Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?
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  1. #1
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    Default Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    Sorry for the crosspost. I can't figure out how to delete my other post on a thread from 2016 which was similar in nature...

    I had a hive that was doing great and wanted to swarm so I split it and also moved some bees to a hive with a new package (with newspaper) to try and keep it from swarming. That seemed to work but it still was making queen cups and I think it swarmed anyway in early July as I couldn't find the queen, there were less bees and no eggs but I found what looked like a virgin queen. So I waited and still no eggs so last week, I combined it with the original split I made which had a laying queen who was doing great (using newspaper). Checked it 5 days later to see if they had chewed thru the paper and they sort of did but then I found 3 queen cells (not capped but close) on the bottom of a frame of the hive I had split (with a laying queen who seems to be laying fine).

    So, I thought it was a swarm cell so I split that frame *again* and 2 brood frames into another hive. The queen was actually ON that frame too and looked fine. I took her and moved her and left the queen cells in the original place.

    But after reading this post: https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...arm-management

    I'm wondering if these are supercedure and not swarm cells. Even though the cells are on the bottom of the frame there were only 3 of them (spaced apart)...and so this thread above sounds like that is supersedure not swarm.

    BUT I already split them up. SO my question is:
    Should I leave it and see what happens, or disturb them again and recombine it back? I just did the split Sunday...The qc had fat larvae in them (like on the verge of being capped). My thought is that what is done is done so just leave it, rather than disrupt them yet again. Then I can see if the qc materialize and if not combine it then and see if the queenright hive does another supersedure attempt?

    If it is supercedure, I guess I'm wondering why if the queen is laying fine w even brood patterns (not that it really matters...the bees know but I want to know).

    (I think I've messed with this hive so much that it doesn't feel like it is helping. It was doing awesome in June and was huge but then wanting to swarm all the time so I kept splitting it out (2x) and then it still swarmed, and now I'm left with a small hive which is doing weird things like swarm/supercedure with a new queen that seems to be laying fine.)

    Thoughts?

    Karen

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    Leave it, you can always combine the end of August if it does not work out. This is the safest way to see what's going to happen. You've already done the split, let it ride for a month.
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    Leave it, you can always combine the end of August if it does not work out. This is the safest way to see what's going to happen. You've already done the split, let it ride for a month.
    Thanks...that's what I figured. Looks like if this pans out in an ideal situation, they'll either supercede again and I'll have that and the cells I left will be a decent queen. Worst case scenario is that I'll be combining everything back into one hive... Musical chairs!

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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by houseofcakes View Post
    My thought is that what is done is done so just leave it, rather than disrupt them yet again.
    Agreed, that.

    Only issue could be that when splits are made using partially developed queen cells on the bottom of a frame, sometimes the split does not have as big of a bee cluster to cover the bottom of the frame and properly care for those queen cells. So when the time is right, would pay to have a look and see if they hatched normally.

    Re messing with the hive a lot, although damage can sometimes inadvertantly be done, in my view getting into a hive and messing with it will enable you to see more, and learn more, than a leave it alone beekeeper who rarely takes the lid off.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    I wonder if the supercedure is due to an imbalance of ages in the bees caused by the splitting.and subsequent swarm. Kinda like perpetual motion. Agree, just let it ride out unless you have another hive you can split from and introduce this queen into that split. You probably do not want to remove any q cells from the hive at this point.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    Hi,
    Thanks @JWPalmer and @Oldtimer.


    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post

    Only issue could be that when splits are made using partially developed queen cells on the bottom of a frame, sometimes the split does not have as big of a bee cluster to cover the bottom of the frame and properly care for those queen cells. So when the time is right, would pay to have a look and see if they hatched normally.
    I split the queen and some bees to another location this time (versus moving the split elsewhere and leaving the Queen in the same spot) and left the cells in the old position so *hopefully* there are more bees there? I had read somewhere that that makes it feel like they have swarmed?

    The bummer is that this hive was doing amazingly well in June. I ended up splitting it twice (split-->swarm (I think)-->split) b/c it kept making queen cells then it kind of started to poop out b/c no queen came back. On 7/9, I had this what I think is a virgin queen but nothing came of it, hence the combine of a QR with this original hive last week on 7/21.


    I think my concern also is I'm trying too hard to get the perfect hive situation so it builds/gets stronger and I am just spinning my (and their) wheels and overmanipulating. This has been a good lesson in patience (which I am not). In hindsight I wish I found that post that said that it's not a hard/fast rule that queen cells on the bottom are swarm cells esp if there are only 1-3 of them. Then I might have left them, but I think I'm paranoid about swarming now. It feels like a weird failure to have a swarm and it kind of sucks to have had such a strong hive just kind of tank in 6 weeks waiting for a queen that didn't materialize.

    But, I will leave it all alone now and let the bees sort it out.

    (I also wonder why the hive that has the new queen, who seems to be laying fine, wants to supercede. I found eggs on 6/21 and it *seems* like all is fine *shrug*. I think the more I do this the more questions I have, not less lol. Think like a bee.)

    Maybe I'll check the cells this weekend (1 week later) to see if anything happened--or too soon? I have been leaving splits alone for 2 weeks after capping so they can hatch, mate, start laying (in this case I'm estimating 8/13). But if nothing happens it seems like an awful long time to leave bees without any new eggs/brood.

