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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Moscow, Idaho
    Posts
    13

    Default superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    I just made it through my first winter of beekeeping and at my last inspection found the bees making a couple of queen cells. I figured they would want to swarm this year so I have another hive ready for them but I got to second guessing myself a little bit on the placement of the queen cells. Instead of being towards the bottom of the comb they were near the center of a small comb the bees had built right next to (on the same bar) as the brood comb. I was planning on cutting this little section off when I inspected but found them building the queen cells on it so I left it. It is not crossed and lays straight with the rest of the comb so I didn't figure it to be a problem for now. Could this also mean that they want to supersede. I read that queen cells found towards the middle of the comb is a sign of superseding. The egg laying pattern is still very tight and I did see the queen for myself and she looks good and is laying lots. I found lots of drones and drone cells and worker cells in the brood nest. I did open up a little bit of space in the brood nest as I still have room in the hive to expand a little bit. What do you all think. My plan was to split the hive here soon before the queen cells hatch. What is the best time after the building of the cells to do this. Should I wait until the cells are capped? Or do you think that they are superseding the queen and to let them be.
    Thank in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Muhlenberg County, KY, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    I think they will swarm I'd split the old queen some nurse bees and a few frames of brood if you want to artifically swarm. Just my opinion though. Save the good queen.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    992

    Default Re: superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjhuntsalot View Post
    I think they will swarm I'd split the old queen some nurse bees and a few frames of brood if you want to artifically swarm. Just my opinion though. Save the good queen.
    +1 on JJ's advice,

    I would only leave two queen cells in the parent hive. This time of year, in our region, once/if they have reached that swarm stage, we make two deep frames splits. Of course, it depends on what you want. You could easily get two splits from the parent hive. The more nucs you make, the less honey production.

    Splitting is almost as fun as swarm catching,

    Shane

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    since your hive has plenty of bees, I agree with the above post. Split now before the cells are capped.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Re: superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    although they could be swarm cells, being in the center of the comb sounds more like supercedure or emergency cells. I would not make assumptions. I would first verify that there is a queen within the hive, Then I would look at the brood pattern, If you have a queen and a solid brood pattern then it would be a safe assumption that they are thinking about swarming. however if you find no queen and no eggs then you have an emergency queen rearing going on. and it is best left to the bees. If you have a queen and the brood pattern is poor and spotty then you could assume that a supercedure is in the works. there is not much sense in splitting a supercedure queen as she really has little production value. although she may be a good candidate for a observation hive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    The best way to tell them apart is probably that swarm cells are all different ages and supersedure cells are all the same age...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Josephine County,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    Just want to say I appreciate this thread! My overwintered hive is full of comb,and I've made brood space twice already, but it's not Quite full of bees..... and no queen cells yet but lots of drones. Nonetheless I think I only have a couple of weeks til a swarm. My current queen in that hive made it through the winter and I am preparing a nuc to Try to do my first split and keep That queen. Anyhow thanks to Sweet Bees and all responding,since when and where I see queen cells,and I Know that'll be Soon! the sharing Here is going to help me too! HB

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    Bees will supercede a queen laying a perfect pattern, don't make that your only criteria to bet swarm cell. Park her in a nuc as a minimum.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Moscow, Idaho
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The best way to tell them apart is probably that swarm cells are all different ages and supersedure cells are all the same age...
    Thanks Michael. When I last looked in the hive there was one queen cell that was almost fully built and it looked like they were making another queen cell right below it. It did not look to me like there was anything in the cells but I have no experience to go off of. Does the queen lay the egg in the cells before they make it into a queen cell or after? I haven't had a chance to get in there again in the last weak due to rainy weather. Tomorrow is supposed to be decent so I will try and get a peek inside again and see what kind of progress they have made. If they are just supersedure cells then I will probably just let them do their own thing and not interfere. Do you think this is wise? But if they are going to swarm I would like to keep the swarm (free bees!) and raise another hive. I just didn't want to go through the trouble of having to catch the swarm or miss them altogether.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    > It did not look to me like there was anything in the cells but I have no experience to go off of.

    Blow on them (with a veil on of course) to move the bees aside and see if they are empty. If they are it means nothing. I would not call them cells, I would call them cups.

    >Does the queen lay the egg in the cells before they make it into a queen cell or after?

    With swarming, they build the cup, the queen lays in it and the bees raise the larvae and extend the cell as it grows. With emergency queens, they build the queen cell around an existing worker cell. With supersedure it can go either way. The queen might lay in a cup or they may convert a worker cell.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Moscow, Idaho
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: superseding or getting ready to swarm.

    Ok the weather finally broke and I was able to get back into my hive. I found the two queen cups and they were empty. Thanks for the tip Mr. Bush about blowing on the bees. That really helped to get the bees out of the way. So would you call these cells just practice or a sign that they may be up to something in the future? Are they just waiting for the queen to lay in them? The weather has been nice the last few days (in the 70s) but is going to cool back down to upper fiftys for at least another week or so. I really appreciate all the help this group has given me as a newbeek. It seems there are soo many options and decisions to be made this time of year and any extra knowledge and help is so much appreciated!

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