I started from a 5 frame nuc in late May, my first bees .My hive swarmed right before or after the hurricane. A week before it was looking great, a 10 frame deep 95% built out, plenty of brood ( all stages), plenty of pollen, nectar, honey and bee bread. Also a 10 frame super on top 20% drawn out. There were 3 queen cells between frames on the brood nest with large larva in them, so I knew something was up, but not why or how to stop it. Post storm saw few bees on the porch, will pre-storm saw hundreds every day for months. Last weekends inspection was a shock, 75% or more of the bees gone, and no new queens ( or evidence of them, larva, etc.) in sight. What do I do now ? I see no new queen cells, just the last of the capped brood coming out. Where do I find a queen or nuc at this time of the year ? What else can I learn from this ?
Bruce, It is a good possibility that they swarmed a 2nd time. The hurricane had thrown the hive off due to the timing of the queen cells with the hurricane.
If you go to the Buy, Sell, Trade there are times that beekeepers are sell a nuc, hive and/or a queen.
If the 10 frame deep was 95% build out, they most likely had no more room to raise brood. I would have pulled two frames of brood and one with honey/ pollen and started a nuc.
You could also placed another 10 frame deep on top of the other 10 frame. One problem, is that also of the times the bees temperament changes and it could get very unpleasant to work with. When that happens then you split the hive, making 2 hives with one 10 frame deep. One will end up with the queen and the other will raise one. Just make sure that both have eggs in them (so you don't have to look for the queen only if necessary) along with the honey/pollen.
Also, if you can manage, always have more than one hive. You can use hive manipulations to help a hive that ends up in this situation.
I hope that this answer helps!
Was there a queen excluder between brood box and super? And once the swarm process has begun, and by the time you saw those queen cells it gad been underway for a couple of weeks, you can't really stop it. But you can make even multiple splits and basically remove a bunch of resources along with the queen cells and the parent colony might not swarm, or they might. As suggested above, make sure there eggs there so they can make more.
And if you are hot for some bees I got a swarm box about to bust open after the Pepper flow that I'll give to you. has to bee soon tho.
Thanks for all the info, It is very helpful !! There was an excluder between the boxes, I think if there was not, the swarm may not have happened as there would have been room to expand the brood nest. I may very grateful for the responses, I have read and reread the books and magazines I have, but hands on and local knowledge sure beats them. I am looking to continue down the Bee road, so I would like to have more but they do not have to be free bees. I live in Jupiter Farms and have a very flexible schedule so let me know what works best for you.