An Artificial Swarm Revisited

Two days ago, I took another look at my half-baked artificial swarm from 10 days ago.

It’s a 17-minute video.

00:00 – Talkin’ intro (2 mins).
02:25 – Old queen cups.
02:50 – Torn open swarm cell.
03:20 – Pulling frames.
04:00 – Close shots of bees on comb.
09:15 – Wax dust.
10:50 – Summary of artificial swarm.
12:15 – Funky comb.
12:50 – Festooning.
14:00 – A swarm cell or supersedure cell.
14:30 – Fresh brood and capped brood.
15:50 – Summary.

The half of the artificial swarm that didn’t have a queen but had loads of swarm cells and brood 10 days ago now has a whole bunch of torn open swarm cells, indicating that a queen has emerged. Hopefully she’ll be mated by next weekend. She will be a very late season queen, and honestly I’d rather not have to deal with this right now.

The half of the artificial swarm that was left with the original queen but no brood (starts around the 12-minute mark in the video) now has some fresh and capped brood. Which makes sense. The queen would have been within a day or two of swarming when I created the artificial swarm. The capped worker brood would have been eggs about 10 days ago, so the queen was still laying when I created my half-baked artificial swarm. The fresh brood I spotted — I didn’t look at it too closely but I could see royal jelly in the cells — tells me the queen was probably laying within the past few days.

So it looks good except for the single uncapped swarm cell, possibly supersedure cell, that I found. I destroyed the cell because whether it’s a swarm cell or a supersedure cell, I can’t wait another month for a new queen to develop, mate and then maybe turn into a viable queen. I’m not rolling that dice this late in the year. By destroying the queen cell, I may have made the colony queenless, but I’d rather deal with that than a late-season queen that may or may not mate well. If it comes to it, I’ll combine the possibly queenless colony with another colony that could use a boost going into winter.

Phew. Done. See you next weekend.