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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    243

    Default Split hives after the queen cells are capped or when you see eggs/larvae in them?

    I installed a nuc 9 days ago. There were 11 bars in the nuc, about 8-9 with comb on them. When I put them in the hive, I gave them an additional 5 bars. On Sunday, I did a full inspection, and there were 12 bars of comb with eggs and all stages of young from larvae to capped brood. Everything looked great. I actually opened up the brood area a bit with 2 empty bars. The bees continued to acting normally over the next two days like there is a queen in the hive, so I think everything is ok.

    This morning (2 days later), I looked through my observation window and saw them making two queen cups on the edges of the comb. I don't know how many more are in the hive because the weather is nasty, and I don't want to open it up today.

    From everything I've read, these queen cells on the edges of the comb are swarm cells and I should make a split, right? However, I read about some people moving them BEFORE they are capped, and others AFTER they are capped. Is there a best way to do this? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,359

    Default Re: Split hives after the queen cells are capped or when you see eggs/larvae in them?

    Queen cups are not queen cells. I have 10 to 20 queen cups in most of my hives but the queen doesn't lay in them until they have make up there mind they will swarm. If you see royal jelly in them, then I would think about a split.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    949

    Default Re: Split hives after the queen cells are capped or when you see eggs/larvae in them?

    Quote Originally Posted by fruitveggirl View Post
    I installed a nuc 9 days ago. There were 11 bars in the nuc, about 8-9 with comb on them. When I put them in the hive, I gave them an additional 5 bars. On Sunday, I did a full inspection, and there were 12 bars of comb with eggs and all stages of young from larvae to capped brood. Everything looked great. I actually opened up the brood area a bit with 2 empty bars. The bees continued to acting normally over the next two days like there is a queen in the hive, so I think everything is ok.

    This morning (2 days later), I looked through my observation window and saw them making two queen cups on the edges of the comb. I don't know how many more are in the hive because the weather is nasty, and I don't want to open it up today.

    From everything I've read, these queen cells on the edges of the comb are swarm cells and I should make a split, right? However, I read about some people moving them BEFORE they are capped, and others AFTER they are capped. Is there a best way to do this? Thanks!
    Sounds like you are running a TBH. My experience with TBH's is minimal, so take this with a grain of salt. Just because they a queen cell is at or near the bottom of the cell doesn't necessarily mean it is a swarm cell. And just because a cell is in the middle of the frame/bar does not mean it is a supercedure cell.

    Typically, my bees backfill the broodnest with uncapped nectar when making swarm preps. Also, since they are backfilling the broodnest, they really slow/shut down brood production. Also, when they make swarm preps, they typically make a lot of cells. Way more than a few.

    If I find swarm cells with an egg or larva, I split that hive. I try my best to find the old queen and move her to the new split. If you have to split, it is best to split before the cells are capped. If you find capped swarm cells in your hive, then you have a serious dilemma.

    Sometimes if you have a newly established colony, and it is fed continuously, they will make swarm preps.

    Like Charlie pointed out, my hives typically have a few queen cups on different frames.

    HTH,
    Shane
    Last edited by tsmullins; 07-02-2013 at 11:58 AM. Reason: queen cups

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Split hives after the queen cells are capped or when you see eggs/larvae in them?

    Oh, wow, thanks for that info. I didn't realize it was normal to see a number of queen cups in a hive.

    I'll definitely look out for royal jelly/capped cells. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    949

    Default Re: Split hives after the queen cells are capped or when you see eggs/larvae in them?

    Best wishes on your hive, and enjoy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Re: Split hives after the queen cells are capped or when you see eggs/larvae in them?

    Good info. Thanks.
    www.savebeesflorida.com (Honeybee removals and top bar hives)

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