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Discussion Starter #1
Hopefully someone can clear this up for me:

One of my colonies quickly expanded with the flow and I started seeing QC's. This is a 2 year old queen and I decided to move her over with some frames of brood/stores as a split. The original colony, in addition to some hanging queen cells, made loads of emergency cells (the ones hanging up in the brood). I thought all was fine and after figuring my dates of emergence/factoring in mating flights etc decided to leave the hive alone until after I expect the new queen to be laying.

And then I just read something about cast swarming- though it wasn't very clearly explained. The suggestion was to reduce the existing queen cells down to one or two, squishing the rest. Can someone explain this, and is this normal practice?

Thanks

Brad
 

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I wouldn't worry too much about it. More than likely the first one will emerge and kill the rest.

The main reason for culling queen cells is to reduce the probability that virgins will emerge simultaneously and fight, possibly hurting the surviving queen in the process. I assume that you are already past the point of emergence (Day 8)? If not, you could go back into the hive and mash the QC's down to 2 or 3. If you are past that point, nothing to do but wait and see. I have a feeling that you will come out of this with a queen if you leave the hive undisturbed for a couple of weeks.

While an after swarm is possible, my experience is that more than likely they won't.

Ryan
 

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potential to send out numerous small swarms with virgins. assume its primarily driven by genetics as see some family lines that tend to do it frequently while others not so much.
 

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Hopefully someone can clear this up for me:

One of my colonies quickly expanded with the flow and I started seeing QC's. This is a 2 year old queen and I decided to move her over with some frames of brood/stores as a split. The original colony, in addition to some hanging queen cells, made loads of emergency cells (the ones hanging up in the brood). I thought all was fine and after figuring my dates of emergence/factoring in mating flights etc decided to leave the hive alone until after I expect the new queen to be laying.

And then I just read something about cast swarming- though it wasn't very clearly explained. The suggestion was to reduce the existing queen cells down to one or two, squishing the rest. Can someone explain this, and is this normal practice?

Thanks

Brad
If they are set on swarming, crowded, they may still try. First virgin out would take off in a typical swarming manner, second or 3rd may as well.
reducing the number of cells "may" help. Further splitting may also help. I find the best way to "squash" the swarming impulse is put 1 good QC on a frame of sealed brood in the original hive location. move the rest away. (fly back split) The field bees will soon end up there, AND have only 1 queen to hatch, cannot swarm well with out at least 2 Qcells. do not leave any eggs or Larvae, find a frame of sealed brood, and 1 queen cell. cut some off if need be. the box full of Qcells will be minus the field bees, and you removed the queen, they would likely not swarm either. In general you have 4 things, Queen, field bees, nurse bees, stores , if some how you can split 2 of these things from the others you can stop the impulse. My best luck is the Queen and field bees separated from the nurse bees and stores. as you have pulled the queen you have 3 things still in one spot and 1 in another. let optimal than 2 and 2. Once the dust settles you can chose the better queen and recombine some of the parts, if you do not need increase. If you want increase make NUCs till the QCs are all used up. Not all of them will work out so some recombining is going to be needed. I generally can get 4 or 5 of 6 splits to have a good queen. If you have some hives needing re queen and like the genetics of this hive, placing a QC in the other hive will "most of the time" result in a supercedure. new queen hatches kills the old one or doesn't and mates and starts laying.
no hard and fast rules, but some generalities can be used to forecast with some accuracy the outcome.
Have fun this could be a good time to experiment a little, and maybe have some queens to share.
GG
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Ryan. My earliest emergence is 6/2 if my math is correct. I think I'll take your advice and leave them alone. I feel like going in and much around when if my math is wrong and I could have an emerging queen could be the wrong move. One thing I've learned in the past year is that there is a direct correlation between me mucking and downstream problems! I'll use this as a test and if I notice less bees/missing stores I'll change my practice moving forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks GG.. I think I follow. Question: do field bees "smell" their original queen and hop over to new split? (I'm asking because it seemed like when I did that the next day there were lots of bees returning with pollen when most of the bees on the frames I introduced were nurses, I assume).
 

