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  1. #1

    Sad Oh Noooo, Queen cells Galore!

    Ok, I checked a hive yesterday that I knew was getting a little crowded. BOY WAS I WRONG! They were Really crowded. Three medium supers full of brood and bees. I destroyed about 20 capped queen cells. (Half on accident pulling boxes part. ) I have a few questions for those on here that know a Lot more than me!

    I started to remove frames with swarm cells and started nucs with them with additional frames of brood/bees in various stages. I also gave each a frame of honey/pollen. I replaced the frames with drawn comb and tried to skip frames in the brood box. I went through all the frames and either removed the frames with queen cells or destroyed (once I ran out of boxes) the rest. I placed a medium super full of drawn comb between the second medium and third. The third had some brood, but most was removed to make nucs. The existing queen has a great brood pattern. All of the queen cells were large and capped.

    My question: Will this be enough generally to stop them from swarming or did I really screw things up by breaking them apart and replacing with empty comb?

    Will I need to add frames of brood to the nucs I created to bolster them while waiting for the queen to start laying?

    Thank you in advance for the info!
    If you see me runnin' you'd better keep up!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Jenison, MI


    I'm sure those with more experience will correct me, but...

    I think that you should take the queen out of the main hive and put her in one of the nucs, leaving the queen cells in the main hive. My reasoning is that the old queen will usually leave with the swarm, so if they were ready to leave, they might just decide to anyway. But if she's in one of the nucs, then they are already in a new place.

    But then again, all the commotion and disturbance might just disrupt the swarming urge too.

    Or sometimes our best intentions are worthless and they swarm no matter what you do...


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Massillon, Ohio


    Thats a good point. I wonder if it would make sense at this point to swap places.... take the original hive with the queen and switch places with one of the nucs. The older forager bees should return to the old location and find no queen, but queen cells. That may simulate a swarmed condition. Just a thought.
    To everything there is a season....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Newark, DE


    Scads is referring to a cutdown split.
    It is a good way to get honey crop and make splits but you must time it very carefully which you can't really do now, you need to manipulate right away. Also, I think if you do this kind of split, select the best queen cell in the original hive, and take out the rest. That way you don't risk "afterswarms".

    My experience as a second year beek has already been that the swarm impulse is VERY strong. I already had my first hive swarm on me even after making 2 nucs out of it. I would pull the queen and cut all the queen cells but one, that way they won't be queenless.

    Depending on the condition of the queen cells, you have about 2-7 days to find your queen (, something I could not do in time and gave up thinking I had messed with them enough to keep them from swarming.

    I was wrong.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly Livingston View Post
    I would pull the queen and cut all the queen cells but one, that way they won't be queenless.
    I'd be tempted to leave a couple of queen cells just in case one is a 'dud'. Try to make them as close in age as possible. That is, don't mix capped and uncapped queen cells. I'd also go back into any hives/nucs that I put cells in, in about a week and cut out any supercedure cells that the girls may have produced while actually queenless.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson


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