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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Talbott tn
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    30

    Default What's going on with our hives?

    Okay so my husband and I whom are relatively new to beekeeping went out to the yard to do extensive inspections of our hives, we have found several queen cells on quite a few hives, and we have no idea why. We just got started this year isn't it too late for new queens? Our hives that we find the most in are strong laying, new to this year, queens. All of ours are up to two full supers, which consist of lots of brood, capped honey and some pollen and my husband says he thinks that at least 3 of them need a new super because of how many bees are in the hives. Is it to late to make small nucs? Help we don't want to loose the bees and we don't quite know what to do about that many queen cells. Any help would be appreciated.
    Regina in Tenneessee

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
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    533

    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    Sounds like they are replacing those queens. Maybe your locality is different but a swarm at this time of the year around here would probably mean death for both. From what I understand supersedure commonly occurs in the fall. If all of the colonies with queen cells have a laying queen a supersedure would be my guess.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,940

    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    When you say queen cells, do you mean they were fully developed and sealed?

  4. #4

    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    do you mean they were fully developed and sealed?
    This is a good question. Most of my hives have 'queen cups' throughout the year. It is as though they start a queen cell but never use it...then, eventually tear it down....then build more. I don't pay any attention to them as long as they haven't put anything in it.
    I am quite a bit south of you but I wouldn't add any supers this late. Around here our 'fall flow' is usually only enough to replace what was consumed during the summer...if that. It is never big enough to trigger wax production.
    Good luck
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,940

    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    Same here Dan, have 3-4 in each hive at times, never any larva in them though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
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    1,103

    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    Call me crazy, but I've ordered two queens for delivery this Thursday (its not too late for queens)....I'm going to make a split. In doing so, I take a risk, but old timers in this area say its not too late here in zone 7 (you seem to be in zone 6b).

    Seek out local beekeepers with knowledge of your weather and they will provide their recommendations about timing for late splits. Don't do a walk away split this late.

    A picture of your queen cells might help us give better advice. If they are supercedure cells, that is one thing....If they are swarm cells, that is another. A hive that is superceding their queen should accept a new queen and be done. A colony with swarming urges will not be mollified with a new queen, they will continue to want to swarm.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    2,308

    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    Regina, when you say your hives are up to two full supers, just what do you mean?
    For instance, at this time of year, preparing to go into winter, my colonies are two ten-frame deep hive bodies, and sometimes one shallow super for honey for winter. Some folks run 3, 4, or 5 medium depth supers for their hives and overwintering.
    Knowing your specific setup would be helpful. If your hives are in, for example, two medium depth supers only, those queen cells could conceivably be swarm cells. A friend of mine in St. Louis last weekend hived a swarm! So strange things do happen.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Talbott tn
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    30

    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    Okay there are capped queen cells in three hives and when I went out today we have two new queens walking around I captured very gently and put them in queen cages in a nuc without a queen. Our old queens are still laying brood and they seem to do a good job I will try to post a pic with this, and when I say two supers since these were mostly started after the first of may, I use langstroth deep hive bodies with 10 frames each, The queen has layed in both supers as we didn't partition off, and there are about 4 frames of brood in each and the other 6 are honey and pollen. I am hoping this is enough for them for winter. Altogether we have about 8 frames of brood 9 to 10 frames of honey and at least two frames of pollen stores. We didn't start them in time for the main honey flow and figured we wouldn't rob till next year. Most beekeepers around us said our main flow was from March till last of May and then we sort of went into a dearth. I figured it is time to really start feeding them since I wanted to ensure them plenty of stores and now I am wondering if they think it is a different time of year.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    DFW area, TX, USA
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    1,103

    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    I'll wait to hear what Steven says here....But, I'd like to know if those queens have had their mating flights yet, or not?

    BTW Regina, Steven is in the same USDA growing zone as you....He would have a good idea about how late you can make splits (by his account, he splits August first but may have different advice for you this time).
    Last edited by Lburou; 09-11-2012 at 02:10 PM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    I would consolidate the brood and the honey in their own box, brood on bottom, honey up top. If you have too many honey frames for one box, put them on the outside of the brood. Terminology wise, people refer to honey boxes as supers and boxes targetted for brood are hive bodies or brood boxes which is why people were askiing for clarification on total number of boxes. It's something to watch out for next year, if you find lots of honey frames in your brood boxes, move them up, and put new foundation in. It will help keep the hive partitioned but you will have to use all deeps if you do this if the queen is laying in both bottom boxes actively which she should be. Sounds like your hives may be superceding but you'll find out next year as they'll try again if that's what the issue is, but maybe they felt a little cramped as well.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    2,308

    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    Regina, you do not want to put foundation in your hives now.... it will serve to divide your winter cluster, and they simply will not have time to draw it out, esp. if there is not a strong flow on. The best time to insert foundation is at the beginning of a main honey flow, or when you first hive a swarm/package and feed copious amounts of syrup.

    IF you must make splits now, do so immediately and try to even out the brood/honey/pollen frames between the hives. Then give them the "heft test", lift one side... if the hive feels heavy, like 60 pounds or so, probably ok. If not, then feed. I've learned the best time to make splits is early spring, to mid-June in my area. That gives the split time to build up for winter, maybe even make a surplus for me to harvest. Later than that, it gets iffy.

    If in the hives you see capped queen cells, you still have laying queens, and they're 2 years old or less, I'd be real tempted to destroy the queen cells asap. Any swarm you lose now will perish this winter. And depending on what your weather is, the bees may be throwing out the drones now, so the odds of your newly emerged queen mating are not good. Then again, I could be wrong. But I certainly wouldn't want to chance my colony on those odds.
    Keep us posted, please, and good luck!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: What's going on with our hives?

    Good advice Steven. Referring to not putting in foundation now, that was probably referencing my post. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that, but I said that's something to watch out for next year but I can see where it might've been seen as doing that now. I just said to consolidate now, that way all the brood is together and when it hatches out they can backfill it easier since it's all in one box or stay clustered on it in one box if temps start dropping quick.

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