By John Gaut
We had a lot of swarms again this year. I have had a lot of questions about “queenless” colonies. Often, I suggested the colony was not really queenless, the new queen just had not started laying yet.
Also, a colony that supercedes the queen will look queenless for several weeks.
I use an Excel spreadsheet to manage my queen rearing schedule. I simplified the Excel sheet so it could be used to predict the dates a new queen would begin laying eggs after a swarming or supercedure event. While the predicted dates may vary due to several factors, you can see it really takes about 3 to 4 weeks before the new queen starts laying! This means the colony will be broodless for a while; a few days or a week.
Here is an example: June 1 entered into the YELLOW area and the rest of the dates were calculated in the spreadsheet.
Download the spreadsheet from below and try it!