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During my inspection last Sunday, my hive had several new, empty swarm cells. I did not search for the queen, but I did see lots of eggs. Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday), I checked the hive again and the swam cells were still empty, and again I saw plenty of eggs in the brood nest. The rest of the broodnest looks normal.

This is a hive of Carniolans, and is increasing rapidly right now. They have filled two westerns with brood, and have not yet expanded into a 3rd box of empty, foundationless frames.

I've been keeping close track of this hive, and it has not swarmed.

I would like to make a split with this hive, and would like to take advantage of the swarm cells, but I am surprised that the queen has not yet laid in them.

If the bees decide they aren't ready to swarm, will they chew out these cells, or just leave them until later when they might decide to use them?

Do you have any recommendations? I am thinking I might split the hive in a couple weeks anyway, even if the swarm cells don't get populated.

Thanks!
 

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well they could be just random queen cups. Some just appear with no apparrent reason to me, I'm sure the bees have a reason.
 

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If you were to really look at frames of comb you would be surprided to find queen cups pulled out with no eggs in them. They like to have things in a ready state if they find themselves queenless or are ready for a supercedure or swarming. Nothing to worry about.

G3
 

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my hives keep a few queen cups all the time. if i cut them out thay build them back so i just leave them.
 

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No. Queen cups are made by bees. Queen cups are the beginning of a queen cell. Bees often build them ahead of time, just in case they need to raise a queen.

How large are these 'empty swarm cells' that you're seeing? Queen cups that I've seen usually are less than 3/8 inch long.

If they are empty, it is likely they are queen cups. Bees probably aren't going to draw out a large queen cell if there is no larva inside.
 

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If you want to split, you could just divvy up resorces, between boxes, be sure both have eggs (then you dont have to find the queen) the one without will turn the cup into a cell.
 

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The bees don't turn a cup into a cell unless there is an egg laid in it. If you make one half queenless they will produce a emergency cell from an already laid egg that is in a worker worker cell by elongating that out and down while flooding it with royal jelly.
 
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