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  1. #1
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    Default Why queen cell location???

    Has anybody every heard why (or do we know why) supersedure cells are located high on the frame while swarm cells are located on the lower edges or lower on the frame? What is it about their intentions that causes them to locate the cells in one location versus the other?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    I don't know this one myself, but I know I've heard from a LOT of beeks who use CheckerBoarding for swarm control that they have supersedure cells built off the bottoms of their frames all the time. Most of the supporters of that method swear that location doesn't really tell you anything.

    Once again, I don't know this, just throwing out ideas for where you can find ppl who seem sure of their opinions.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    think its that swarming is planned and swarm cells are made and the queen lays in them supercedure is more unplanned and the bees are more or less just using whatever resources they have they may not even have a queen at this point like many walk away splits.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Quote Originally Posted by bejay View Post
    think its that swarming is planned and swarm cells are made and the queen lays in them supercedure is more unplanned and the bees are more or less just using whatever resources they have they may not even have a queen at this point like many walk away splits.
    I agree

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    >Has anybody every heard why (or do we know why) supersedure cells are located high on the frame while swarm cells are located on the lower edges or lower on the frame? What is it about their intentions that causes them to locate the cells in one location versus the other?

    It is partly where the pheromones are and partly where the resources such as a properly age larvae are and whether they can tear down a cell wall or have a queen cup to work with. The location, due to these various things is not a sure fire indicator of it's intent. I have see swarm cells up high and emergency and supersedure cells down low, but the location is a good clue and a general rule. I would look more at the context of the condition and direction of the hive. A booming hive that is rapidly building, I would assume any queen cells were swarm cells. A dwindling hive I would assume any queen cells are supersedure or emergency cells.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    A booming hive that is rapidly building, I would assume any queen cells were swarm cells. A dwindling hive I would assume any queen cells are supersedure or emergency cells.
    That is why I don't understand supersedure as a result of checkerboarding.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    I believe swarm cells are usually on the bottom because the brood nest has been backfilled with nectar and pollen so there are very few cells for the queen to lay eggs in. So when the nurse bees make new cells they are at the bottom of the comb and so the queen lays there.

    In supercedure the brood nest is not backfilled and so the queen cells can be anywhere on the comb. (Supercedure is due to the queen not producing enough queen pheromone for the number of bees in the hive.)

    I also go by the number of queen cells, the number based on the size of the hive. In general seven or less is typically supercedure where more than that are likely swarm cells.

    Also the age difference between the cells. Swarm cells often have serveral days difference in the age of the cells as the eggs are laid as new cells are built.

    Matthew Davey

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    I believe swarm cells are usually on the bottom because the brood nest has been backfilled with nectar and pollen so there are very few cells for the queen to lay eggs in. So when the nurse bees make new cells they are at the bottom of the comb and so the queen lays there.
    NOt the case in one of the splits I made. There were four or five cells on the bottom of one frame with many empty cells in the frame.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Quote Originally Posted by bejay View Post
    think its that swarming is planned and swarm cells are made and the queen lays in them supercedure is more unplanned and the bees are more or less just using whatever resources they have they may not even have a queen at this point like many walk away splits.
    Are you saying that supercedure isn't planned? That the bees use whatever female larvae they have on hand?

    Just as in swarming, in supercedure the queen lays the egg in a queen cup prepared by the bees. You seem to be referring to emergency cells as supercedure cells. Bees certainly do intentionally start supercedure cell cups, the queen lays the egg in the cup, and the bees put as much as they can in raising a quality replacement queen. Supercedure queens are often very good, but then, of course,

    Garbage in, garbage out.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Acebird, are you saying you saw the queen cells after the split was done? Sometimes they were already started before you did the split, maybe you didn't notice them at the time.

    Supercedure and emergency cells can be just along the bottom, so you need to take into account the other factors as well, such as the number of cells in the hive and backfilling.

    Also were the empty cells within the large circular area of actual brood? (This is the actual brood nest). Just because a frame has brood on it, you can't say the whole frame is part of the brood nest.

    Another thing is that cells can look empty but if you hold the frame up to the light you can see there is nectar at the base of the cells.

    Matthew Davey

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    Acebird, are you saying you saw the queen cells after the split was done? Sometimes they were already started before you did the split, maybe you didn't notice them at the time.
    I saw the cells at the time of the split but they looked small and empty to me (without a magnifier). A week or so later I could see larvae in them (with a magnifier). This cold snap has probably done me in on the splits. Next week it is suppose to go into the 70's but who knows how long that will last.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    <<Acebird, are you saying you saw the queen cells after the split was done? Sometimes they were already started before you did the split, maybe you didn't notice them at the time.>>

    I know I can say I saw them after the split was done. I did a split where I took the frames/eggs/etc and put them into a nuc box and brought them home for the queen raising/mating. After a week, I checked on new queen development and found out that I had accidentally brought the queen home with me. When I returned the nuc to the bee yard to get it started in its own box, I checked the parent colony to see that they had begun making a new queen. They had. The cells were located high on the frame probably because there were no longer any queen pheremones from the one I stole from them.

    Seeing them up high after having seen swarm cells down low many times got me wondering why...hence the thread.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Quote Originally Posted by beecron View Post
    The cells were located high on the frame probably because there were no longer any queen pheremones from the one I stole from them.
    That is an emergency cell which has to be on the frame face because there is no queen to put an egg in a bottom cell. The colony used an existing egg because that is all they had.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    Supercedure and emergency cells can be just along the bottom, so you need to take into account the other factors as well, such as the number of cells in the hive and backfilling.