    K
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  8. #7
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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    Too soon IMO. Just let them do what they know how to do. Checking on them at this point will not ensure a returned mated queen. Best thing is to count out 24 days from when you saw the cells capped. That will be the next time you open that hive and hopefully will see eggs then. If you do not, you wait another week and look again. I have to write the dates down because it seems like its been a longer time than it has been actually. Once I am sure that queen cells have been started, a production hive that I split a queen out of gets left alone for 28 days. Kills me having to wait. Nucs I am into a bit more because so much can go wrong with just two or three frames of bees.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Too soon IMO. Just let them do what they know how to do. Checking on them at this point will not ensure a returned mated queen. Best thing is to count out 24 days from when you saw the cells capped. That will be the next time you open that hive and hopefully will see eggs then. If you do not, you wait another week and look again. I have to write the dates down because it seems like its been a longer time than it has been actually. Once I am sure that queen cells have been started, a production hive that I split a queen out of gets left alone for 28 days. Kills me having to wait. Nucs I am into a bit more because so much can go wrong with just two or three frames of bees.
    Makes sense This year has been intense with the bees!

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    Oldtimer, I have posted the following but haven’t received any answers; “I found a charged queen cup in a centrally located honey super. The cup was near the top of that frame but not on the edge. The frame was newly drawn white wax, did not see any sign of any brood having been raised in that frame, and it had at least one full capped honey super above it and below it. I inspected the rest of the hive and found eggs, larva and capped cells, and room for her to lay, no other charged cells anywhere. I’m guessing here, but could it have been laid by a worker for whatever reason?” This is my third spot here on BS asking this, it probably is nothing but got me thinking....What is your opinion?
    Proverbs 16:24

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    You missed one bit of useful information , does the hive have a queen excluder?

    But other than that i got to be honest i don't know the answer to your question. I have seen similar but it's extremely rare. I use excluders so have assumed the egg must be from a laying worker, and indeed at any one time, most hives have a few workers capable of laying eggs, this has been documented by dissecting worker bees. But it is believed that in a normally functioning hive the bees can detect and remove any such eggs that are layed. Could be that far enough away from the queen (more than one honey box away), there was little enough queen substance that the bees decided to continue the cell.

    However although i have seen a very few of these type cells started above an excluder, i have never seen one completed, or even get to the capping stage, so my guess is they are unfertilised eggs layed by laying workers.

    There is a belief held by some, that such cells prove that workers move eggs. For me though, if that was the case, we would expect most of them to be fertilised eggs and that at least some of them would reach maturity. But me anyway, i never have seen that.

    That's my 2 cents, sorry i cannot give a definate answer. I don't think anybody knows the absolute truth of the matter, it is such a rare event that it is probably impossible to set up a proper study of it when occuring naturally.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    You missed one bit of useful information , does the hive have a queen excluder?

    But other than that i got to be honest i don't know the answer to your question. I have seen similar but it's extremely rare. I use excluders so have assumed the egg must be from a laying worker, and indeed at any one time, most hives have a few workers capable of laying eggs, this has been documented by dissecting worker bees. But it is believed that in a normally functioning hive the bees can detect and remove any such eggs that are layed. Could be that far enough away from the queen (more than one honey box away), there was little enough queen substance that the bees decided to continue the cell.

    However although i have seen a very few of these type cells started above an excluder, i have never seen one completed, or even get to the capping stage, so my guess is they are unfertilised eggs layed by laying workers.

    There is a belief held by some, that such cells prove that workers move eggs. For me though, if that was the case, we would expect most of them to be fertilised eggs and that at least some of them would reach maturity. But me anyway, i never have seen that.

    That's my 2 cents, sorry i cannot give a definate answer. I don't think anybody knows the absolute truth of the matter, it is such a rare event that it is probably impossible to set up a proper study of it when occuring naturally.
    That helps and supports what I was thinking. I didn’t have an excluder on this hive, but this frame was surrounded with capped honey and full honey supers above and below. She could have laid the egg but I don’t think so by the looks of the newly formed cup; its something that I haven’t seen before. I couldn’t see the egg because of the royal jelly. I wish I had taken a picture of it. Thanks. Deb
    Proverbs 16:24

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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    That helps and supports what I was thinking. I didn’t have an excluder on this hive, but this frame was surrounded with capped honey and full honey supers above and below. She could have laid the egg but I don’t think so by the looks of the newly formed cup; its something that I haven’t seen before. I couldn’t see the egg because of the royal jelly. I wish I had taken a picture of it. Thanks. Deb
    I run some hives with no excluder. Seems at times the queen will go up and lay a few eggs, some times she is split from the brood and the bees make a Q cell due to lack of pheromone. Other explanations are also possible, supercedure and the old Queen is chased up and lays a bit in the supers. Swarm comes in an upper entrance. Supercedure and 2 queen mate and 1 end up high and 1 low in the hive. 2 queen hives happen a lot more that we think, if you are looking for a queen and find one , do you keep looking for the next queen?, no you assume here she is and quit looking. Once the honey is filled she should move down.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Late July swarm cells OR supercedure?

    thanks for the reply; no other brood there at all, just that one cup filled. Everything else was new wax. With honey bees anything is possible. The hive is doing good, an overwintered Saskatraz queen, one (of 2) that did not swarm last year like the other 3 Sas. queens did. I’m up to 20 hives this including a double nuc and splits I did from the overwintered ones. It’s a lot of work, we’ve had a good flow here that hasn’t really stopped yet and the blossoms are starting on the knotweed AND the first goldenrod has bloomed. I just bought more supers. Yikes.
    Proverbs 16:24

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