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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
These bugs are really not cooperating and are just confusing me. I would like your opinions on what may be going on with the WHITE HIVE. Brief facts:
My 2 hives suffered a bear attack on May 8-9. Red hive got the worst of it by far. White hive was toppled but only a few frames on the ground. It was 29F that night. I put both hives back together quickly and did not inspect other than to keep the brood nest together.
On May 16, I inspected both hives briefly as they were very testy and the weather here has been wet and cold. I did not locate the queen in either hive and saw no eggs,but I have difficulty seeing them unless I take my veil off and use a magnifying glass which I was not about to do with their testiness. Saw no queen cells. Both hives had capped brood and no larvae. White Hive was almost wall to wall capped brood (8 frame) in 2 deeps and had plenty of bees.
In anticipation of having to purchase queens or a Nuc, I did a thorough re-inspection of White Hive. No queen cells. I did see some larvae on edge between capped drones and capped worker brood. This made me wonder if I could have a laying worker starting thinking the queen was dead, or maybe the queen was alive, but wounded. I thoroughly scraped all the frames clean.
Queens were not available, so I purchased a Nuc on May 21 and installed it on RED Hive over a Snelgrove Board. My thinking here was I would get a "spare" hive up and running, feed eggs to WHITE HIVE to make a queen and suppress laying workers in both hives while things are being sorted out.
Today, May 27 I inspected WHITE HIVE to see the status and to install a frame or two of eggs from the hive above the Snelgrove. Much to my surprise, I found 3 capped queen cells in the upper deep. After scratching my head for quite a while I closed it back up.
I am pretty flummoxed. I know I would need to go through both deeps to get more info, but it seems to me that this hive swarmed or they are doing a supercedure. If it swarmed, I mistakenly took the lack of eggs and larvae as confirmation that the queen got killed, not thinking she was shutting down for a swarm. The other possibility, and one that make me just close up the hive is supercedure. Perhaps she was able to continue laying but was not up to par and they decided to supercede her? It seems that there is not much I can do now but I have learned that if you are scratching your head on what to do, let them decide for you.
Forgot to add that both hives were 3 deep at time of attack, reduced to 2 deep post attack. I added a super on May 21.
I would appreciate your thoughts on my thinking and what I may be missing here. Thanks, J
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just so you know, I had carefully indented paragraphs to make this easier to read. For some reason, when I posted it, it did away with the paragraphs. My apologies for it being harder to read. J
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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J, white hive was wall to wall capped brood, 2-8 frame boxes, some larvae on the edge (of the frame). Sounds like a setup for swarming to me. So my opinion is that it is likey that is what happened, and it occurred after the bear attack. Had the queen been killed around May 8th or 9th, any emergency cells the bees made would have already emerged, assuming they were viable. The other option is that the bees were in swarm prep mode, the queen was killed in the atrack, the capped cells froze that night, and have been there all along. In that case, they are hopelessly queenless and will build cells with the eggs you give them from the nuc. Hedge your bets and give them the eggs.

Meantime, go back and look at the frames you removed again. See if there is anything interesting on them, like queen cups or started cells.
 

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I had one instance where a queen was quickly becoming drone layer. The workers attempted supercedure (I think) but built cells around unfertilized eggs layed in worker cells. I thought they knew better:rolleyes: It was not till I saw thousands of bullet nosed drone in worker cells that I concluded what happened.

JWP has some plausible suggestions; maybe check one of those capped cells to see what they contain. I dont think drones will emerge when layed in that fashion but a bit dodgy on that conclusion.

I think it is a bit too early for laying worker but if so that might prevent them from starting cells on donated frame.

Them bees is a playin games with ya!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Rain today so will try going in tomorrow to snoop around and see if I can figure out what they have up their sleeve. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, now the Red hive is making me scratch my head. After shutting down, the queen got up and running. Population has built up fairly well and have eggs, larvae and capped cells. Yesterday, I discovered a lone,uncapped QC with royal jelly in it on the bottom of a frame. Could not find the queen. Another swarm or supercedure question in my head because its just one qc. I am going to look for the queen again today and see if they have built any more cells or capped that one. If I can find the queen I will isolate her in a push in cage for now. Reluctant to interfere if its a supercedure. Suggestions?
 

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Bad weather can cause the queen to shut down especially Carni (Russian?) Queens. The workers think she has gone bad and even when she starts relaying they may start supercedure cells with the first eggs. Sometimes they will get torn down again, but may be left to requeen. They have certainly made my puzzler sore a few times!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Perhaps that's it Frank. Still just the one uncompleted cell today and couldn't find the queen, as usual. For the heck of it I put an OSB frame in the middle of the brood nest. Will continue checking daily, weather permitting. J
 
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