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Discussion Starter #1
I did a thorough inspection of my hives 9 days ago. I recently introduced undrawn supers to the hives, sandwiched between the brood boxes. We have record low temps on the way Friday and Saturday night (mid-upper 20s). In one of the hives I found a lot of queen cups and one capped queen cell. I slashed the cups and squished a nearly capped cell. I left the capped cell alone, and reassembled the hive. My first instinct is to split the hive, but we have the cold temps on the way. I am worried I could put the split at risk due to the cold. If I leave it alone I fear the hive could swarm. IF I missed the cup 9 days ago the new queen could emerge any day now. If the cell originated 9 days ago I still have time before the new queen would emerge. I have two brand new hives at my disposal. What would you do in this scenario? 1. Split and hope the cold doesn't have an effect? 2. Wait until after the coldest nights and then split? 3. Do nothing and if they swarm hope my swarm trap catches them?

PS Should I have left the other nearly capped cell alone?
 

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I recently introduced undrawn supers to the hives, sandwiched between the brood boxes.
Don't do that.

We have record low temps on the way Friday and Saturday night (mid-upper 20s). In one of the hives I found a lot of queen cups and one capped queen cell. I slashed the cups
Don’t. It’s futile and unnecessary.

and squished a nearly capped cell.
Don’t do that.

My first instinct is to split the hive, but we have the cold temps on the way.
Don’t.

If I leave it alone I fear the hive could swarm. IF I missed the cup 9 days ago the new queen could emerge any day now. If the cell originated 9 days ago I still have time before the new queen would emerge. I have two brand new hives at my disposal. What would you do in this scenario?
Leave them alone and let them recover for awhile. If you want to prevent swarming, checkerboard the comb in the honey dome just above the top of the brood area.

PS Should I have left the other nearly capped cell alone?
Yes. Less is more.
 

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I put a super of comb in the middle of the brood boxes and the bees turned mean, and made cells in the top half, see my video " A good hive gone bad"
I put that cell in a mating nuc, but the bees are warming the capped brood and ignoring the cell, I don't guess it'll hatch.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Don't do that.

Don’t. It’s futile and unnecessary.

Don’t do that.

Don’t.

Leave them alone and let them recover for awhile. If you want to prevent swarming, checkerboard the comb in the honey dome just above the top of the brood area.

Yes. Less is more.
Thank you for responding. Do you think I should abandon splitting the hive and just let them swarm? Last season I placed undrawn supers on top of the hive and they did not draw them out at all. This year I was advised to sandwich them to get them to draw them out. Both hives (who last season ignored the new supers placed on top) have drawn frames on the sandwiched supers. To me, this appears to be a success? Do I have that wrong? I have since moved them back to the top and in the process discovered the queen cell mentioned in my original post. Did sandwiching cause them to draw the cell? Each hive has 15 or so cups per brood box, so they want more space. Or maybe not? I am confused. Over my last year and a half of research I thought finding and eliminating cups was protocol for dampening the chance your hive will swarm. You say to leave them alone. I am guaranteeing you have much more experience than me so I am curious as to what your method of preventing a swarm when you have evidence of one is? Is it simply to checkerboard the comb above the brood nest? From your post I am learning that you should not slash cups, you should not remove queen cells, you should not split, you should leave the bees alone. Are you in the camp of letting nature find its way, and if they want to swarm let them swarm? Again I appreciate your input!
 

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Thank you for responding. Do you think I should abandon splitting the hive and just let them swarm? Last season I placed undrawn supers on top of the hive and they did not draw them out at all. This year I was advised to sandwich them to get them to draw them out. Both hives (who last season ignored the new supers placed on top) have drawn frames on the sandwiched supers. To me, this appears to be a success? Do I have that wrong? I have since moved them back to the top and in the process discovered the queen cell mentioned in my original post. Did sandwiching cause them to draw the cell? Each hive has 15 or so cups per brood box, so they want more space. Or maybe not? I am confused. Over my last year and a half of research I thought finding and eliminating cups was protocol for dampening the chance your hive will swarm. You say to leave them alone. I am guaranteeing you have much more experience than me so I am curious as to what your method of preventing a swarm when you have evidence of one is? Is it simply to checkerboard the comb above the brood nest? From your post I am learning that you should not slash cups, you should not remove queen cells, you should not split, you should leave the bees alone. Are you in the camp of letting nature find its way, and if they want to swarm let them swarm? Again I appreciate your input!
Do you still have eggs in the hive?
What if when you added the super in the middle the queen was squished?

your scenario has several options.

bees want to swarm
bees had queen loss
splitting the brood nest caused the queen pheromone to be not present in one half creating emergency Q cells.

the path forward is better illuminated when you know how you got to where you were.

