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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have a hive with a bunch of capped swarm cells. But there are also some around the tops of frames. Don’t really want more bees. And I am also not totally sure of the queen is in there because she is very hard to see and haven’t seen eggs in five days. The cells are capped does that mean it’s too late to split and avoid a swarm? Suggestions
 

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Have a hive with a bunch of capped swarm cells. But there are also some around the tops of frames. Don’t really want more bees. And I am also not totally sure of the queen is in there because she is very hard to see and haven’t seen eggs in five days. The cells are capped does that mean it’s too late to split and avoid a swarm? Suggestions
If there are NO eggs (for sure) and hive has capped cells, they may already have swarmed. Regardless, you can split and reduce the percentage of potential bee loss if a split decides to swarm anyways. You can then combine back after dust settles if you don't want more hives.
 

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Not too late. Find the queen ASAP and split her out since that will likely happen anyway. Only difference is you will take a few frames and shakes of bees, but she will take half the bees. I would also mash the QCs down to just a few to 2 or 3 so there’s less chance of an afterswarm with a virgin queen. Don’t have to but that’s what I do.

They will prevent her from laying in their swarm prep. Maybe why you don’t see eggs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Not too late. Find the queen ASAP and split her out since that will likely happen anyway. Only difference is you will take a few frames and shakes of bees, but she will take half the bees. I would also mash the QCs down to just a few to 2 or 3 so there’s less chance of an afterswarm with a virgin queen. Don’t have to but that’s what I do.

They will prevent her from laying in their swarm prep. Maybe why you don’t see eggs.
Yea that’s the issue I can’t find her no matter what. There were eggs 4 days ago. I got frustrated today and I split them anyway. Grabbed 4 frames of brood and put them in another box. I’ll go back in tomorrow and try to find her. Thanks
 

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With all the cells capped and no eggs, I would assume the queen is gone with a swarm. A strong hive can look normal after a swarm. The cells don't all get laid at once, so all of them capped would mean the first one could probably have been capped several days before the others. Since you already split, take down all the cells but a couple of the nicest looking ones in the main hive to help prevent any after swarms, which would mean more lost bees. Treat them carefully. If it's a strong hive, you could have an after swarm or two with virgin queens when they emerge. Did you put a capped queen cell in the split? Do that if you didn't.

If you know anyone needing queen cells, you can give some away if you want. The split would be a better assurance you get a queen with two chances. If they both succeed and you don't want another hive, you can sell or give away the split.

One thing to note, if you have a colony ready to swarm, the only split that will prevent a swarm is one that you take the queen away from the hive. If you can't find the queen, just taking some bees away won't generally stop anything.
 

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With all the cells capped and no eggs, I would assume the queen is gone with a swarm. A strong hive can look normal after a swarm. The cells don't all get laid at once, so all of them capped would mean the first one could probably have been capped several days before the others.
Daniel is spot on. I’d be surprised if the original queen is in the hive by the time you get to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
With all the cells capped and no eggs, I would assume the queen is gone with a swarm. A strong hive can look normal after a swarm. The cells don't all get laid at once, so all of them capped would mean the first one could probably have been capped several days before the others. Since you already split, take down all the cells but a couple of the nicest looking ones in the main hive to help prevent any after swarms, which would mean more lost bees. Treat them carefully. If it's a strong hive, you could have an after swarm or two with virgin queens when they emerge. Did you put a capped queen cell in the split? Do that if you didn't.

If you know anyone needing queen cells, you can give some away if you want. The split would be a better assurance you get a queen with two chances. If they both succeed and you don't want another hive, you can sell or give away the split.

One thing to note, if you have a colony ready to swarm, the only split that will prevent a swarm is one that you take the queen away from the hive. If you can't find the queen, just taking some bees away won't generally stop anything.
Was in the hive four days ago and there were no Queen cells. Well I guess that’s not entirely true I must’ve missed a couple. But I am positive there was nothing capped. And there were eggs four days ago. Like I said this queen is very hard to find. I have seen her once since I installed her 2 months ago. That’s the problem with this hive I probably missed some because I don’t want to shake bees off frames to look for queen cells because I can’t find her.

When I did the split yes I put a frame in there that had two queen Cell’s capped. I am going to go in the split in that hive today Make sure the queen is not in the split and if she is I’ll pull the frames with the cells on it Thanks
 

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The timeline of a queen cell is, an egg is laid in a queen cup, 3 1/2 days later it hatches, 5 ish days later it's capped. Cells show up rapidly because when the egg is in the queen cup, nothing really happens. The cell starts getting built after the egg hatches. From no visible cells to swarm can be 4-5 days. I look for eggs in cells a lot this time of year. When you went in and saw no queen cells, you probably missed the first couple that were capped or close already, and didn't see the eggs in cups. I have found swarming colonies with one or two progressing cells and a few cups with eggs in them. I think the queen can lay eggs in cups one at a time for a week.

If I am looking for a queen in a hive going to swarm and see capped cells and no eggs even if there's room to lay, I consider it swarmed. They also, to me, seem calm after a swarm but crabby before the swarm. I once opened a hive and the bees were disturbed and all over the place running on the comb. I found a queen cell as I inspected and they swarmed as I was looking for others. I was happy they landed on a fence post 20 feet away.
 
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