View Full Version : cast swarms

Oct 23rd 2010, 06:08 PM
Hi there
My hive threw a cast swarm yesterday, which I managed to collect. They are currently coming and going quite happily from a cardboard box. Can anyone tell me if itís worth keeping them? Presumably there is a virgin Queen with them
AND- on a related note, when I inspected the hive they came me from I found several Queen cells which I obviously missed after the primary swarm last week. I destroyed all but 2 of these. Is this safe in terms of another cast swarm occurring or should I destroy 1 of the remaining g 2 queen cells?
Hope someone here can help.

Oct 23rd 2010, 07:04 PM
i wouldnt destroy any queen cell The new queen of the hive will usually chew a hole in the side of the other queen cells and kill them before they hatch. Another cast swarm could be a possibility have seen hives throw several after swarms after the primary swarm has issued. Im not sure what season you are in in new zealand but if it is spring or a mild climate it couldnt hurt to try to get the swarm to build up into a good hive. you dont have anything to lose by trying but a whole lot of experience to gain.

Oct 24th 2010, 06:30 AM
The swarm you caught will have the old queen in it (providing this is the first swarm and not an after swarm). Hive them and feed them, they should start building right away.

If you tear out the queen cells from the original hive you could come up queenless!! This is where the virgin queen will be. Look for eggs in about 20 to 30 days, it will take her that long to mature, go on her mating flight and fatten up to start laying.

As rat said also, what season are you in?

Good luck with them and let us know how things turn out for you.

Welcome to the forum also!!

Oct 24th 2010, 06:48 AM
I think what you are calling a cast swarm we call an after swarm here. it seems to me once a hive begins generating after swarms they don't seem to know when to stop and some culling of cells is likely a worthwhile path. weighting against this is any disturbance of the hive with a virgin and very little 'green' brood risk the hazard of the hive murdering the virgin queen.

culling cell is quite understandable in this case. for myself I would not cull down to one cell... two or three would be the number I would like to leave.

Oct 24th 2010, 09:31 AM
I see you made reference to the primary swarm, meaning you know the difference between the prime or swarm that leaves with from 40 to 60% of the workforce to the after swarms that range from a few thousand to a few hundred workers and are headed by virgin queens. In case you don't--the prime swarm will be very much larger then the after swarms will comfortably fill a single deep brood chamber. A after swarm will have problems covering 3 frames. Prime swarm since the queen is already mated ( old queen ), egg laying will commence immediately you will see brood within 1 - 1 1/2 weeks I mean larvae and eggs. The after swarm will not produce eggs, until about 2 weeks because the queen is virgin, and will have to make mating flights. I am making the assumption is mid to late spring there where you are. Knowing that, you need to allow atleast one queen to hatch out.. Hope it helps.

Oct 25th 2010, 07:55 PM
Thanks all
I've set them up in a new brood box and they are happiliy coming and going. I now have 3 hives containing virgin queens, meaning a lot of roaring bees!