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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,667

    Default queen cell to keep

    I read that bees will make supercedure cells and swarm cells.
    The supercedure cells are usually at the top while the swarm cells are typically
    at the bottom of the frame. The author said the swarm cells are not to keep because
    the queens will have the genetic to likely to make more swarm cells on the next generation
    of queens. It further stated to keep the supercedure queens because those are the best
    one to head your hive.
    I have one hive that have 2 big queen cells. They are almost 2" long and fatter on the side.
    One is a supercedure cell toward the top bar with longer cell. And the second one is a swarm cell toward the
    bottom of the frame with fatter side. If my reading is valid that means I should not keep any swarm cell
    to head my hive, right? My question is should I just keep the supercedure cell and discard the
    swarm cell? Or is it o.k. to use the swarm cell hoping the next generation of queens will not be likely
    to swarm? Any input is welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,332

    Default Re: queen cell to keep

    Location of the cell doesn't guarantee its type. Number of cells and colony condition are also important to consider. With only two cells in your colony, I would guess it's supercedure.

    There's nothing wrong with using swarm cells for making nucleus colonies. Use what you're are given. But, I wouldn't use swarm as my only queen cell source over time. All colonies will swarm if the conditions are right. But, the propensity to swarm varies from colony to colony. So, yes, if you always use swarm cells to make nucs you will be selecting for a higher propensity to swarm.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,259

    Default Re: queen cell to keep

    Behavior of a given species is determined by genetics, and environment. For example. Bees that come from gentle stock may possess a gentle tendency passed on genetically. However those same bees placed in a hive with extremely aggressive bees may learn to be aggressive form the environment of aggression. To think that the location of the cell from which a queen pupates would, or could have a bearing on her behavioral outcome is not within the bounds of scientific thinking. Particularly if the cell is used in a nuc. How would the emerging queen possibly know her cell was originally located on the bottom of a frame. Even if she did why would her offspring then have a tendency to build queen cells in a swarm cell position. To think along those lines would equate to some rational that a person who is born on the third floor would have children less likely to be afraid of heights.
    Last edited by Tenbears; 05-01-2013 at 11:14 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,949

    Default Re: queen cell to keep

    >I read that bees will make supercedure cells and swarm cells.

    Yes. But under different circumstances for different reasons.

    >The supercedure cells are usually at the top while the swarm cells are typically
    at the bottom of the frame.

    A general observation, but not a specific one. Either may be anywhere. If you are trying to determine the purpose of a cell, the clues are in the circumstances the hive is in, not the location of the cells.

    > The author said the swarm cells are not to keep because
    the queens will have the genetic to likely to make more swarm cells on the next generation
    of queens.

    While some bees are what I would consider "swarmy" those would be the bees that swarm and after swarm and after swarm until there are no bees left. Judging bees to be "swarmy" because they are trying to swarm under the proper conditions for swarming, is foolish. Bees reproduce by swarming. Bees that don't swarm, don't reproduce.

    "For years our bee journals have been printing reams of articles on the question of a non-swarming strain of bees. It has always seemed to me there was a lot of time wasted advocating such an improbable accomplishment, because nature would hardly yield to an arrangement that in itself might destroy the species. If accomplished it would be tantamount to breeding the mating instinct out of domestic animals." --P.C. Chadwick ABJ, April 1936

    > It further stated to keep the supercedure queens because those are the best
    one to head your hive.

    I disagree, as do G.M. Doolittle and many others. Swarm cells are made under the very best conditions, lots of food coming in, and a large workforce to feed them well. Supersedure cells are usually made under the worst conditions, a failing queen, which causes a dropping population.

    >I have one hive that have 2 big queen cells. They are almost 2" long and fatter on the side.
    One is a supercedure cell toward the top bar with longer cell. And the second one is a swarm cell toward the
    bottom of the frame with fatter side.

    No colony has one of each. They are both supersedure cells. It would be very unusual to have only two swarm cells. But if they are swarm cells, they are ALL swarm cells.

    > If my reading is valid that means I should not keep any swarm cell
    to head my hive, right?

    No. Swarm cells are the best.

    "Every queen cell should be so abundantly supplied with royal jelly that after the queens have hatched there will be more or less left in the cells. This is the case with the best cells produced by the bees under the swarming impulse, and I claim that just as good cells can be produced by the method which I have instituted."--Henry Alley, The Bee-Keeper's Handy Book

    " When there is an abundance of nectar and pollen coming in from the fields and the colony is built up to good strength with plenty of brood in all stages in the hive and the bees become crowded, they may decide to swarm especially if the queen be an old one. As all colonies do not act alike some may swarm while others will not. The first step in preparing to swarm is the building of queen cells. The bees prefer to build the cells at the bottom of the combs or at the sides if there is room. These cells are pointed downward.

    "After the cells are nicely started the queen lays an egg in each. In about three days the eggs hatch and the larvae are surrounded with an abundance of bee milk. Sometimes the milk is placed in the cell before the egg hatches. The larva grows at an amazing rate. It has been stated that if a human baby grew as fast as a queen larva and weighed ten pounds at birth, in five and one half days it would weigh twelve and a half tons!

    "By the time the cells are sealed they contain nearly half an inch of dried bee milk. Now please consider the fact that if we wish to rear as good queens as the bees do when preparing to swarm we must duplicate their performance as nearly as possible. "--Jay Smith, Better Queens

    "It is often stated that better queens, as a rule, are developed under the swarming impulse than can be raised by the forcing process. The reason given is that the larvae from which queens are to be reared, when the bees are preparing to swarm, receive the attention of the nurse bees, with this object in view, from the time of hatching, and are abundantly supplied with the "royal jelly"-so much so, indeed, as to apparently have more than they can consume, some usually being found in the bottoms of the cells after the queens have emerged. This surplus jelly being found in a cell is considered a good sign that a strong, healthy queen has developed from it."--Isaac Hopkins, The Australasian Bee Manual

    "A new swarm goes to work, with an energy never possessed by the bees at any other time (unless it is by the parent colony) immediately after its young Queen gets to laying. This swarming trait also produces Queens of the highest type of perfection, not being equalled by any except those reared under one other of Nature's conditions, which will be spoken of at length in the next chapter. Many have been the claims made, that Queens reared by different methods, are just as good as those reared under the swarming impulse; but I have yet to hear it claimed that Queens so reared are any better than are those reared where the swarm issued under the conditions which Nature designed that they should. "--G.M. Doolittle, Scientific Queen Rearing

    > My question is should I just keep the supercedure cell and discard the
    swarm cell?

    You have two supersedure cells. I would not discard any of them. Leave them alone and let them finish the supersedure.

    > Or is it o.k. to use the swarm cell hoping the next generation of queens will not be likely
    to swarm?

    I think this colony is unlikely to swarm. Unless it's very crowded right now and there are more than two cells, I would assume a supersedure.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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