Also to me if it is too cold to split then placing the supper in the center of the nest was also not advised. So your reasoning to do 1 thing did not apply to the other.

If you want a new hive take the queen cell out to hatch and mate, if it is too soon or too cold it will fail, if so put the frames back into a hive.

check for eggs first IMO to insure you are queen rite, my best guess is she would be in the half with out the Q cells.

Are your supers the same size as any of your brood boxes? If so then there are better ways to add supers than in the middle of the brood nest.

Also look at Matts thread on OSBN

GG
 

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I agree with Gray Goose.

There's a swarm prevention method called Demaree that's exactly like what you did except you're supposed to destroy every queen cell in the queenless side (unless you want increase), and ideally you'd have drawn comb for the super that's sandwiched between the brood boxes.

Just use the word "Demaree" to describe what you did and everyone will suddenly say it was totally reasonable. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Do you still have eggs in the hive?
What if when you added the super in the middle the queen was squished?

Also to me if it is too cold to split then placing the supper in the center of the nest was also not advised. So your reasoning to do 1 thing did not apply to the other.

If you want a new hive take the queen cell out to hatch and mate, if it is too soon or too cold it will fail, if so put the frames back into a hive.

check for eggs first IMO to insure you are queen rite, my best guess is she would be in the half with out the Q cells.

Are your supers the same size as any of your brood boxes? If so then there are better ways to add supers than in the middle of the brood nest.

Also look at Matts thread on OSBN

GG
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I did not check for eggs the last time I inspected, just checked the bottoms of the frames (I wasn't planning to do a full inspection, just wanted to place the super back on the top of the hive in preparation for the cold temps on the way). The weather at the time I sandwiched the supers was normal if not warm (70s during the day, 50s at night). I sandwiched them and 5 days later an extreme cold front was forecast suggesting temps in the mid to upper 20s. To put this in perspective, the temps for Friday and Saturday are the lowest they have been for this time in May in the last 70 years. After seeing the news of the surprise cold front I decided it would be best to unsandwich the supers to get the brood nest back together. It was during this process that I discovered the capped cell. While squishing the queen is always a possibility, I smoked the bees down in the frames and made sure all burr and excess drone comb was removed before placing the boxes back. Unlikely she was squished? Yes. Impossible? No. I won't know until I open the hive up again to check for eggs. Temps are in the 30s and 40s until next Tuesday, so I am not going in until after the coldest weather has passed. I don't know how likely it is that they will swarm during a cold wet spell so maybe they will stay put for the time being. What would happen if the cell hatched while the bees were hunkering down for the cold weather? I guess there isn't much I can do until it warms up again. PS my supers are meds and broods are deeps so swapping up frames is a no go for me. Thanks again for your input.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to respond. I did not check for eggs the last time I inspected, just checked the bottoms of the frames (I wasn't planning to do a full inspection, just wanted to place the super back on the top of the hive in preparation for the cold temps on the way). The weather at the time I sandwiched the supers was normal if not warm (70s during the day, 50s at night). I sandwiched them and 5 days later an extreme cold front was forecast suggesting temps in the mid to upper 20s. To put this in perspective, the temps for Friday and Saturday are the lowest they have been for this time in May in the last 70 years. After seeing the news of the surprise cold front I decided it would be best to unsandwich the supers to get the brood nest back together. It was during this process that I discovered the capped cell. While squishing the queen is always a possibility, I smoked the bees down in the frames and made sure all burr and excess drone comb was removed before placing the boxes back. Unlikely she was squished? Yes. Impossible? No. I won't know until I open the hive up again to check for eggs. Temps are in the 30s and 40s until next Tuesday, so I am not going in until after the coldest weather has passed. I don't know how likely it is that they will swarm during a cold wet spell so maybe they will stay put for the time being. What would happen if the cell hatched while the bees were hunkering down for the cold weather? I guess there isn't much I can do until it warms up again. PS my supers are meds and broods are deeps so swapping up frames is a no go for me. Thanks again for your input.
Thanks for the clarity Johnny,
Good move getting the nest back together for the cold snap.
The cells is somewhat odd, was the hive very full of bees and looking like they would swarm, if yes then it could be swarm cells.
Did the super get any build? I would think if packed they would have started to build.
Did it look like they swarmed already , IE less bees that you thought?
If they already swarmed you need a cell to re queen.
if they want to swarm then the first "nice" day the swarm will likely emerge.
you could go in the first nice day if you are able 9:30 10am ish and have a good look.
what I have seen is swarms issue 11am ish till 2pm, but with bees there are no absolutes.
the cold snap is going to create a issue for you to inspect. you could if you have the parts assemble a decoy hive in the cool streach and place it to hope to catch the swarm. Bottom, deep , top a couple old combs, the rest foundation.
I guess wait for the weather to be nice then inspect, you may be looking for Virgins and the old queen, then.
Confined and lower flow coming in the virgin "could" just supersede the old queen as well.
If on the inspection there are no eggs then, it is possible the old queen swarmed , or she died or was killed.
there is a chance this will self rectify, or they swarm the first nice day.
Bees will be bees

