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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm getting two packages of bees this spring. I have read in more than one place that the bees can make supersedure cells pretty much right away. How common is this and is it an opportunity to start a nuc?
ks
 

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Depends on your goals and risk tolerances. The reason many packages supercede is due to a poor quality queen to start with. But, if you want, once a supercedure cell or three is capped, pull the original queen and two frames of brood and put them in a nuc with a feeder and pollen patty. You will have better success if you can take the nuc to another location but it is not mandatory. I would try it with one and let nature take it's course with the other unless you feel really confident. Chances are good the nuc may try to supercede also. In that case, let it, and be prepared to add another frame of bees from the original package. Keep in mind that not all packages will try to supercede. You may have gotten a good queen from the beginning. Good luck.
 

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Not always a poor quality queen. Often it's the imbalance in age of bees. By the time the colony really needs young bees for nursing...2-3 weeks in... all the bees in the colony are getting too old. Sure they'll do the best they can, but they sense there's a problem. And, when there's a problem within the colony...who you gonna blame?

Of course, the solution is to add a frame of emerging brood at about 10 days in...when you check to see if the queen is laying.
 

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Depends on your goals and risk tolerances. The reason many packages supercede is due to a poor quality queen to start with. But, if you want, once a supercedure cell or three is capped, pull the original queen and two frames of brood and put them in a nuc with a feeder and pollen patty. You will have better success if you can take the nuc to another location but it is not mandatory. I would try it with one and let nature take it's course with the other unless you feel really confident. Chances are good the nuc may try to supercede also. In that case, let it, and be prepared to add another frame of bees from the original package. Keep in mind that not all packages will try to supercede. You may have gotten a good queen from the beginning. Good luck.
MTC is that Chicago_ks should avoid this reasoning and it's instructions.
 

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I'll see your .02 and up you another .02 if you could tell me why?
 

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Depends on your goals and risk tolerances. The reason many packages supercede is due to a poor quality queen to start with. But, if you want, once a supercedure cell or three is capped, pull the original queen and two frames of brood and put them in a nuc with a feeder and pollen patty. You will have better success if you can take the nuc to another location but it is not mandatory. I would try it with one and let nature take it's course with the other unless you feel really confident. Chances are good the nuc may try to supercede also. In that case, let it, and be prepared to add another frame of bees from the original package. Keep in mind that not all packages will try to supercede. You may have gotten a good queen from the beginning. Good luck.

The suggested method takes a inherently weak random group of bees and asks them to accomplish tasks normally reserved for only stronger and better organized groups of bees, all the while becoming increasingly weaker for 4 weeks after receipt.
 

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Thank you. We were coming from slightly different viewpoints. I was allowing for the package to have somewhat established itself, minimum four to five weeks prior the supercedure, as that is the scenario I have heard about most often. That is also why why I did not consider MP's age issues. Agreed that if the first thing the bees do is create a supercedure cell, like in the first week or two, let it play out and keep your fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for the replies. Since these will be my first hives I won't have any resources to add if this happens and will have to let the bees figure it out.
ks
 

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Along similar lines of Micheal Palmer's response, we have always thought the problem is an imbalance of pheromones.
All of a sudden you have a hive with nothing but eggs, etc so they draw supercedure cells on a path to "fix" the problem.
If you queen-check after 10 days and remove the cells the impulse is past and rarely returns.
A second problem is emergency response that is confused by some with supercedure.
Almost always the result of beekeepers going in too soon after queen introduction and causing a disturbance resulting in the queen being balled and lost.
You'll know it is emergency cells if NO QUEEN IS PRESENT.
This is why we recommend NOT to enter the hive for at least 10 days after queen introduction to queen check.
Good luck this year!
 

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While it is good to be prepared for problems don't go borrowing problems! Give them sugar water and pollen sub and leave them alone for at least a week. If you can get your hands on a frame with brood it will help anchor them. But remember most of the time it goes right! Otherwise the pacakage guys would be out of business.
 

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Good advice so far. For your first hives and packages, I would also recommend not getting the packages too early. Every year on this forum I see people who get their packages in early April, install them and it starts snowing or some really cold weather comes in. The bees cannot take any food or forage and comb building is put on hold. They sometimes lose the hive within days of installing it. Get the packages later in April or early May, if possible, when the weather is more settled.


