View Full Version : Supersede or Swarm?

05-10-2002, 05:26 AM
Looked at my 2 well behaved colonies recently and am I confused!

Colony 1 (best queen) on 1 & half brood boxes, found 2 queen cells
(with very young larvae) on the bottom of a top shallow frame.
I thought supersedure cells were usually in the middle of a frame and
swarm cells were more numerous. So what are these?? The Queen still
looks good and is laying masses of eggs.

Colony 2 on 1 brood box, again 2 queen cells, 1
sealed (missed my last inspection) in middle of 1 frame. Are these
supersedure cells for sure? In my inexperienced panic I did an
artificial swarm (can't afford to lose a swarm with my
neighbours) I
took the frame with the queen and put it in a new brood box with
fresh foundation. The queen looked as big as ever and the brood pattern was
excellent but there were few eggs (could be lack of space)

If these were supersedure cells will my bees make another?
Is there a 'sure fire' way of telling the difference between swarm cells and supersedure cells? (has to be fail safe)

(Berkshire UK)

05-15-2002, 01:40 PM
Good questions. My hives are doing the same things. Don't know whether to cut out these cells or leave them so the bees can replace my new, packaged queen. Hope someone here has answers.

Robert Brenchley
05-16-2002, 02:25 PM
I've had my share of panics too, and swarms due to bees I've split and left with a capped cell promptly raising more cells. I worry about neighbours myself, but I recovered a swarm from a neighbour's garden yesterday and he was just glad to see the back of them.

What I suggest (this is what I've now determined ondoing in future) is to find the queen and cage her temporarily. Lift the broodbox aside, and put another in its place. Put one frame of brood in the new box, after breaking down any queen cells. Fill it up with comb if you have any, otherwise foundation. Put in the queen, add an excluder and a super. then add a second excluder and the old broodbox, with an entrance facing to the rear. Break down all cells but one. Check a few days later, if your bees are anything like mine, to ensure that they aren't raising another crop of cells. They should raise a new queen in the upper box, and you then have various options; you can use her to requeen, run it as a two-queen hive, introduce her elsewhere, what you will.


Robert Brenchley

Birmingham UK

05-22-2002, 05:15 PM
I was just reading about this today. According to Dadant's Booklet #2 "Package Bees", typically supercedure cells are few in number and are all at about the same stage of development. Swarm cells, however, are numerous and are usually located along the bottom of a frame. These are in varying stages of development, some capped, some larval, etc...

Hope this helps.