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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I am a relatively new beekeeper, this is my second Spring so I have been beekeeping for 1 year now. I have 1 hive currently.

Some background...

I live in North Georgia and the weather has been pretty mild and went for the last few weeks. Last weekend it was in the 50's and I noticed that my bees were really active, flying around and sitting on the outside of the hive. This was good news to me because I was concerned with them making it through the winter, as I guess most new beekeepers are.

I did not do a mite treatment last fall, and I had not done a mite check on them yet, so yesterday I went and gathered some bees to do a test. I did an alcohol wash and I had 2 mites for less than 200 bees. Since it was borderline on accepted count, I decided I was going to install Apivar strips the following day to make sure they had a strong chance this summer.

Today, I went to install the strips. Just like last weekend, the bees were active as the weather is 50+ today. Upon arrival I noticed they are already bringing back pollen to the hive and they appear to be super healthy. The bradford pears are starting to bloom as are a few other things.

Here's where my question comes in...

My hive is made up of 2 - 8 frame boxes. I have 2 deeps on top of each other. When I opened the hive, it appears I pulled apart what looks like swarm cells. I set the top box aside and noticed giant white larvae were exposed on the top of my bottom deep. The top box was set on it's side so I could inspect the bottom of it, and before I could look, larvae started to fall out of the split open cells.

Since it is swarm season here, I am wondering if these are queen cells or drone cells.

The hive is not completely full. The top box only has 3 frames with anything on them. I pulled out one of the frames and there is nectar and capped brood on both sides, so I know my queen has been laying and by the looks, probably for the few weeks.

My goal is to start another hive but this time using 10 frame boxes. I am planning on splitting this hive to the new equipment but I am wondering if I just reduced the chances of success by splitting open the cells when I opened the hive. I am guessing there are more of those cells, but it is weird that they were between the deeps and clustered together. The cells were bunched up on a round ball that resembled the inside of an artichoke.

Are queen cells clustered together like that, or is this possibly drone brood?

Thanks for any help you can provide.
 

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Welcome to Beesource.
I am near Athens. I opened a handful of hives today. No swarm cells. LOADS of bees and brood. There were plenty of drone cells built between the frames of top and bottom boxes. I’m not saying that yours aren’t swarm cells…just that I didn’t find any. You can post photos….that would help.
I would strongly urge you to treat for mites this year…in addition to now….later in the season….around August/September. Having non parasitized winter bees is essential to survival.
Also…if you go to your profile and edit your location it will make it easier.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I missed this post earlier. Based on your description, they are indeed drone brood. You can scrape the comb off the bottoms and tops of the frames and put them back in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey, thanks for the replies. After researching, I'm confident these were drone brood.

My hive has exploded in population so I bought some new equipment today and did a split. My hope is that they will make a new queen.
 

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I second the advice to treat for mites on a tight schedule. Speaking from disastrous personal experience, a new beekeeper just isn't ready to try treatment free or to correctly judge mite levels (though it sounds like you are doing a good job just by checking). One hive has no safety margin.
 
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