good luck, let us know the result,, feed back is good as well

GG
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the clarity Johnny,
Good move getting the nest back together for the cold snap.
The cells is somewhat odd, was the hive very full of bees and looking like they would swarm, if yes then it could be swarm cells.
Did the super get any build? I would think if packed they would have started to build.
Did it look like they swarmed already , IE less bees that you thought?
If they already swarmed you need a cell to re queen.
if they want to swarm then the first "nice" day the swarm will likely emerge.
you could go in the first nice day if you are able 9:30 10am ish and have a good look.
what I have seen is swarms issue 11am ish till 2pm, but with bees there are no absolutes.
the cold snap is going to create a issue for you to inspect. you could if you have the parts assemble a decoy hive in the cool streach and place it to hope to catch the swarm. Bottom, deep , top a couple old combs, the rest foundation.
I guess wait for the weather to be nice then inspect, you may be looking for Virgins and the old queen, then.
Confined and lower flow coming in the virgin "could" just supersede the old queen as well.
If on the inspection there are no eggs then, it is possible the old queen swarmed , or she died or was killed.
there is a chance this will self rectify, or they swarm the first nice day.
Bees will be bees

good luck, let us know the result,, feed back is good as well

GG
Lots of good info here, thanks a lot. The super got some build out for the 5 days or so that they had draw it. I would estimate it at about 15% drawn, so not a ton. They did not appear to swarm already. I may try to have a look on Weds morning. It is going to be in the 30s each morning until then. I have a swarm trap that I placed on the property about 3 weeks ago. I am going to refresh the lemon grass oil on Sunday to make sure its putting out some smell for the bees to find in case they need it. Bummer about this cold weather. Say the weather was nice and I inspected the hive to find eggs as well as the cell... Should I think about splitting it? I am trying to get a game plan in place for the first nice day I am able to get in and check things out. I have a fresh hive waiting for a split or swarm catch so that part is done. I am assuming that if I find no eggs then it is safe to say the queen is gone and I should leave the hive be until they hopefully requeen themselves. Thanks again for your help! I will be back with an update when I see whats happening in the hive. In the meantime I am getting my Winter jacket back out of the closet...
 

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... I am curious as to what your method of preventing a swarm when you have evidence of one is? Is it simply to checkerboard the comb above the brood nest? From your post I am learning that you should not slash cups, you should not remove queen cells, you should not split, you should leave the bees alone. Are you in the camp of letting nature find its way, and if they want to swarm let them swarm? Again I appreciate your input!
I wouldn’t slash queen cups. It’s futile and unnecessary. I generally don’t remove queen cells that could possibly be supersedure cells. Splitting is fine if it serves your purposes, is well timed, and is done in an effective manner for your purposes. An old beekeeper once pulled me aside at a large bee club meeting and said just take care of the bees and they will take care of you. Why do you want the bees to draw comb? If it’s for them, they know better than I do about whether, when, and where to draw comb. I have undersupered in early spring by placing undrawn frames, or empty drawn frames above the brood area and below drawn frames of nectar and honey. I generally just super on top these days to keep it simple. I mainly just try not to stress the bees by unnecessarily using artificial or unnatural manipulations unless I have a very good reason. They know more about being bees than I do.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The temperature finally warmed up and I was able to inspect my hives this evening.

The hive with what I believe to be a queen cell still had not swarmed. I took a picture of the cell which I will be attaching to this reply. It sure looks like a cell to me. There are eggs in the hive. I scraped drone/burr/excess comb and slashed all cups on April 27. I found the cell on May 6. It has looked the same since May 6th. Maybe this is not a cell? What is your opinion? The time frames I have seen in relation to when cells are produced, capped, emerge etc don't seem to line up. But the weather has been screwy here for sure. The cell is hanging off the bottom of the lower brood box and we had 20 degree weather a few nights. Is it possible it could have froze out? The bees had started to draw a few frames of an undrawn super I placed on May 3 but haven't done much with them since. They have produced more cups and a few cell starts that I scarred. Looks like they still act like they want space. I would love to keep them in the hive. Take a look at the picture and let me know what you think. Thanks!

IMG_20200513_195154.jpg

Larger version
 

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if we get to "vote" "not a Q cell"

cut it out, and open it up then the real answer will be in hand.
If they have eggs they should be queen rite, if they really want to swarm they will make more.

GG
 
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