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Discussion Starter #1
Due to being in a cast and having some drizzly weather I only pulled out one frame. I saw eggs, young wet larvae, a little pollen, and 3 large queen cups in the middle of the frame that didn't appear to have eggs in them.

I added a super above a queen excluder in case those were swarm cells and they need more space. They looked a little more like supercedure cells to me but the queen is laying well and is only in her second year so I'm not sure.

If I catch a break in the rain, should I split the colony? I don't really want increase but don't want to lose a swarm either. Or should I wait to see if there are capped queen cells when I return in a week?

I'm in central NY so swarm season is just getting started, I think. The colony is in a double deep brood chamber and I moved a lot of the brood down to the lower box two weeks ago. Their numbers are pretty strong but the boxes aren't like overflowing with bees.

Oh, and they're Italians not Russians so the cups probably mean something.

Thanks for any tips.
 

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adding a super above an excluder wont give them the space they need because the queen can't go up to lay. I would try to remove a few frames from box 2 and add a few empty frames between brood frames to give them room. this is the kind of room they need to keep them from swarming. If you have a few frames on the outside with honey/pollen/empty or no brood, remove them or move them up to the third box. The main thing is to give them space in the brood box.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I agree. I did just that two weeks ago -- two brood frames removed from the upper brood chamber and replaced with undrawn foundation. At this point I don't have any dinks so removing more frames would involve making a split.

My thinking yesterday was that adding a super wouldn't have an immediate benefit, but our spring flow is right around the corner and they'll need somewhere to put it other than the brood box. If they're already preparing a swarm then I think you're right that this isn't going to solve the current issue and would be too little way too late. *sigh* She's my favorite queen, too.

I wonder how commercial beeks prevent swarming without ending up with more and more colonies every year. Losses? Selling nucs? Recombining in fall? It's not like with cats or dogs where you can just get them fixed. The bees want to make increase and it seems there's no stopping them!
 

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Empty queen supersedure cells are common this time of year (any time except winter really). Russians build more of them, but Italians build them too. I see them in both my Italian and Russian hives. Most beekeepers might be surprised at how often they are there because they are often covered by bees and they often continually build them up and then tear them right back down only to do it all over again a few days later. I have an observation hive, so I get to watch the action daily.
 

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keep an eye on them, if you do see swarm cells, you could use a snelgrove board(double screen board) to prevent them from swarming. Google snelgrove board and you'll find lots of information. Bee supply houses sell them
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok. I won't worry too much just yet. Also there's fairly few drones. I'll check them in a week.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Queen cups with nothing in them mean absolutely, positively and completely, nothing. Queen cups don't mean anything. Queen cells mean something.
Actually, after creating this thread I saw that you said almost the same thing in answer to almost the same question some 5 or 10 years ago. Clear and concise as always. Thanks!
 
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