As far as how frequent is the supersedure of the original queen? I have no idea. Of the 6 packages I started when I began none did that I am aware of. However, I was a beginner and probably would not have noticed if it did happened. Finally, packages have their pros and cons. I think they are a great way to start beekeeping and a great opportunity to learn a whole lot about bees and beekeeping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
While it is good to be prepared for problems don't go borrowing problems!
Good advise. I just have cabin fever. I've been reading and studying for two years. I didn't start last year due to a health scare (wish I had done it anyways). I've taken the beginners bee classes my club offers. I have painted equipment in my basement waiting for spring, everything I need except varroa treatment gear.

dudeIt; said:
For your first hives and packages, I would also recommend not getting the packages too early.
I'm getting the packages through the club. I assume they have the delivered at the proper time but you know what happens when you assume.
Thanks again to all that took the time to respond.
ks
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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While you are sitting there with cabin fever, build a few swarm traps and scout some locations to place them. Swarm traps can be made in many different ways, just check all the YouTube videos out there, but a trap that uses frames is easiest to get the bees back out of. The plans I use are found at:

http://horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/swarm-trap-free-plans.shtml
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
While you are sitting there with cabin fever, build a few swarm traps and scout some locations to place them.
I have given that some thought and watched a few YouTube videos on it. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. I know that might sound funny from the guy that started this thread asking do I make a nuc if they supersede. I need to learn to take care of what I have properly before I jump into the deep end. The foot of snow this week and the 0 degree temps sure aren't helping with cabin fever.
ks
 

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We had the same phenomenon when we installed a package of bees this past year.
The week after installation I immediately started seeing queens cells in multiple locations. I knew what this could mean but I also knew that some bee varieties have a natural propensity for it, so I don't think it's not really a bad thing. I did my best to find the queen every time i looked inside the hive, with no luck, others blamed this on the fact that I was a newbeek... condescending $%^&*, but this continued for nearly four weeks after installation. But when I still wasn't seeing any brood or laying at the end of week 2, and no sign of a queen I started to get nervous. Roughly, on week four I had brood of all stages everywhere.
In the end apparently the queen wasn't ready to lay yet, maybe she went on a few more breeding runs, or decided to strike, who knows. So don't panic until after week 2 or 3.
 

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For the newer beekeepers, I wanted to add a few comments.

It is very, very important for beekeepers to be able to identify Supercedure, emergency and swarm cells as early on as possible.
This is worth every second of study time.
If you see a queen cell and do not understand what it is or why it's there, you CANNOT make good beekeeping decisions when faced with queen issues.
And you will have queen issues every year of your career.
Each of the three cell types are constructed due to an impulse by the colony. VERY different impulses, each.

And now, (I really hate to have to bring this up) to add complication; occasionally, you will read an article by an "expert" with pictures of cells and they mislabel them.
They will have a picture of emergency cells and the caption says supercedure cells.
So, read around and it will all come together for you, but do it now.

Second thing: I just want to throw my opinion in, from my experience. I think supercedure cells in package bees is VERY common. And not due to poor queens, although if that is piled on it certainly doesn't help.

Third: I wonder if many of the reports of "supercedure" cells in packages are actually emergency cells due to new beekeepers rifling around in hives WAY TOO EARLY after installation?
Remember, if you find emergency cells; you DO NOT have a queen in the hive.
If you haven't already, take a look at this:

https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?311486-Successful-Queen-Introduction-tips

Good luck this year!
 

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And now, (I really hate to have to bring this up) to add complication; occasionally, you will read an article by an "expert" with pictures of cells and they mislabel them.
They will have a picture of emergency cells and the caption says supercedure cells.
Yeah, you caught that one too. All too common. Authors who should know better. I proofread one very popular book by an author who everyone here knows. Same thing. I changed it but he changed it back. :)
 

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"While you are sitting there with cabin fever, build a few swarm traps and scout some locations to place them. Swarm traps can be made in many different ways, just check all the YouTube videos out there, but a trap that uses frames is easiest to get the bees back out of. The plans I use are found at:

http://horizontalhive.com/how-to-bui...ee-plans.shtml "


This is what is referred to as High jacking a thread. When you clearly don't have any professional knowledge concerning the original post you create one of your own so you can keep posting.
 

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Not my intent to highjack at all. The OP brought up the idea of cabin fever. My cure for it is to build bee equipment. Since the OP doesn't have bees yet, telling him to build hives and supers is premature. Suggesting that he build a few traps was supposed to be helpful. Having "spare" bees took a lot of the worry I had as a new beek out of the equation.
 
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