Jump to content
NZ Beekeepers +
Lawrence Smith

Two swarms or one?

Recommended Posts

Hi All

 

Got a call at lunch that one of my hives had swarmed, so home I went to collect it. Must have missed a swarm cell 10 days ago, ######!

 

Anyway, it had formed into two balls.  Wrangled them into two separate Nucs, as I was unsure if there were two queens or one (didn’t see a queen). Letting them settle down in before I take a closer look. But, is this likely to be two queens, or simply one swarm that has split for some reason?

 

Cheers

Lawrence

IMG_20171012_125208.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yesbut    3,476

You'll find out. An old Q will start laying as soon as cells are made, a virgin Q could take up to a couple of weeks to lay. 

  • Good Info 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dropped a couple of drawn frames in each Nuc, so that should help speed things up. But I guess the question is, assuming that this is a single swarm from one hive, does the fact it split mean there might be two queens? I did consider dropping them all into a single box, but thought two Nucs gave me more options ... 

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yesbut    3,476

I  think there's likely to be two Qs. Ie it's two swarms, not one.  

And conventional wisdom is that you don't give swarms drawn comb, just foundation. In case the honey the bees have brought with them contains AFB spores.

The idea is that the bees incorporate their on board stores into wax rather than feeding it to brood. 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yesbut    3,476

However if they came from your own presumably  clean hive then foundation or drawn comb is neither here nor there. And virgin Q's can be hard to spot

they're not  much longer than workers, just a bit broader.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah right, yes that makes sense regarding the frames. They were empty frames from the same box, but still, good point. Thanks!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rob Stockley    2,756

When the old queen leaves the cells have only just been capped. The cells all emerge about the same time  five days later.  Two swarms with two queens suggests after swarms.

  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Rob, that was always a question I had, it's the old queen that has left not newly hatched one(s)? In which case, this swarm might have just split and needs combining into a single box? I'll fully inspect the hive in the weekend and see what's happening. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
M4tt    2,597
6 minutes ago, Lawrence Smith said:

In which case, this swarm might have just split and needs combining into a single box? 

It’s hard to know . One , or both may fly away by the weekend leaving your questions unanswered . Then again they may not .

One thing is for sure though , if you had put two queens from two swarms in one box , at least one of them would fly away and take Bees with them 

Edited by M4tt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChrisM    597

I do give them one comb to give them something to cluster around and as a bit of steering guidance as I'm foundationless, they still have a lot of wax to draw. I keep the two halves separate and assume they each contain an unmated virgin until proven otherwise, but these days I now sometimes see the queen while collecting and if it is like the one I got today with a big yellow dot on her, then I'm confident its mated! I give them an OA vapourisation after a few days maybe 3 days after they are hived, but any treatment strips would be fine, a lot of people give them 48hrs on Bayvarol. It could be that you have two virgin queens and that one does not make it back from a mating flight or any number of things. But I would avoid opening them up and just wait about 10 days to 2 weeks. This gives the queen some time to mate and it gives the bees some time to draw comb. Being that they were young bees, they'll start to become old bees so having left them alone, then is the time act.  The picture should be pretty clear at that point whether to combine or keep apart. Also by that time they have run out of food if the weather is bad. We had one swarm that was 60/40 split, but it turned out to have only one queen. I think the queen had moved and a lot of bees were hanging around the original spot, whereas 60% had moved with her to the new spot. I'd expect the queen to be in the downwind spot  and/or the lower down spot most likely.

  • Like 1
  • Good Info 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
frazzledfozzle    4,660

I have had swarms with the old queen in the biggest cluster and a virgin in a very small cluster often on the ground very close by. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eMpTy    6

I had a similar swarm last year, wasn't sure if 2 or 1. I put them in separate nut boxes next to each other. When I went back a couple of days later one box was empty and the other was full. I guess that there was only one queen and they combined themselves. 

 

  • Like 2
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×