How Long After a Swarm Should I See Signs of a Queen?
Ask the Expert!
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Scott from Texas asks?
I had a hive swarm and the colony that stayed behind appears to be queenless 30 days after the swarm. What should I do?
Rusty Burlew replies:
You are right that 30 days seems too long.
The time can be shorter if all goes perfectly, or much longer if you’ve had a long stretch of bad weather. Thirty days is possible, but not at all common. However, with no open brood in the hive, the workers will soon begin to lay eggs, which is something you want to avoid if at all possible.
If you have another colony, it would be best to transfer some uncapped brood, including eggs and larvae, into your queenless colony as soon as possible. This has two benefits. The pheromones from the open brood will suppress the workers’ ovaries and keep them from laying. And a supply of eggs or very young larvae will give the workers the material they need to raise another queen.
If you don’t have another colony, you should order a mated queen as soon as you can. Your new queen may have died on a mating flight, she may have gotten eaten, or perhaps she didn’t emerge at all. All sorts of things can go wrong. Just make sure you need a queen before you introduce a new one. Look carefully for eggs with the sunlight coming over your shoulder so you can see down into the cells. If you’re sure you have no queen, go ahead and replace her.