Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Murphy, TX
    Posts
    180

    Default Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    One of my hive only had drone brood 2 weeks ago. The hive was 4 boxes medium hive and drone brood I saw 2 weeks ago was on the top box. Today I inspected that hive and now I see mix of drone brood, lot of swarm cell hanging at the bottom of the frames (I counted 6) and couple of emergency/superseder cells (L-shapped in the middle of the frame). No sign of eggs or any worker brood. I wish I took couple of pictures. I moved one frame of swarm cell and couple of honey frames in a nuc. I also opened up brood nest and added a super on the original hive. They have been bringing in quite a bit of honey and have drawn at least 5 medium frame in last two weeks.

    Could they have been preparing for a swarm or they have been a queen less? What to make of this hive?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,152

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    Sounds Queenless, but you don't know til they hatch out now will ya....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    4,951

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    Are they cells or cups. Unlikely that a hive with no brood other than drone would prepare to swarm. A hopelessly queenless hive will try to queen drones out of desperation, But the cells will die shortly after being capped!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    6,704

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    I have read that as soon as the swarm cells are capped the hive already swarmed. So probably not a swarming situation but an emergency requeening situation. On the other hand, this hive could be swarmed already without a queen now. And probably half of the hive population remains. To ensure the survival of the original hive there should be many frames of the cap worker broods. A situation like this I would say it is queen less either from the swarming or a dead queen. We don't really know until you do a hive check. Leave some cells in the original hive for them to make a new queen if indeed the old queen is dead or already swarmed. Or if you can find the old queen then make a small nuc. Either way this hive will be divided.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
    Posts
    2,155

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    It's not automatic for a colony to swarm when the first queen cell gets capped. In general..yes...they're gone when the first cell is capped but not if it's raining or any type of bad weather. Have found capped cells, moaned, kept searching a hive, and found the queen more than just a couple times. When I find myself in that situation I put the queen into a nuc with a couple frames of bees. Once I know how many cells are on how many frames I usually decide to take one or two frames with cells to a queen castle with some bees. This pretty well heads off any swarm plans the colony had and I end up with several queens for just in case.

    I do this as a habit but back when I was a kid I'd have just killed all the cells and called it good. Was a queen cell mashing expert back in the late-70's.

    Sounds like OP's queen ran outa juice and started laying drones.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Keosauqua, IA, USA
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    A cell is a cell. What you have is a bunch of queen cells. The bees are trying to do something. You need to figure out what it is. Kind of sounds like they were swarming. Was the broodnest crowded? Or backfilled with honey?

    The other thing that could of happened is they lost the queen or she got damaged etc. To me this sounds like a situation that I'd make a couple splits, but make sure all the hives have a good QC. Go look at Beemath on Micheal Bush's site and figure when you need to check on then.

    If it's a drone layer the bees should get rid of her.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,152

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    If they only had drone brood etc... I'm going with what Tenbears said. Desperate attempt to make queens from drones, they'll get torn down soon most likely but as we don't know when you last had a queen, you just have to wait and see what happens with the cells.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    Your title says only drone brood(bad) but your post says mix of drone brood(hope). Lots of difference between those scenarios.

    If there is any worker brood in there, they can rectify the situation, as your queen cells would likely be good. If only drone brood, hive is likely dead.

    Only scenario I can think of if you only have capped drones left, is if your queen left/died 3 weeks ago, the last drones have yet to emerge, worker brood has already, and you should have a virgin ready to lay any day. But this timing doesn't work for the queen cells that are still capped.

    Good luck!
    Habitually learning...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,966

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    If they are trying to raise queen cells, give them a frame of viable brood and eggs so they can succeed at it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    1,102

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If they are trying to raise queen cells, give them a frame of viable brood and eggs so they can succeed at it.
    +1

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,224

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    If there actually has been only drone brood for 2 weeks, it may be like Tenbears says. I haven't seen where colonies will make very many emergency queen cells out of drone brood. Another possibility is that you didn't quite see it right 2 weeks ago, and it swarmed, the queens may have emerged and working on mating flights. Drones are the last to emerge after a queen swarms away, as they are 4 days later than worker brood, so when you find a swarmed hive with virgin or mating queen at the right time, you will only find drone brood left. The queen cells can be opened up and the door flaps back shut to look like it's not. That would be a better scenario than hopelessly queenless.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Murphy, TX
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    Thanks for all the ideas. I will check back this Friday with all the comments so far in my mind. I do have another queen right hive so worst case, I will give them a frame of eggs to raise a queen.

    Some of the queen cells were quite big and sealed as far as I can tell. I will update what I find out on Friday. I will be sure to take some pictures this time.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,966

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    > haven't seen where colonies will make very many emergency queen cells out of drone brood.

    I have. Many times. Here's Huber's observations:
    Colonies with drone laying queens making queen cells with drone eggs:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm#maleeggsinroyalcells
    Laying worker colonies making queen cells with drone eggs:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm#f...kersqueencells
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Murphy, TX
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    I had a split going on the other hive and had few frames with caped queen cells. I gave a frame of capped queen cell to supposedly queen less hive (rather than giving them a frame of eggs/young larvae). I am hoping they will get a "real" queen either way from their own queen cells or the ones I put in. Now the waiting period begins!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,152

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    a logical move. If they having laying workers though, may not fix the issue.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,966

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    > I gave a frame of capped queen cell to supposedly queen less hive (rather than giving them a frame of eggs/young larvae).

    It works often enough to be worth the try.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Murphy, TX
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    14 days later after I gave them a capped queen cell (7 day old), I didn't see any drone brood. So all drones have hatched and I don't think we have any DLW in this hive. I didn't see any eggs either. I gave one more frame of eggs to this hive just as an insurance in case it is still queenless and to ensure that they will have some new workforce. I will check again next week and update again.

    By the way, I am so worried since I have 3 more mating hives in-flight excluding this one. And only one queenright hive. If something were to happen to my donor hive then I will be doomed until one of my other in-flight hives have a laying queen. 2 more weeks!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Murphy, TX
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    Update: The frame of capped queen cell seems to have done the trick. The egg frame did not raise any more queen cells which means that the queen from earlier capped queen cell was hatched and accepted. Queen came back mated and they have been rearing brood like crazy. I saw about 8 medium frames of brood 2 days ago.

    By the way, all my 3 mating nucs also have mated queens so my 4 way split resulted in 100% success rate! Beginner's luck!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    2,284

    Default Re: Swarm cells and emergency cells with only drone brood

    Well done, Pjigar.
    David
    "Performance speaks louder than math." Michael Palmer

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •