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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time beekeeper. Twelve days ago I added a second brood box to my hive. Upon inspection today I found five queen cells with larvee and three with emerging queens. One queen emerged upon removal and climbed into hive. I also found a baby queen on one frame. I did not spot our mature queen. There were no eggs or larvee but there was newly capped brood. I am not sure what exactly happened and I am also not sure how to move forward. Advice?
 

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Sounds like they either swarmed or superceded. Best thing I can think of is to wait and see if the virgins mate.
How old was the larva in the queen cells, were they capped? If they weren't capped then there should also be worker larva judging by the age of the queen larva.
 

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Was the hive light on bees or did it seem normal? Light on bees would hint they already swarmed.

On previous inspection, how much room in the brood nest was there? It can be easy to overfeed a new colony faster than they'll draw new comb, then they'll backfill the brood nest, get honeybound and swarm even if the population doesn't seem high. Happened to me my first year. If they were out of space, would hint at swarming.

Where were the queen cells? Cells on the bottom of frames would hint at swarming.

You say there's no eggs or young larva, which would hint maybe they need a new queen, either superseding or because the old queen had an accident. In my experience a queen will keep laying for a few days after they start making new queens. Edit: Strike that, if queens are emerging today, you wouldn't see larva.

Anyway, the only action to take now would be if you think it's a swarm situation and the old queen is present, you could grab her and make a split ASAP. Otherwise, just close things up and leave them alone for a few weeks.

And if the hive is honeybound and you're feeding, stop feeding.

Edit: Also note that if you have queens emerging today and you last checked 12 days ago, there would have been queen cells starting then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Was the hive light on bees or did it seem normal? Light on bees would hint they already swarmed.

On previous inspection, how much room in the brood nest was there? It can be easy to overfeed a new colony faster than they'll draw new comb, then they'll backfill the brood nest, get honeybound and swarm even if the population doesn't seem high. Happened to me my first year. If they were out of space, would hint at swarming.

Where were the queen cells? Cells on the bottom of frames would hint at swarming.

You say there's no eggs or young larva, which would hint maybe they need a new queen, either superseding or because the old queen had an accident. In my experience a queen will keep laying for a few days after they start making new queens. Edit: Strike that, if queens are emerging today, you wouldn't see larva.

Anyway, the only action to take now would be if you think it's a swarm situation and the old queen is present, you could grab her and make a split ASAP. Otherwise, just close things up and leave them alone for a few weeks.

And if the hive is honeybound and you're feeding, stop feeding.

Edit: Also note that if you have queens emerging today and you last checked 12 days ago, there would have been queen cells starting then.
There were queens cells starting our last inspection but I left them alone thinking they were emergency cells.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sounds like they either swarmed or superceded. Best thing I can think of is to wait and see if the virgins mate.
How old was the larva in the queen cells, were they capped? If they weren't capped then there should also be worker larva judging by the age of the queen larva.
The queens were capped and some emerging. In fact two emerged during inspection. Should I just leave them alone and let them figure it out? Or should I open them back up soon and just check?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I guess I am wondering if I should stop feeding them? Also how do I encourage them to go up into the second brood box?
 

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I guess I am wondering if I should stop feeding them? Also how do I encourage them to go up into the second brood box?
They move up as soon as they're ready. Once you have almost (80%) of the frames built out, add the second box. Consider frame manipulation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So
My question now is, should I wait and hope there are enough feral bees in the area to mate with the virgin queen OR should I buy a mated queen and introduce her?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Are they queening because they swarmed because they're honeybound?
I don’t know if they are honeybound, I added a brood box 12 days ago they have plenty of room. Maybe I didn’t add it in time and they swarmed? Maybe the queen died? It didn’t seem like I had less bees, but again I’m so new to this. I’m worried they are not strong enough to survive this and my other nucs never arrived so this is my only hive right now.
 

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If there are almost no empty cells anywhere because they're all full of nectar/syrup, then it's honeybound. This is bad because the queen has nowhere to lay, which triggers swarming. An empty box with frames with new foundation that hasn't been drawn out yet (which is what I assume you have because this is your first year) doesn't help because a queen can't lay there until comb is at least partly drawn out.

It is hard the first year because you want to feed so they draw comb, but if you feed too fast they end up filling the comb they have and are able to draw with syrup and then things go sideways like maybe happened here.
 

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So
My question now is, should I wait and hope there are enough feral bees in the area to mate with the virgin queen OR should I buy a mated queen and introduce her?

Where are you located. If you are somewhere with african genetics I would buy a queen. If you are somewhere without African genetics I would let them requeen.

Another possibility is that you accidentally squished the queen and they are replacing her. I have accidentally squished queens. It is a painful lesson, but it does happen.

If you have several frames of stored syrup (sounds like you might) I would be inclined to stop feeding so the hive does not get honey bound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Where are you located. If you are somewhere with african genetics I would buy a queen. If you are somewhere without African genetics I would let them requeen.

Another possibility is that you accidentally squished the queen and they are replacing her. I have accidentally squished queens. It is a painful lesson, but it does happen.

If you have several frames of stored syrup (sounds like you might) I would be inclined to stop feeding so the hive does not get honey bound.
Would it be a terrible idea to buy a queen pull a few frames and put them in another box right now?
 
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