Hi there. Sorry for what turned out to be a long post, and thanks for bearing with me. I'm just providing the context for my mystery.
I've just started with bees this year, and I have two hives started from good quality nucs. They're about a month old. One hive seems to be moving forward as expected, filling frames and moving up into the next deep hive box. The other hive tends to leave me confused and worried, and though I've made a couple of mistakes they haven't been serious (luckily). Now, I want to do what's right.
Problems began 11 days ago when I did my second inspection. In the problem hive I spotted several capped queen cells on the bottom of frames. There wasn't a lot of larvae in the brood area. I removed the capped cells (mistake 1). Two days later I added the second boxes and did a thorough search for the queen and found her. Crisis averted.
I did an inspection 4 days ago. Lots of new larvae and eggs. I found a textbook example of a supersedure cell on the side of a frame, with a large larva inside. Noted it, closed up the hive, and looked into courses of action. There was comb on the bottom of a few frames with some drone cells, some larva, and some nectar/honey. I removed only the comb with nectar, left the larva and drone. I have felt like this is a weak colony in some way as they are not drawing comb readily in the bottom box, and maybe they were supseding their queen.
Today I went back in with a plan to 1) find the queen and 2) remove the frame with the supersedure cell and put it into a nuc with a frame of honey and some empty foundation. But things didn't go as planned.
I found the queen quickly (but then couldn't find her again). There was a good variety of larvae at all stages and I I identified eggs. They still have not started drawing comb in the top hive box, and are only very slowly filling out the remaining frames. I am feeding them. The supersedure cell was not visible--at least not where I remembered it. Maybe I was mistaken, and I did find a similar on one another frame. However, this one was not nearly as developed and was empty as far as I could tell. Can bees reverse their supersedure? I do not think the cell could have been capped and the new queen emerge already. (?)
And on the bottom of the two frames, where the extra comb had been drawn, I found a couple of queen cups, a couple of open queen cells. and at least one capped queen cell. That seems very quick-- maybe I missed a queen cup or two four days ago.
So now, what to do? My first idea is to put each frame with the assumed swarm cells in a nuc with a honey frame and let them develop; leave the old queen in the original hive. (or queen in nuc--don't know which is better.) I don't really want four colonies in my back yard, though.
Or I can move honey frames and/or brood into the top box to draw the bees up. However, if there are already queen/swarm cells, is this too late?
I can remove the queen cells (after checking again to make sure the queen is present) maybe with some combination of manipulating frames.
There is one frame of honey that is really, really heavy. It came with the nuc, but has become much heavier in the last week or so. It was next to the brood area, as that was its original orientation. I moved it toward the outside and put a frame of comb that they have just begun to draw in its place. I thought perhaps the brood area was being limited by that honey frame. But maybe that heavy frame should go above?
Or I can do nothing and let the bees do what they want. I don't really want to lose part of my hive. And why they would want to swarm when they still have so much space and can still draw comb (I know, swarming is what bees like to do and they've already tried)--and why do they still have so much space?
Thanks for helping me end my confused state.