What I find interesting about these early swarms is that based on my observations I think they are unlikely to be rewarded for such a risk. It is still a bit early for successful queen mating with the first wave of drones still a week or more away from sexual maturity and nice weather spotty at best. Perhaps they might get lucky with rolling the dice, but I would think Mother nature would punish such behavior. I'd be curious to get a peak into some of these early swarm hives to see how their drones are looking.
Hive checks (4/12/2014)
They are building up quickly and had a few drones moving around and more on the way. They are using about 60% of the hive at this point and there were some signs that they might be back-filling a bit and had a surplus of pollen stored. I also noticed some practice queen cups showing up. I added one empty bar to see if they would start building comb with the light flow that's going right now.
The broodnest is about the same as the last time I looked at them and they are being fairly conservative in building up and only using about 25% of the hive. I did see a few bees with DWV and I suspect that is contributing to the slower buildup pace.
They have good numbers and lots of activity. They are using about 50% of the hive and I found the queen laying eggs outside of the broodnest area on old honey combs that were empty. Usually you don't find the queen on the first frame you look at in the back but if that's where there are empty cells left then it makes sense she would go there. I did see some sign of backfilling but not like the Rosemary hive. Most concerning was I did see more bees with DWV on this inspection which may be an indicator they aren't going to be able to knock it down quickly and I will need to keep an eye one them that they don't start to collapse. This hive has always appeared to be more resistant to issues so I'm curious to see how they do with this outbreak.
You can see that there is pollen and nectar backfilled into the center of the broodnest in this photo. If this was mostly nectar and repeated on other frames I would take steps to prevent swarming.
Back to the bees,