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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(I posted this under the Swarm thread but thought maybe I should put it here, too? Hope its okay that I did!)

Hello! I'm a first time beekeeper in Portland, OR. Unfortunately my experience hasn't been the greatest, though I do really love my bees!! We discovered v. Mites 6 weeks ago (which, from my reading, is pretty rare to experience for the first season) and started using Apiguard (June 12) around the same time we should've added our 2nd deep but was advised to wait to added 2nd deep so the meds could be on top of the 1st deep so the bees would be closer to the vapors. Added the 2nd deep Friday, July 4, and placed the last treatment on flat tinfoil between deeps hoping the meds could still do the job.

5 days ago (July 11), when adding the last treatment of Apiguard I checked to see if the bees had started drawing out comb in the second deep, which they hadn't, and also noticed the queen had stopped laying eggs, which I assumed was due to the Apiguard treatment (they have been drinking syrup water with Bee Healthy). I researched and found that I could help the bees create a "ladder" by moving two brood frames from the 1st deep to the middle of the 2nd deep to encourage more bees to move to the top and draw out comb. So this is what I did yesterday:

When I opened the hive to remove the frames from the 1st deep the middle brood frames had been filled with honey. I couldn't find the queen but did find the beginnings of 4 swarm cells, along with a few eggs around some drone cells. My husband and I tried to quickly research what we should do with the swarm cells and read in a book to remove them, which I did, but am wondering if that was a BIG no no. I should also mention that the weather was about 90 degrees yesterday in Portland, and though the bees have been bearding regularly, it seemed that there were extra bees in the front of the hive, and were on the front of the hive because they were feeling overcrowded. I ended up moving 4 frames of honey covered with bees to the top deep and placed 4 empty in the bottom. Again, I couldn't find the queen but was hopeful since the hive was so overcrowded that's why I couldn't see her.

SOOOO here's where I'm at now: They seemed really agitated after I had put the hive back together and there were bees all over the front of the hive with many on the back, which was a first. Bees were buzzing all around the hive. It wasn't until the weather cooled down a bit around 10:00 pm that they calmed down. It appeared they were bearding in the front but there were scattered clusters on the whole front of the hive. This morning, there's a small cluster beneath the cinderblock that the hive is placed on (I've attached a picture). Also, after counting the dead mites from the pull out board last night, I decided not to put the tray back in to help with ventilation, with hope the bees would feel less crowded in there, even though I still have Apiguard in-between the deeps (I just so want to be done with medication so the bees can go back to doing their thing and want more ventilation in there!). This morning, I peeked under the hive at the screened bottom board and noticed a lot of bees underneath the screen (I've attached a pic).

From what you've read and seen from the pictures, does it look like they're preparing to swarm?

I feel like it's so unfortunate I had to treat the bees for mites around the same time I should've put the second deep on and now the medication has screwed up the laying of eggs and between that and the bees feeling overcrowded I'm doomed. Is there anything I should do at this point? Did I majorly screw things up by removing the 4 swarm cells, one that had a small pile of royal jelly in it??? I'm feeling so defeated at this point.

Many thanks in advance for your help.

(ps, two days after the last application of Apiguard I noticed dead pupae parts on the pull out board and witnessed the bees on top of the screen bottom board eating them. There was also dead pupae pulled out of the hive and placed in front on the ground, which I read can happen with Apiguard treatment. There hasn't been any dead pupae that I've seen for the last few days. I guess I add this to illustrate there's been so many unexpected things I've witnessed with the hive and feel bad that I've had to mess with them so early in the season. Yes, I'm learning a lot, but whew! I just want things back to normal!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
PPS Theres not the usual activity at the entrance this morning--a few that go in and out but nothing compared to what it's usually like. :(
 

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Sounds like your bees have backfilled the brood nest, an indication of swarm prep. When you removed those queen cells were they capped? Picture 1 in your post looks like a small after swarm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sounds like your bees have backfilled the brood nest, an indication of swarm prep. When you removed those queen cells were they capped? Picture 1 in your post looks like a small after swarm.
Hi Joe, thanks for responding! No, the queen cells were not capped--I don't even think they were half way completed but one did have royal jelly in it. What does "backfilled the brood nest" mean? I assumed the queen stopped laying due to the Apiguard and since they were feeling crowded and didn't have any more space to store the nectar, they put in in the middle brood frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sounds like your bees have backfilled the brood nest, an indication of swarm prep. When you removed those queen cells were they capped? Picture 1 in your post looks like a small after swarm.
I just looked up the definition of 'backfilling'. I just wonder if they wouldn't have filled it in if Apiguard hadn't caused the queen to stop laying?? hmmmmm
 

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Your queen might be in that ball of bees. Never remove queencells on impulse unless you've verified you have plenty of eggs and young larva to make a new one or the old queen is still there. It's pretty much state all bees have mites, it's not unusual to find them but you don't treat on a whim, you treat when mites hit a certain threshold which takes some evaluation.
 

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I dont have any experience with apigaurd so im not sure about it causing a queen to stop laying. However im sure its possible. If you have curing nectar in what should be brood nest you bees are backfilling. This proably not due to the varroa treatment but is because the hive has run out of space. If you have drawn comb checkerboard the hive in order to give the queen room to lay. The drawn frames that you removed can be moved up to your top box. Make sure you still have your queen then remove all qcells and keep an eye on them to make sure they dont make any more.
 

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Yep, just let them find their way back in at this point. Judging from the amount of bees present above the screen, I do not think you are facing a swarm. The cells were more likely supercedure brought on when the apiguard was added. The vapors mask the queen pheremone and also since she shut down, which is probably normal for a couple of days, the brood pheremones also decreased and those three things combined prompted the cell building. They likely would have torn them down themselves anyway as long as the queen is still present. Just let them alone for a while (week) and then go in and see if you have open brood.