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thanks GG.. I think I follow. Question: do field bees "smell" their original queen and hop over to new split? (I'm asking because it seemed like when I did that the next day there were lots of bees returning with pollen when most of the bees on the frames I introduced were nurses, I assume).
Depends, each situation would be a little different . the size of the colony, the distance, time of the year, etc. So for me they go back to the original location. I just did a spit like we are describing, ( pulled queen and 5 frames of bees from a hive with swarm cells) the NUC was packed with bees, I even shook another frame in. 4 days later this NUC with the queen was down to 3.5 frames of bees, mine seemed to have 1.5 frames or so of bees, go back to the old location. on yours there would have been some field bees on each frame. if close proximity, nasanoving could attract some of the bees. I have seen from very little to 50% drift back to the old location. I have not seen drift to the queen rite split. I may just not be paying attention, :)
I personally do not think they smell the old queen, from 30 or more feet and drift there. I have not tested, and this is my opinion.
 

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I wouldn't worry too much about it. More than likely the first one will emerge and kill the rest.
I used to believe that. I did a graft on May 8, one bar of 15 cups. Checked on the 10th, 13 accepted and cells being drawn, expect them to emerge on the 20th. My schedule called for transferring the cells to mating nucs on May 18. On the 17had an incident here that landed me in a hospital 200 miles from home, and I stayed there for 6 days. My wife called on the 18th and was wondering what to do with the cells in the cell builder (double deep unit, cloak board, queen below the excluder, cell frame above). I told her to just leave it, one will come out and kill the rest, nothing we can do about that for now. On the 20th she texted me a picture of swarm leaving the builder.

I got home on the 22nd late in the day. On the 23rd my wife brought the cell bar frame back to the house from the builder colony so I could see it. Of the 13 accepted cells, 12 looked perfectly emerged. Walking on that frame we found 4 virgin queens which I promptly put in cages. Later in the afternoon a friend came by to help sort out our bee issues because I am on light duty for 2 months, specifically prohibited by doc from lifting any bee boxes till August at earliest. He went thru the top box of the builder above the excluder and found a couple more virgin queens running around. He helped re-organize a bunch of mating nucs and we put some virgins into those, then we split the builder 3 ways and added virgin queens there.

That was an interesting learning experience to see a cell bar, 12 emerged, none torn out on the side, and just about everywhere you look in that top box, there was a virgin queen running around.

So much for all my reading about how the first one to emerge will kill the rest of the cells before they emerge. In this case, they all emerged cleanly, and at least half were still running around happily in that box, probably more. My wife mentioned that on the way from the yard to the house she had brushed a bunch of bees off the cell bar frame without checking to see if there were any queens, so who knows how many more were still on that frame and got brushed off on the way to the house?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Huh... wish bees would read the textbook. Makes it tricky when they color outside the lines. I suppose based on your experience I might have some issues w all those cells in there. Unfortunately I don’t have time right now to do anything too involved (other than squishing) so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for an aggressive virgin that hates her sisters.

Question for GG: you mentioned selecting a frame of capped brood with a queen cell for the fly back split setup. If I don’t have a frame like that- can I simply (I imagine very carefully) remove and stick a queen cell onto a frame of capped brood? If so- what are the mechanics involved? Use glue? I’d imagine it’s very easy to damage the cell?
 

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I wouldn't worry too much about it. More than likely the first one will emerge and kill the rest.
This is typically true if the queen cells are all on the same frame but it sounds like they are spread out on several frames. I would cull all but the 2 best cells all on the same frame. A hive will cast swarms to the point of hurting the original hive.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
These are different ages and spread out over probably 4 frames.. ok I think I’m convinced.. tomorrow morning I’m gonna do some culling. Hopefully my math is right and no one has emerged yet
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wasn’t exactly what I pictured myself doing between night shifts when I’d usually be sleeping.. but as I think they’ll be emerging as early as Sunday I figured I had to get it done.

In total I smushed 12 cells, left 2 on a frame in that hive and moved 2 with 2 frames of capped brood/bees and 3 frames of stores to a 5 frame NUC.

And now I’ll leave them alone.

I couldn’t believe how many cells there really were...

Thanks for all the help w this. As always- this forum is invaluable for the new/learning beekeeper!

Brad
 
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