We have a new hive in its fourth week. Everything looked good when we checked it last night: all but 3 frames drawn, open and capped brood (don't appear to be drone cells), sugar water stores, pollen stores, etc. However, we found what appered to be a supercedure cell in the middle of one frame. We cut it off, but I'm wondering if we have a problem. I thought this only happened when the workers think there is a problem with the queen. Any ideas?
Read in the Bee Forum post "swarm cells". I learned alot from what happened to me. If you have 7 frames drawn you might want to super soon. Just don't forget that you can put all the room in the world on top of your brood box, but if the bees start filling the brood box with honey and the queen can't find places to lay eggs they will swarm. When you open your hives back up, look to make sure the queen has plenty of cone to lay eggs on.
Thanks Billy Bob,
There's a lot of good information there. One question I still have is did you have swarm cells or supercedure cells? My understanding is swarm cells are along the bottom of the frames while supercedure cells are in the middle. I think what I'll try for now is the idea of putting an empty frame from the second brood chamber we just added down into the middle of the first brood chamber.
Your hive may be getting bound. Take a frame of foundation from the side and add dead center of the colony. This is a method know as opening opening up it can be done with a comb too. Your queen may be out of available space to lay which can trigger swarming. The bees should draw that frame of foundation very quickly. I'd add a second brood chamber at the same time. Come back in a few days. Take a frame of foundation from the top brood box put it in the bottom between two brood combs that are drawn and pull one drawn comb up into the top to bait it if the bees haven't started there yet.
So in the future when you have a colony that seems to be stuck and just won't expand. Add a comb or frame of foundation to the center to open up. Keep an eye for queen cells as it is possible to have a problem.