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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I am a novice beekeeper in Texas, going into year 4, with 3 hives currently.

I keep my bees in a remote location, and life got in the way, and I just opened them for the first time in a month. One hive looks to me like it is about to swarm, so I thought I would post on here and see what advice everyone had for me.

In the hive in question, I opened it up and it had a LOT of bees in it, including a very noticeable proportion of drones. There were about 6-7 frames of capped brood, but I did not see any uncapped brood. There was one open queen cell, and 6 more closed queen cells.

This is a horizontal langstroth hive, and interestingly, there was a frame of capped brood (including quite a bit of it drone brood), that was four or five frames down from the main brood nest, separated by frames of mixed stores and open cells.

There were a lot of frames that had a few stores, but a lot of open space as well outboard from the brood nest. I thought it was surprisingly light on stores overall, despite there being a lot of stuff blooming right now.

It seems odd that there was no open brood, but quite a bit of closed brood. Is it possible that this something happened to the queen and this is a replacement, or maybe a supercedure rather than a build up to a swarm?

Any thoughts or advice?

I am tempted to go ahead and do a taranov split or some other kind of split, but not 100% sure what to do, and if I do a split, not sure if I should leave all the queen cells and let them hatch and fight it out, or scrape out all but one...

Thanks for any insight you all may have!
 

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By open, do you mean they have not sealed it yet or the queen has already emerged?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
By open, do you mean they have not sealed it yet or the queen has already emerged?

I think the queen has already emerged. It was a full cell, and not a cup, and had just a small hole on the bottom that looked like it had been chewed open, versus never being completed and sealed.


For the previous comment, that is a good point, if they have already swarmed that would explain the lack of any uncapped brood, which was one of the things that was not making sense to me. The only thing that would make me question that is that there still seems to be a very large number of bees in the hive, but maybe there were even more during the month that I missed.


So if they have swarmed already, and I split them again it shouldnt hurt anything, except that it would give me two weaker hives going into the main flow, and weaken my honey production?

I have another nuc coming in a couple of weeks, and only have one spare hive currently, so I dont really want to split them unless I just have to, and I would rather have more honey than more bees.

However, if they have not swarmed yet, it sure seems like they are about to, so if that is the case and I dont split them, I am looking at a lot of my bees potentially flying away.

Anything else I should check or think about before making the final call on whether to do the split or not?
 

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If she emerged, there is a good chance the other cells are dead. You could open one and check. If so, open one that is near another one. If the emerged queen killed one on the frame, she probably got the other one.
 

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My opinion, just leave it alone for now. It is not uncommon to see a lot of bees still in the hive "after" they have swarmed, almost like it didn't happen yet. But you can be fairly certain at this point the original queen has already swarmed, and if not, the new virgin queen that emerged will probably have disposed of her if this was a supercedure. If the virgin queen also left in an after swarm then one of the other queens that emerge will take over the colony. Seems to be too many unknowns right now to be splitting up the hive. My guess is that the hive swarmed, and the new virgin queen is taking her mating flights. Give them a little time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Mike, that makes perfect sense.

I will definitely skip the split for now... I really appreciate the insight and advice from everyone! This forum is awesome!
 
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