Supersedure question
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Georgetown, Texas
    Posts
    3

    Default Supersedure question

    I found a hive a several of months ago under a homemade, overturned livestock feeder. I cut it out and placed it in an 8 frame hive with 8 frames of brood, pollen and nectar. I placed another 8 frame deep with plastic frames on it. It took a while for them to accept the plastic frames but, what they have drawn, the queen has laid eggs in and the brood is capped. This queen is an egg laying machine with lots of brood on frames with brood. I went in today and there at least 4+ capped supersedure cells. I am curious why the supersedure cells. It was late in the afternoon and they were getting testy and I did not finish going through the last 4 frames. I did not see the queen in the first 12. So far, 2 frames with 1 cell and 1 frame with 2.

    I am thinking tomorrow of taking the frames with single supersedure cells and frames of brood from my resource hives and making nucs. If I were to find the queen and left her alone, would this possibly stop the process of supersedure?

    What other options are there? I am really having a tough time with queens this year. I have lost 4 - 1 year old queens so far this spring.

    Thank you in advance fro some ideas and an education on supersedure.

    Poppers

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,207

    Default Re: Supersedure question

    If these are indeed supersedure q/cells, then not only can you not stop supersedure - you really wouldn't want to - because supersedure is a sign that the queen has begun to fail. Each of us has our time here on earth, and her's is coming to an end. Which is sad (perhaps), but that's Nature in action.

    It might be worthwhile checking the remainder of the frames for cells (if they'll let you ) - but 4 sounds like an average number.

    As you suggest, I'd also be tempted to make a couple of nucs from the 2 frames with one q/cell on each, and leave the other frame (with two cells on) alone, and let Nature take it's course.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Georgetown, Texas
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Supersedure question

    Thank you little_john. I thought that the case, but just had to verify. I will go through the hive again today about mid-day and see if 1) I can find the queen and 2) how many cells total. I have 1 big beautiful cell high up on the frame. If 4 total, I might make 1 nuc. If more than 4, then I will rethink the nuc numbers.

    Again, Thanks for the reply.

    Poppers

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,577

    Default Re: Supersedure question

    This certainly would not apply to Texas but with Carniolan bees a period of cold and wet weather can cause the queen to cut back on laying and the workers will instigate supercedure maybe thinking the queen has gone bad. They will often tear down cells and abort the supercedure. I have torn down supercedure cells that were started after a swarm late in the season to get a queen mated and the queen took the colony overwinter and spring build up. Something that upsets the normal ratio of eggs, capped brood, and young bees can trigger a supercedure that is not the queens fault. Splitting the brood nest in marginal conditions can also trigger supercedure or emergency cells.

    That does not change the rule that says destroying supercedure cells is bad business; it usually is!

    Starting a nuc or two would be a good idea.
    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    419

    Default Re: Supersedure question

    i have pulled a nuc with the old queen a few times with supercedure cells in the hive. Sometimes the old queen does great, other times she fizzles out. The last time, the nuc immediately began supercedure again, and I let them replace her.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    I always have an idea what I shouldn't have done after the fact.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Georgetown, Texas
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Supersedure question

    Thanks for the replies. I went in yesterday and could not locate the queen. I did find enough SS cells to split the hive with a Snellgrove board, pulled 2 small frames that had a couple of SS cells each and 1), started a nuc and 2, put the other in a hopelessly queen-less hive (My doing). I was able to pull a frame of brood from each resource hive and add to the nuc and the queen-less hive.

    Now we are in for another week of rain per the forecasters, so we will see what we get.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    387

    Default Re: Supersedure question

    I have read a beekeeper who took the supersede cells out to make increase/splits. This was writing from the early 1900s like 1920 or something. he stated he got 6 different queens out before the old girl just quit. So IMO if you pull the SS cell out for a split, the old queen is still "not acceptable" so they will supercede again, and maybe again. for a good genetic queen and small increase needs this can be a gift that keeps giving. if/ when she crokes split the resources over the last couple new queens and let them go to it.. Once you know the play, you can use it to your advantage. worst case you only get 1 or 2...
    GG

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