We did a check on the hives and wanted to find out which one swarmed.
All the hives are flourishing, even the captured swarm has started building out comb. We went through the “swarm” hive and could not find the queen or any evidence of new brood (eggs). Which is not unexpected since they had only been in their new home less than a week. But to be on the safe side Liz went into one of the other hives and found a frame that had some brood that was just a few days old. She then knocked off any bees that were on the frame back into their hive and transferred the frame to our “swarm” hive. The hope being that if there is no queen they can foster one out of the few day old brood. If she was there no harm they will just raise the brood as their own.
See the white larvae in the open holes?
The old hive was the one that swarmed. No surprise.
You can tell by going through the hive and looking for a queen cell.
If a hive decides it’s time to swarm a number of queen cells are started, these look like a peanut husk, usually at the bottom of the frames between the first and second box, plus one or two in the center of the frames. Once these are started the bees will begin reducing the egg-laying of the queen, by reducing the amount of food fed to her. This has the effect of slimming her down ready for flight, which causes problems for beekeepers when it is necessary to find her, as she will be not much bigger than a regular bee, just a different color. Which is another reason possibility of why we couldn’t find her int he swarmed hive?
Can you see the queen cell in the middle in the top photo and on the edge of the bottom?
Even though this hive had a swarm and lost half of its occupants it is still doing very well. It is loaded with brood which will help increase their numbers and they have started capping off frames of honey. Hopefully, in the next month, I may be harvesting my first batch of honey.
We also added a few new boxes. The towers are getting taller which is a sign of healthy hives!