It's been three weeks and two days since I hived two packages.
I checked both hives yesterday and one hive had one capped queen cell and the other hive had four of them, all on the upper 2/3 of the frames. I removed all five (was that the right thing to do??), but should I order another queen for them? Any recommended suppliers of Italian queens? I'll read up on the logistics of how to requeen, but I just wanted to know what everyone else's experience said (since I have so little!). In both hives, they have about six frames drawn out, with capped brood and syrup and pollen too. I don't plan on going in again for another week or so and then just to add syrup and hopefully the frames in the second deep.
I've read that you should never let a hive requeen itself, and I really want to manage them well, but I also want to interfere in their natural processes as little as possible. I also am concerned about the questionable genetics of letting them requeen themselves.
What you have discribed is not common and the remedy could be several directions. I would of left the queen cells due to thier location which suggests queen replacement vs. swarming.
Knowing you removed the capped queen cells, wait to see if they replace those right away. If brood production is full blast, then wait to see there next move. If brood is weak or spotty, they may be wanting to replace queen themselves. Not enough p-mones. They have a natural way of correcting thier own problems.
If they build more right away, you can count the days and pinch the old queen several days prior to queen cells popping. For genetic purposes, you can replace a queen at anytime, but why do this until you have to. If you replace a queen everytime you think there's a problem, you miss out on other exciting beekeeper experiences.
The big question to this, is your queen healthy and doing her job?
Are you shoer der are queen cells? And not drone cells?
Zig- I am sure they are queen cells, I have also seen a few drone cells capped in there and the look like fat little bullet cells. But these queen cells stuck way off the comb, and were bumpy like a peanut, about the size of the end of my pinky finger. Also, they look exactly like the photos I've seen of queen cells. When I cut them out, there was lots of white royal jelly in there too.
Did you see the original queen? Did you see eggs as well as brood? If there are no eggs, and you pinched all queen cells, you must re-queen. ASAP. You could give them brood/eggs from the other hive, but if both are queenless, you are out of luck. In MN, the season is so short,that requeening seems the best way, especially for a beginner. Am going to try raising my own queens, but can only learn so much at a time. If you didn't see eggs (maybe double check to be sure) I would order new ones right away. I wouldn't wait a week to reinspect if you don't have to, a newly hived package will lose a lot in a week with no new eggs or brood. Seems to be a rough spring all over for bees and queens. Good luck
I saw the really teeny eggs when I saw the queen cells, and I saw the queen. She looked fine, walking across the comb. I didn't see her laying eggs, but I didn't keep out the frame she was on for long. Maybe they haven't drawn out comb fast enough so she has no place to lay more eggs and they interpret that as her failing to lay enough. Maybe I'm thinking about it too much.
Basically I agree with Bjorn. If they really want to make a new queen, I'd let them. I don't think they are swarming, and if you kill the old queen they won't have an old queen to lead one anyway. If they don't decide to make a new queen again, then that's fine too. Mine built two queen cells six days ago, and were feeding the larvae in them but tore them down yesterday. I think it's because the queen has a game leg that they wanted to supercede, but she's laying up a storm so I think they changed their mind.
If you think the hive is doing well enough, and if they rebuild the queen cells you could also just pull the queen and a frame of bees and a frame of honey and pollen out and start a nuc instead of killing the old one.
All in all, the bees usually resolve everything themselves, so why not just let them?
hives have been requeening themselves for millions of years.
Good advice all around. We're having some crappy spring weather here for the next few days, so I'll just wait and see what the bees are going to do-