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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a little expert advice here...
I have a hive that has been built up from a five frame nuc that I purchased this spring. It is doing amazingly well and as of now has two deep bodies FULL of bees. I have also added a shallow in which the girls are busy drawing out wax on.
I have been doing weekly mite counts below the SBB and came up with a average daily count today of 8 mites per day with no treatment. I decided to try shaking some sugar to see if I could get some more mites out.
I have not looked in the hive at all since the first check-up so I decided it would be a good time to take a look.
Long story short (kind-of) I found everything I wanted to in there eggs, larvae and capped brood, but also found about 10 swarm cells -about have empty and half with larvae. It seemed weird since they have an almost empty super above. I wasn't sure what to do, but decided since I live in a REALLY cold spot that it was too late to do a split and I cut them out. Did I do the right thing? Should I do something else?
 

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I know you're looking for expert advice, and that fact really precludes me from responding. However, I'll chime in since I'm in a similar climate and I had a hive that was very similar. In my case, I went ahead and made the split (however, it was a couple months ago) to see what would happen. What ended up happening is that in the end, I either A-didn't have a queen or B-they were trying to supercede the queen. In short, that hive wound up without a queen. No matter, I simply joined the two hives back together a couple weeks later with a sheet of newpaper in-between. One thing you need to watch for is whether you may have missed a cell. They can hide those queen cells pretty well. If they do want to swarm, and you missed one...things could get messed up quickly... Did you happen to notice how high on the frame the cells were generally located? I did read somewhere that if the cells are on the top 3rd of the frame, they're more likely to be supercedure cells, and on the bottom 3rd of the frame, more likely to be swarm cells. Also, did you see the queen when you checked through?

I'm sure there are many more experienced people on here who can give you better advice/ information-- just offering my 2 cents worth :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey thanks for the quick reply...Farmington is pretty similar to here.
These cells were all on the bottom of the frames. I thought they were swarm cells -I'm pretty sure that I got them all, but who knows.
I realized what I was probably effecting a temporary solution, but since a couple looked like they were ready to hatch out -I jumped.
I did not see the queen, but there were a lot of eggs so I figured she was in there somewhere.
I was amazed by how many bees were in there.
 

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Ok, this is my first year myself, so I'm not exactly the best source of information. I'd let it sit and wait to see what they do. Check back in a few days for eggs. You can check that way to be sure you have a queen, as eggs hatch in 3 days. If you absolutely MUST do something to sleep at night, you perhaps could try splitting the hive, letting them sit for a couple weeks and then re-joining them. But don't necessarily take my word for it-- I'm learning by trial and error, mostly.....
 

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Squaredeal,,,,
Bummer dude:D I'm sure there are some folks here than may have a better answer than I. As you can find,, there are numerous threads on swarm vs supercedure cell location. I've learned it is a hive circumstances that dictate what they are. The queen will stop laying before she leaves with a swarm. You said eggs,, so that hasn't happened. Did you verify there are actually larvae in the cells. My bees build and tear down queen cells all the time. They seem to like to have them around for insurance I guess. In my experience,,I have found that once they get it into heads to swarm,,it is tough to change there minds. There are some techniques to set up a set of circumstances to make the bees think they have swarmed. If they are supercedure cells,,,it means they are unhappy with that queen,,,,,every time I have messed with those,,,,I end up with a queen less hive. My suggestion at this point is to give them some more room, and monitor the situation. (check for eggs) If the queen cells show up again,,,you might consider taking the queen and some bees and make a temporary nuc to see what happens to the queen cells. Things work out if you let them,,,M.Bush
Might not be the best advice,,,just tossing some ideas at you;)
Rick SoMd
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rick thanks for the advice. There was plenty of egs and larvae throughout both hive bodies. Since most of the cells were empty, I was guessing like you said that they were for insurance purposes. They seemed pretty happy in there to me, but what do I know. :)
 

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SquareDeal; If there's one lesson you'll most likely learn from this, it's "Don't ever cut out queen cells!" If the bees have determined to swarm, they'll leave whether or not you destroy the cells. Then you're left with a queenless hive that may not have a way to make a new queen since the old queen stops laying several days prior to swarming. The solution, when you find swarm cells, is to make up a new hive or nuc using the old queen along with some brood and bees. The old hive will then think the swarm has left and they'll continue with raising a new queen using the cells that you left in the hive. A supersedure is less costly because the old queen is still there and laying so the bees will just make new cells. Emergency cells should never be cut because the queen is usually already dead and if you cut the cells there are no new eggs and larva to make a queen. Also, remember this; the bees know what's best for them. If they have cells there's a reason! For now, keep a close eye on them and make sure they have resources, in the form of eggs, to make new cells, unless you like spending money for queens. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
FishStix,
Thanks for the reply. I'm with you -except I think that there are a couple of mitigating facts. One is that we are already experiencing temps in the low 40's and can probably expect frost within a month. Seems a little late to make up a new hive.
Also my thinking was that there are eggs -just laid, as well as larvae and pupae in the hive. Seems the queen must still be in there somewhere.
My thought was to cut out and check back in a week if there are capped swarm cells then, I'll have to do something and will try and make a nuc out of it.
I also thought about reversing the hive bodies as the swarm cells were mostly in the top body and it seemed like there was more room in the lower.
Regardless, great fun to watch and ponder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Michael,
I guess my biggest problem with this situation was that I wasn't ready to make up and nucs. I've learned from here on out to at least have some extra frames and foundation around -I can whack together some sort of box pretty quick.
As for now it's wait and see.
Thanks for the links to your site, I have read most of it from beginning to end more than once -what a great resource. Thanks for sharing it.
 

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Yep. Build yourself a couple of 5 frame nuc boxes and keep them handy with frames and foundation installed. Never know when you'll get a chance at a swarm and you need to make splits when your own bees are making swarm preps. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hello All,
It been almost a month since I posted this, and as predicted this hive did swarm on the 10th of August.
I did manage to catch the swarm, and it is doing amazingly well and is now in two deeps.
However, the original hive appears to be queenless (as also predicted). There was at least one queen cell present in the hive on the day that they swarmed, but I cannot find a queen, queen cell or eggs in the old hive.
Three days ago, I opened both hives and gave a frame of brood from the swarm hive to the old hives thinking that if there is no queen they might make a queen cell.
Today once again there were no eggs, and try as I might, I could not find a queen or any queen cells.
I am wondering if I am being impatient and it's too early to see eggs, or if I should re-queen. I have located a queen, and could have it here next week.
I hate to loose this hive, it is full of pollen and honey and bees -for now.
 

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Give them another frame of eggs/newly hatched brood and see if they build cells. If they do it's your choice! This late you may have to bite the bullet and buy a queen. If they don't build cells you may have a virgin or newly mated queen in there. You can always recombine if it gets too close to cold weather.
 
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