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Discussion Starter #1
Ok folks. I checked my hives today. My first hives looks wonderful. It has about three to four frames drawn in the first super(honey). My other hive however has me stumped. I checked the top brood box and they had about four frames completely drawn. When I pulled out one of the drawn frames I saw a swarm cell on the bottom of the frame. I thought I might get to start a nuc. :) I pulled another frame and found two supercedure cells at the top of the frame. :( Not too many bees in top box. I pulled it and checked bottom box. There were not enough bees in this box for me. I saw four swarm cells on the first full frame I pulled. Did I mention that i put on second box when 7 1/2 frames were drawn. 7 1/2 still all that is drawn. All of the swarm and supercedure cells were capped. What is going on? This has been a slow hive from the start.
 

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First off, swarm cells are on the bottom and top bar, and Supercedure cells are on the face of the frame, usually close to the center.

One supercedure cell means the queen is failing and they know it, so they are building a good queen.
Many supercedure cells and in a grape like formation indicate that the bees lost their queen suddenly. Either by working the hive, or by some other fluke. They get caught of guard and build cells like crazy.

Swarm cells can happen when the hive gets crowded or, during inclement weather. When the weather is bad for several days, and they can not fly they get up to mischief because they sense they are crowded. At this point there are many cells.
Do you see eggs right now?

This hive might have a queen whose tendancy is to swarm no matter what. This can happen when a queen is kept from a swarm cell. If you see fresh eggs, knock all cells down.
HOWEVER, if you see fresh eggs, and you have supercedure cells in the hive, leave the biggest nicest cell for them to supercede the queen, knock down all swarm cells

When you are looking at the cells, and if you see no eggs, check all the queen cells to see if a queen has hatched. The cap might still be on, so you might have to gentley nudge the bottom of the cell to see if it is opened. An open cell will have the look of a can that has been opened with a can opener. the lid can still attached on one side or completely gone. It will have a bit of a rough look on the end. If it has not been capped yet, it is usually fairly smooth.

Now, if you see no eggs, and an opened cell, and the hive is relatively calm, youn might have a virgin walking around in there.

With the fact that there is little bees in this hive, it sounds like either the old queen left in a swarm and either a virging is in the hive or soon to hatch one out.
Just a guess though.

Edit:
Another thought is to do a drop mite count, and maybe test for nosema. If this hive has been slow, to build the queen could be weak. The bees could be dwindleing down
This again is just another thought mind you
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. I am going to check again at the end of the week. I haven't noticed mites yet and have only seen one shb. It was in the good hive though. I don't think mites would be the problem yet even though it is possible. This is a two month old package. I might not have mentioned that. I am not going to worry too much if the hive dies out. I am noting what happens since this is my first year. I always remember lessons from experience. :D It is interesting to see what happens and if my other hive keeps up the pace I should have no problem splitting in the spring. But then again, I still have plenty of time to screw them up too. The supercedure cells that I mentioned are built in the middle of frame about 2/3 of the way up. I think that is what they are.
 

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I would recommend that you get yourself a binder or a coil book, or use a calendar and write things down
Write down your obeservations, what you did and when. Write down how the hives are advancing.
If you treat, when and how much. What flowers bloom when and when the dearth happens.

Then when it comes to next year, your previous observations will help you. It is never a 100% but gives you something to go on.

Pfizer puts out a good calender book that is good for keeping track of the goings on on the yard.
We get ours from our ag vet
 

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John,
I started 8 packages of bees this Spring. Of the 8 that I started, two had poor quality queens. One queen, I found her and replaced her with a new queen. The other queen...well I let them superscede her. In both cases things are now working themselves out. I think if I were you, I'd let the bees alone and let them sort it all out. Of course, you could destroy all queen cells and your queen and install a new queen you purchased from somewhere...so thats a choice up to you. As you can see, I did one of each method. Good luck...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Honeyshack and Fred for the responses. I have started keeping a log for the hives, in part from reading Allen Dicks diary online and from that fact that keeping records have helped in my goat operation in the last couple of years. I hoping to help supplement my farm income with honey so I think that seeing what they do will be a good learning experience. I do want to go back in a check again for eggs but I will probably wait a couple days to let them settle back down. Do you think adding frame of brood from the strong hive would be in order after they get back to business? Honeyshack, off topic but what kind of cattle do ya'll run?
 

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Just another thought on Honey Shack's suggestion. You might think about using an online log. I use Google Calendar to log all my activities then you can allow your mentors and others access to see what you are doing. Plus you can access the info where ever you are and don't have to go home and get you book. Good luck
 

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I'd move forward with your original thought of starting a nuc. I would NOT knock down any of the queen cells. Grab the resident queen a couple frames of brood (you can even take one of the supercedure cells to insure you get a second new queen) and place them in a nuc. Keep an eye on this small split for SHB problems. Leave the swarm cells in the parent colony and let them requeen themselves. Check back to make sure the parent becomes queen right and if not, you can always recombine with the split. My guess is that you had a poor queen from the package and they have finally decided to replace her. The plan is to maximize your chances on getting a viable queen right colony.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone for the replies. I love that I can have so many mentors in one spot. I'm only 32 and I am at the beginning of the internet age. I didn't completely grow up with the internet at my fingertips but I did get start at a fairly young age. I really can't imagine what it would be like if I couldn't hop online and find answers to my questions in minutes. I will post an update this weekend when I check them again. Thanks again. :gh:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, time for an update. I just checked my hive and it is official. The queen has left the building. I saw no eggs but there was still capped brood. The all of the cells have been opened and some torn down. I am guessing from the activity at the entrance the little witches swarmed. :( There are very few bees coming in and out and there slightly more bees inside than when I hived the package. Two months and they didn't even draw out all the bottom frames before they left. Guess I'll check back in a week and hope for eggs. Honeyshack, you can't go wrong with that kind of cow. :D
 

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If queen cells are torn down, that means that a queen in in the hive. Only she will bite the cell, killing the queen and then the workers will come and clean up.
If the hive is quiet, there is a queen and it can take up to three weeks for the queen to start laying from the time she emerges. Realize though that if a queen hatched and swarmed and then hatched and swarmed again, it might be longer before the final queen lays eggs. Only the last queen to emerge will stay.
A queen who emerges will cut open the bottom of her cell like a can openner. It will be slightly rough at the opening
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I did not see the queen in the hive but I didn't worry too much about trying to find a new queen. I put my jacket and gloves on today in case they were cranky. I had one bee trying to head butt me. If I don't see any eggs by the time the rest of the brood is hatched I will rob a frame from the other hive and replace it with one of the undrawn frames. I am hoping that they will get both boxes drawn and filled before the flow is over though I doubt it. I went ahead and some syrup back on top in case they decide to take it. My other package is currently working on at least five frames of comb in their first honey super!
 

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I've been following this thread with great interest. I've got the exact same problem, only with a swarm instead of a package.

Gave them a frame of brood when I hived them, and they immediately made a slew of Qcells. Checked yesterday and no sign of them but bees a lot quieter. Planning to make a split in the next week or so, and if I have a frame of brood I feel I can spare, it will go into that hive. Couldn't hurt, right?

Re: cattle. Around here you see Angus. In West Virginia, you couldn't give them away because everyone wanted Herefords, which are without a doubt the stupidest breed on the face of the earth. Solid bone from horntip to horntip.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I only wish I would have caught it sooner. I'm still new but experience is the best teacher. Had I caught it sooner they would have a carni queen right now. The biggest problem I have with Herefords is that the white eyed cattle are worse for pink eye than the red eyed ones.
 
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