Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Ft Collins, CO, USA
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    Default Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    I caught a 7lb swarm on May 12th (roughly 6 weeks ago) and it's building very quickly. I recently observed eggs in some queen cells hanging from the bottom of frames (foundationless) in the brood chamber, and today checked and there are roughly 5-7 with larvae floating inside. The hive is queen-right for sure and there is plenty of space for brood expansion and in the super.
    Is there a way to know if these are supercedure or swarm cells? I thought supercedures were in the middle of the frames, though I know it's fairly common for a primary swarm to supercede the old queen. These queen cells are on the bottoms, so I'm thinking they're swarm cells. Is it possible for a caught-swarm to build up and swarm again 6 weeks later? I don't want to lose these bees to swarming! (Though I do have a bait hive up...)

    What do you recommend doing?

    I'm thinking I'll make up a 2-frame nuc with the current queen and cut out the swarm cells when they're capped and make up more 2-frame nucs (leaving 2-3 queen cells in the original hive with the majority of the original resources)

    Coincidentally I grafted for the first time 2 days ago using the Ben Harden method (in a queenright cell starter/finisher) and got 14 out of 21 to take. Not sure I'll have enough resources for that many 2-frame nucs, but I'll give it a go! Primarily I'm looking for suggestions on how to best deal with the swarm cells that spontaneously appeared. Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dickson TN
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    1,943

    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    Probably supercedure. If the swarm left with the old queen once they have their new hive established then they will often supercede the old queen.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Fairfield, CA
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    12

    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    I had two swarms this spring that started queen cells (with larvae in the cell) within a week. Checking back a week later, those cells had been broken down, and new cells started (also with larvae in them). Same situation as you - plenty of room and the queen was laying well. I figure they were insurance cells - never saw any capped queen cells, and both hives progressed nicely.

    Mike
    Mike

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Ft Collins, CO, USA
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    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    Thanks for the replies. If I do end up with capped cells, and if it's supercedure, I shouldn't worry about swarming, right?
    If capped cells exist would you recommend cutting out a couple to use in small splits or just let them be?
    Would you recommend making a small nuc with the queen to make them queenless and encourage them to build out the cells, to use in more small nucs?
    thanks, kyle

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    1,793

    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    last year I had a (much smaller)swarm I caught may 13th, swarm on july 11th
    find the queen, stick her in a nuc, thin out the cells in the main hive to just a few, that should counter the swarming if you want to keep the hive intact

    If they truly were not out of "space" and it wasn't a not wanting to move in to the bottom box issue etc I would not propagate from the cells if i was short of gear and didn't have the resorces for the grafted cells I had coming in about 8 days. Cells from swarmy bees make more hives of swarmy bees and I would not not put resources in to these at the expense of cells of my chosen genetics.
    Last edited by msl; 06-22-2017 at 12:59 PM.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
    Posts
    4,095

    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    Last year I had two swarms that each filled a single deep with drawn comb then re-swarmed 30 days after being hived. The cells could be either superseder or swarm. Agree with msl, move the queen, cull the cells down to two or three in the hive, and make nucs from your grafted queens.
    "Sometimes the best action, with bees, is no action at all."

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Ft Collins, CO, USA
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    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    I had the feeling that they were swarm cells because there were about 6-10 drawn out last weekend and about to be capped. They were hanging from the bottom of the comb, which I've read is more indicative of swarm cells (supercedure coming from the middle of the comb). On Saturday I made a 2-frame nuc with the queen and left the swarm cells in the (now) queenless hive. I might cull them down, or just leave them and let em duke it out. Thanks for all the tips!

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    1,793

    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    don't leave them a bunch of cells as they will sometimes cast a swarm with a virgin, cull it down to a few cells to keep your bees in your box

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
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    4,095

    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    When I've left more than two or three cells, the hive usually swarms even though it is queen less. They leave with the first virgin queen as soon as she can fly with the swarm. I'd cull the cells down to the best looking two to keep them from swarming.
    "Sometimes the best action, with bees, is no action at all."

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Ft Collins, CO, USA
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    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    Ok thanks, will do

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
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    409

    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    Also the tendency to want to swarm early is genetic. If you keep this queen's daughters, they will do the same. There is the option of requeening if you don't like the tendency to swarm too early.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Ft Collins, CO, USA
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    28

    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    My grafting effort ended up with less final capped cells than I expected (6 finished ones), so I had some resources to make splits with the extra swarm cells. I made 3 nucs with swarm cells and left about 3 capped cells in the original (queenless) colony.

    This morning I went out and there were bees all over the entrance. At first I thought they were swarming, but they were all fanning. The whole thing lasted about 10 minutes from when I saw them (about 8am). Was that the mating flight?

    This photo is after they had died down a little. There were about twice as many bees when I first saw them. Swarm or mating flight?

    Thanks, Kyle

    IMG_8980.jpg

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Ft Collins, CO, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Queen Cells found in Hive from Spring Swarm

    Just now, about 2pm, they were out again in force.
    I've seen a swarm leaving before, where they seem to run out. This is not that - they are all just standing all over the front with their butts in the air sending out their pheromone. Virgin mating flight?
    IMG_8989.jpg

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