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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    317

    Default What is going on in my hive???

    A hive inspection on 7/18 (13 days ago) revealed:
    • lots of queen cups (but nothing in them),
    • very little capped or uncapped honey
    • 16 bars chockablock with brood, both capped and uncapped, in all stages
    • Some eggs -- looked good, like my queen had laid them


    Given the masses of queen cups (we're talking anywhere from 5 to 10+ per bar), the lack of space for laying eggs and the drone comb, I thought they might be getting kind of crowded and swarmy, so I added four empty bars (between nice full bars) in the brood area. However, because of the lack of honey, I also gave them syrup so that they could continue to build comb/not starve.

    Fast forward to today. I did an inspection and this is what I saw:
    • the bees do not appear to have swarmed. I think I have even more bees than I did 2 weeks ago.
    • the bees have not built any comb on the empty bars, though they were starting to form little daisy chains on them.
    • Masses of queen cups but only 2 queen cells. One small capped one (but definitely not a drone cell -- much bigger and more "peanutty" looking) and one that looks like it might have been opened from the side. (tried to attach photos, don't know if they'll come through.)
    • 14 bars that were packed with capped brood are no longer. Although there is still a fair amount of capped brood, there were no eggs/larvae replacing the ones that have hatched in the last two weeks.
    • Two bars had eggs and larvae in all stages. But not a huge amount. The cells with eggs looked good (egg standing up nicely in the bottom center of cell), but I noticed one cell with 2 eggs.
    • some uncapped honey, but nothing significant (no full bars or even half bars of honey -- just some across the tops of the bars and between brood)


    So I'm trying to diagnose what has happened in the last two weeks and how to proceed. Any thoughts on the following questions?

    1. Given the lack of a swarm and two queen cells, do you think my queen has been superceded?
    2. If a supercedure has occurred, I would have expected a break in brood rearing for about a month, right? Why am I still seeing eggs and larvae? Could I have two queens? (Unfortunately, I'm rubbish at spotting the queen, and I've never found her.)
    3. What should I do with the queen cell that is capped? Should I make a split? Or if I leave it in the hive, is it more likely to get killed or swarm?
    4. Is there any cause that i'm overlooking? Anything I should do about it?
    5. Can I stop hyperventilating and breathe normally?


    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,318

    Default Re: What is going on in my hive???

    When the bees supersede the queen there is no break in brood rearing. The original queen continues to lay, and after the virgin emerges and mates, the new and old queen will continue to lay. Both queens will be on the same frame or on ajoining frames. I have seen both together for 5 weeks after the new queen emerged. At some point the old queen will disappear.

    If it is a supersedure the bees will dispose of any extra queen cells. Supersedures are best left to the bees, they usually handle things well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: What is going on in my hive???

    Thanks for confirming that there would be no break in brood rearing during a supercedure. That's really helpful info. Does the old queen also drastically reduce the number of eggs she lays, though? I'm trying to figure out why there were no eggs/larvae in cells that would replace bees that have hatched in the last two weeks. Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,318

    Default Re: What is going on in my hive???

    If the old queen is very close to failing, or if the food supply is low the queen will not lay eggs at the same rate she would if nectar is comming in or the colony is being fed. If you saw eggs in two bars the queen was laying 3 day ago. I would feed sugar syrup and see if that helps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: What is going on in my hive???

    Hmm... I've been feeding because of the lack of honey. Actually, they've taken 2 gallons this last week.

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