Were the cells on the bottoms of the bars or in the middle of the frames?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I dont have any experience with apigaurd so im not sure about it causing a queen to stop laying. However im sure its possible. If you have curing nectar in what should be brood nest you bees are backfilling. This proably not due to the varroa treatment but is because the hive has run out of space. If you have drawn comb checkerboard the hive in order to give the queen room to lay. The drawn frames that you removed can be moved up to your top box. Make sure you still have your queen then remove all qcells and keep an eye on them to make sure they dont make any more.
K, I checker boarded yesterday but I think I need to go in and find the queen. If I can't find her, and since I removed the queen cells, should I order a new queen?
 

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You can try and locate her, but that is sometimes easier said than done.☺ I would take a peek. If you see her, thats great it will give you piece of mind if not thats okay too some times queens can be hard to spot especially when your looking. Check back after you remove your apigaurd and look for eggs if there's eggs in a week then you know shes still there.
 

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"Q: Why can't Apiguard be used in springtime?
A: Apiguard can be used in springtime, if necessary, provided the daily temperature is high enough.
However, it is not the best time to apply the product. Thymol, which is the active ingredient in Apiguard,
can sometimes make the queen stop egg laying for a short period and that is not what is
needed in early spring - the colony needs to be growing. If the mite infestation is high in spring, then it
is safer to use Apiguard rather than let the mites reproduce further, but treatment is otherwise best left
until the summer."

www.dadant.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Apiguard-QA.pdf
 

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I'm new as well, so i don't have anything useful to contribute to your specific situation. But i'm crossing my fingers that this all turns out ok for you.

~ waves from the other side of the river ~
 

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I agree that looking for eggs or very young larvae is easier than actually locating the queen. I am a new beek also, and I always look for the eggs. A lot of times when I find a frame of eggs and very young brood, the queen will be on that frame. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm new as well, so i don't have anything useful to contribute to your specific situation. But i'm crossing my fingers that this all turns out ok for you.

~ waves from the other side of the river ~
Thank you! I came home from being gone a good portion of the day and the clusters are no longer there--I think they found their way back inside the hive! Normal activity at the entrance. Whew! What a stressful day!! And yes, you are across the river! Hello! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you to everyone who took the time to help me out--I so appreciate it! I decided to leave them alone for a while, as I've never seen them as agitated as they were last night. I was gone a good portion of the day, which was a good thing as it helped me from fretting too much, and when I got home the clusters of bees must've found their way back inside the hive! There's also normal activity at the entrance. Whew! What a stressful last two days!! I sure am learning a lot, though. Thanks for all your help!!:):):)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
**Update**Re: I think my bees are getting ready to swarm--I need advice!

**So here's an update!**

I went ahead and left the beehive alone. Wanted to inspect it last Thursday (the one week mark since the big fiasco when I first started this thread) but had to leave town for family business--was able to open it up today with my daughter who is loving being involved with the bees. I couldn't find any eggs or the queen in either of the two deeps. There were 4 new swarm cells being formed (didn't see any eggs in them) and possible one supercedure cell--at least I'm assuming it could've been because it was near the top of the frame whereas the others were towards the lower. Perhaps they're all supercedure cells? I did find some drone larva, though. I'm assuming a worker bee layed the eggs for them??

I'm wondering at this point if I should order a new queen? And if that's the case, should I remove the queen cells?

Thanks so much for your help!
 

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Re: **Update**Re: I think my bees are getting ready to swarm--I need advice!

Everyone classifies queen cups or cells by the location of the cup on the frame, which isnt always correct. I think the "swarm cells" you are refering to are probably queen cups, which are a normal thing to see in a hive. Many hives keep some all the time, but dont use them. Queen cups can be anywhere on the frame. I dont worry about queen cups, only actively worked cells, such as ones with eggs or larve in them. If you dont have any eggs or young larve in the hive by know, I would say that your queen is gone, and you should try to get one in there as soom as you can. Leave the queen cups in there until you have your new queen in your hand. Then do a complete inspection and remove any queen cells then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Re: **Update**Re: I think my bees are getting ready to swarm--I need advice!

Everyone classifies queen cups or cells by the location of the cup on the frame, which isnt always correct. I think the "swarm cells" you are refering to are probably queen cups, which are a normal thing to see in a hive. Many hives keep some all the time, but dont use them. Queen cups can be anywhere on the frame. I dont worry about queen cups, only actively worked cells, such as ones with eggs or larve in them. If you dont have any eggs or young larve in the hive by know, I would say that your queen is gone, and you should try to get one in there as soom as you can. Leave the queen cups in there until you have your new queen in your hand. Then do a complete inspection and remove any queen cells then.
Thank you NY_BLUES! I so appreciate your input. That sounds good to me. I have read that in some cases when using Apiguard, when the queen stops laying, that the colony thinks something is wrong with her and they get rid of her. Have you heard of this? I'm just trying to figure out what happened to our Queen Elsa! (my youngest daughter named her that lol)
 

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Re: **Update**Re: I think my bees are getting ready to swarm--I need advice!

the queens can stop laying with any type of chemical mite treatment that a person can try, some are effected longer or worse than other types. you may have been a bit early on your mite treatment, you would usually want to wait for a dearth for the apiguard treatment, as it does not penetrate the cell cappings for the brood. You probably had a supersedure of your queen. was this a new package this spring? you may have had a queen go bad on you at the same time as the treatment and the workers decided it was time for her to go.
 
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