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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in central NJ, Somerset Count. I went into my hives for a quick check yesterday. Hive 1 - strong and in the process of filling up a honey super. Hive 2 - a split off hive 1 from Spring 2019, seems to be doing well, lots of brood, eggs, larva, but not a lot of stores, I will watch them.

Hive 3 - started from a package this April, added a second deep in mid May which is presently full of brood, larva, eggs and stores in corners. I added a honey super in early June since the flow was on, and I thought they needed the space. They have not built out the honey super much at all. But most concerning yesterday I found swarm cells on the bottoms of two frames in the top deep. Pic below.

So where do I go from here? I thought it was late for swarming, and I thought i provided plenty of room for this colony to grow.

IMG_0874.jpg

Thanks in advance!

Alan in NJ
 

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I cannot see the bottom so I cannot tell if there is an egg in it. but I see no larva. In which case they are queen cups not swarm cells yet. They may or may not ever become swarm cells. At this stage I would keep an eye on them to see if eggs or larva appear before I worried about what to do. Since they are not working the super their may not be a strong flow. Bees usually swarm at the beginning of a good flow, So it is posable these are simply practice or Just in case cups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So they are definitely not just empty queen cups. There is a white, gloppy substance inside, but it doesn't appear to be a larva. None of them was sealed.
 

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alan, are these two cells the only ones you found? is the queen still laying up full patterns of eggs? are the bees backfilling the middle of the broodnest with nectar?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I did not go into the bottom deep, only the top deep. The top deep had lots of worker brood in a good pattern in several frames. On the frames of worker brood there was some pollen on the frames with some honey stores in the upper corners.There was some drone brood, but only a little which I would expect this time of year, right? There were eggs in cells in what appears to be a normal pattern. I did not notice excessive pollen or any backfilling, but I am a newbie. There were three or four of these cells.

I'm not sure what to do.
 

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that's a good pic looking into the one cell and it's definitely charged, not just a cup.

i've had similar experiences with colonies not wanting to move up into a new box of foundation but rather backfill their way down and swarm.

i think you will need to go back and look through both deeps real good and see if there are more cells, if there is backfilling going on in the middle of the nest area, and whether or not the queen is still laying up a solid pattern of eggs over a large area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you. I am on the road for work all day tomorrow, but I will be able to go in Wednesday morning.

Can you give me some advice on what to do based on what I find? If I find backfilling in the nest area? What if there are more cells? Three days later I suspect the will be sealed. Should I try to find the queen and take any action? What should I do based on what I find?
 

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opinions and approaches vary greatly on this one alan. :)

if there are lots of eggs and the queen is doing a good job this is one situation that i might consider culling all the cells, then going back in a week and doing it again. if you go back a week after that and they are still making cells you might as well make some splits.

i've done this culling of cells a couple of times and it thwarted swarm ambition. this risks are missing a cell or two and having them swarm anyway, or having a failing queen that runs out of eggs before her replacement can be started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Gotcha, thank you for the guidance! I'll post some pics after my Wednesday inspection and let you know what I find. No better way to learn than to get in there and do it! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well I went into the hive on Wednesday afternoon. In the top box where I saw the queen cells last weekend I found what I think is a hatched out cell. The other queen cells appear to be gone. There are queen cupsHere's a pic of that;

View attachment 49671

In the top box here is a pic of a frame of brood. It looks good and healthy. There is larva and eggs on other frames as well.

View attachment 49673

In the lower box I found they had built out only the middle 6 frames. The two outer frames on each side had barely been touched. I am not sure if this is back filling or not??
View attachment 49675
View attachment 49677

I did not find the queen. I wonder what's going on......

Alan
 

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tough call alan, but i'm leaning toward supercedure. you'll have a virgin making mating flights soon so probably best to stay out of the hive for a few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks squarepeg, I will do just that. There was plenty of activity over the weekend with bees going in and out of the hive, so hopefully they have figured it out. I'll check back in a few weeks.
 
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