40 am

The colony doesn't seem to have a queen but a laying worker (or laying workers) has tried to take over the role. Laying workers can only lay unfertilised eggs that develop into drones.

There is no worker brood, only drone brood and I can see more than one egg per cell. The bigger cell is known as a play cup and is kept on hand to build a queen cell in case the colony wants to replace a queen urgently. In your colony, it won't have any fertilised eggs to use.

Unfortunately, the colony is doomed.

As you probably don't have any extra bee boxes, the only solution I can suggest is to get hold of another swarm in a cardboard box, take the terminal hive 20 metres away, shake all the bees off, return the hive to its original position and then pour the swarm into the original box and frames.

Laying workers can't fly allegedly but the other bees will get back to the hive and won't fight with the new swarm hopefully.

Good luck.

laurie
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:35 am
Location: Theodore ACT

Re: How long for swarm to establish into a normal hive?

Post by laurie » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:19 pm

Hi
I'm not sure it's quite as dire a situation as Dick is describing.
Eg it looks more like a young queen to me than laying worker.
Laying workers would normally take quite a bit longer than 13 days of queenlesness to start.
The capped cells that bulge out past the end of the comb can also be a factor if the queen eagerly laying in them when the comb is only partially drawn out which can occur if its a small swarm with limited capacity to draw cells.

That said.. if it's a small swarm and a queen not really getting into rhythm they would probably benefit from a boost of numbers anyway.

Whereabouts are you located aperrit?
If it's anywhere near Theodore I could perhaps help you out with one of my swarms to merge with them.

Dick
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:43 pm

Re: How long for swarm to establish into a normal hive?

Post by Dick » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:35 pm

I am pleased that you commented Laurie because it is difficult to know if it is a laying worker or malfunctioning queen. Discussion is helpful. The reasons I think it is a laying worker is the complete lack of any normal looking worker brood and multiple eggs in cells. The first photo was taken after 10 days and a second photo 13 days later making 23 days.

laurie
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:35 am
Location: Theodore ACT

Re: How long for swarm to establish into a normal hive?

Post by laurie » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:21 pm

Lol.. yes 23 days makes a big difference vs 13.
Not sure if I can blame that on my lack of reading comprehension skills (on a phone) or lack of arithmetic skills (a maths degree doesn't mean I can add .. sad).

Sadly a hive with drone layers is really difficult to recover and even then the best you can reasonably aim for is for the remaining bees to boost another queen right colony.

The offer of another established swarm still stands aperritt, if you can work out the logistics to collect it (and either swap or cover my costs on the frames).

What you'd then do is put the new colony where your current one is and on a warm day dump the bees out of your old one 5-10 metres away so everything but the laying workers (hopefully) fly home and join the new hive

Laurie

aperritt
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:54 pm

Re: How long for swarm to establish into a normal hive?

Post by aperritt » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:15 pm

Thank you so much for your comments and help! I was actually suspicious that this might be the case which is why I've posted on here. Here's two more photos to compare. I was worried at first there was no worker brood but in these I notice them fairly easily and they aren't built up as the other drone cells around them.
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Normal brood in cells surround drone
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This one has normal looking (worker?) brood right in the middle
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Two good brood right in the middle
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The strange placement of the drones still sets me off that something is amiss, whether it's just an old queen or the colony is actually not queenright.
I may need to take you up on your offer Laurie. I'm in Carwoola (outside Queanbeyan) and happy to travel. Home with the kids so very flexible. Obviously this weather isn't the best for anything but once it warms up we might have an opportunity to meet. Not sure how to do private messages in this forum?
Thank you again for your help!

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