    Matthew Davey
    Rarely would emergency cells be located along the bottom of the frame. They are always located at the edges of the sealed brood pattern. In emergency cells, the bees use a larva lovated in a worker cell to start their new queen...because the queen has dies and they need an emergency replacement. The queen can't lay an ebb in a queen cup, because she's gone. This photo is of emergency cells. Note how they project out from worker cells...the worker cell is part of the queen cell...the reason why the queen cell looks so short. With sealed emergency cells, there will be no eggs in the hive because the queen disappeared which is what stimulated the bees to raise cells in the first place.



    Supercedure cells are started from an egg layed by the queen...in a queen cup. These will sometimes be located on the bottom of a frame, but more often they are located within the brood rearing area. This is a typical supercedure cell. Note how the cell was started in a cell cup...like the cell cup below and to the left of the queen cell...and the queen cell is visible full length. With sealed supercedure cells, there are often eggs in the hive because the old queen is still present and laying.



    There's a basic biological...right word?...difference between emergency cells and supercedure cells,, and many beekeepers either confuse the two or just call any cells that aren't swarm cells...supercedure cells. I even had to correct a world known beekeeping author who got it wrong...saying supercedure cells are inferior because they are raised from older-existing larvae. That wouldn't have looked too good in his new book.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    bird, Post #6
    Nobody knows why the booming CB colony supersedes. We suspect that the queen is in a strain cycling brood when the demand is over some level advertized by the experts - like more than 2500 eggs per day. The workers sense the strain and opt to SS. Guesswork.

    Since I believe the OP question to be based on a false premise, I believe that the question might be revised to read: How did this false information get so entrenched in the beekeeper thinking? Will have a shot at that.

    There are a couple firm requirements for location of queen cells. The colony has a lot riding on successful completion of the effort.
    ...The cell MUST be located in the warmed cluster volume in the early season of cool nights. That is normally frames of brood or the feed pollen frame, but does not necessarily include the whole frame of either (small cluster.)
    ...It's advantageous to start the cell where there is room for the cell to grow downward without sacrificing worker brood space. Supersedure cells on the face of existing worker brood comb are built on a slight standoff to get them outboard of worker brood below. They don't have that luxury in the case of emergency cells where a worker larva is selected to rear a queen.
    There is almost always room for downward growth of a queen cell off the bottom bars, and it is the preferred location in most circumstances. But that location is not always an option. Small clusters or starter colonies may not have warmed cluster volume below the bottom bars. They have to resort to cells up on the face of the comb.

    ...A third trait is more in the realm of desirable than a firm requirement. If it's convenient, potential replacement cells are started outside the existing queen's travel area. The existing queen doesn't take too kindly to replacement sometimes and when they commit to SS, she is expendable. May have to do her in if she objects too strongly.

    It is well known that the colony builds cups (I call them insurance cups) periodically throughout the active season. Those cups are built specifically for supersedure if the need arises, and are built by the guidelines above. Saw a thread recently where a bottom bar of a short frame was lined with cups (10 or more), and the recommendations were to take immediate action against swarming. Lost motion. Insurance cups do not imply swarm intent.

    The small cluster that is moving to stores may move away from insurance cups in one location and need to start others in a more suitable location. And, if they expand across a box joint they have a more desirable location. The net result is that supersedure cells can be anywhere.

    In more northerly areas, where our literature comes from, and nobody winters in less than a double deep, swarm cells are typically off bottom bars. It's automatic with brood in both deeps. But the queen is in on the swarm plan, and apparently does not interfere in the process. Later swarm cells are built into the center of the brood nest. That's one case where location matters. Periferal vs interior is an indication of intent, but I see no correlation of intent by where on the frame - up vs down.

    Maybe those who believe, see something different?

    Walt

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Good show Micheal.
    Walt

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    It is well known that the colony builds cups (I call them insurance cups) periodically throughout the active season. Those cups are built specifically for supersedure if the need arises, and are built by the guidelines above. Saw a thread recently where a bottom bar of a short frame was lined with cups (10 or more), and the recommendations were to take immediate action against swarming. Lost motion. Insurance cups do not imply swarm intent.
    The queen still has to put an egg into the cup so she can't object too strongly when it comes to supersedure.
    I have been thinking about the divides/splits I did and maybe I made another crucial mistake. The boxes I pulled off are on the bottom with an empty box (some honey) on top. thinking about the cold weather we have been having it probably would have been better if I put the empty box on the bottom. Do you thing the bees will cluster around the cells to keep them warm?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    bird,
    An egg is not much threat to her status. That comes later.
    Have very little experience with splitting.
    Walt

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    So your premise is that a queen will lay an egg in any available cell that is cleaned. Could that be a trigger for a swarm? With all the cells in the frame filled with something the queen only has the queen cells left at the bottom of the frame to deposit eggs. This would make them the youngest eggs on the frame. At some point the colony would have to make a decision to let these eggs / larvae mature or not to complete the swarm process.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Why queen cell location???

    Michael Palmer, agreed it would be rare for supersedure cells to all be along the bottom, but I have seen something rare.

    Here's the spanner if the works for using the location of cells!

    The photos below are from a hive that issued a large swarm the SAME DAY that these photos were taken, but the location of the majority of cells and queen cups would indicate Supersedure cells.











    This hive had actually Superseded their second year queen a few weeks before the swarm issued. We had found the old marked queen dead on the ground in front of the hive, and heard a queen piping from inside the hive at that time. So we did not inspect the hive. When the swarm issued from the hive, I took photos of every frame as I thought it was unusal. The photos shown are of all the queen cells and queen cups in the hive.

    My point is that the location of the cells is not the only factor to be considered. As you can see the brood nest is back filled. This seems to me be the main cause of the swarm.

    Matthew Davey

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