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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey fellow beekeepers!
I have been lurking on here for some time, and this year started beekeeping. Started with a strong nuc april 17th.

-Back story-
The population exploded and within a few weeks I gave them their first super to start. Within a week, a few of the frames were being steadily worked on, and the super was going well. I noticed a supercedure cell on week 4, so I dug in deeper. The queen was laying strong with healthy brood chamber. Every frame looked good. There were swarm cells found on this same day. So the next week, I did a walk away split (4 weeks ago) and put the queen with two strong frames into a new hive with no other resources.

The new hive has been ok, not a boomer. The queen is laying and the bees have drawn out maybe 2-3 frames, as of yesterday. I am thinking they will be fine.

The original hive was inspected one week after the split, and the big supercedure cell was capped and healthy. Population was booming and the super was now 80% full but only 25% capped. Last week the hive was inspected, and the supercedure cell hatched. Lots of drones spotted coming and going from the hive. The new queen was not found. Drones were seen at the hive enterance one or two days after as well.

-Here is where I start questioning things-
Yesterday a brood box inspection was performed and every single cell was hatched. The brood box has been filled with pollen, nectar, honey, etc in all the expected places. Not one cell contained eggs or anything. The one big supercedure cell was the only cell that appeared to produce a queen. But still no queen or evidence found. Lots of drones spotted. So at this point the queen could be around 2 weeks old, but still no eggs. I took one resource frame split (day old eggs, etc) and put it in this hive, just in case the queen was killed during her mating flights.


So my question is.... Estimating the new supercedure queen is two weeks old, should I expect eggs yet or still too soon? Should I just buy a queen for this hive that no longer has capped brood and is going to start dwindling? Do I wait to see if they take an egg from the resource frame and try to raise it as a new queen?

Any help appreciated! Thanks!
 

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You need patience. The supercedure cell was eight days old when capped and 8 days later emerged. She needs a week more to grow and her exoskeleton to harden before she can go on a mating flight. Then she needed days without high wind and rain to mate. Then she needs several days for her ovaries and eggs to form. How does that fit the dates you observed? A supercedure cell is normal and often brought on by a new beekeepers constant intrusions in the hive convincing the bees that something is wrong with their queen. What about these swarm cells you spoke of? did they have eggs or larvae or royal jelly in them? Thats what makes a swarm cell. I looked in a number of hives today and everyone of them had unoccupied queen cups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My inspection was cloudy but the cells all looked very clean, as if they were polished. None of the swarm cells developed but I did take note of lots of capped drones around the same time I spotted the supercede cell that was still uncapped with a larvae and jelly. That was what gave me the idea to try a split. At the time of the split, my population was booming so much that even now a month later the hive numbers seem similar. The amount of bees makes it hard for a novice like me to spot a virgin queen, or even a mated queen. I mostly looked for other signs than seeing the queen.

I am going to guess that it may still be to early to worry yet.
 

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If I have the timeline right, it is now one month since the split. The new queen, if there is one, should start laying soon. I have heard that it can be as long as 40 days.

Since they are now brood free, put a frame of young brood in and see if they make a new queen. If they don't, there is probably a queen in there. If that hive ends up queenless, you can always recombine the old queen/split back.
 

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You did just right by adding a frame with eggs, that will let you know what's up. If they make queen cells then your new queen has failed for whatever reason. If they do not make cells, then you'll have a laying queen soon, probably within a week from what I understand of your timeline. It sounds like you are doing very good as a new beekeeper!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lots of good advice here! You know, when one starts doing research on an issue with a hive, there can be many different answers. For me, it was hard to find out exactly how long it could take to transition from a queen cell hatch, to laying. I now see how the various factors can change that time frame quite a bit. Here in NC, we did have a number of days of weather that had rain and extreme humidity/heat, during the recent weeks. I did a walk around the hive in question today, and noticed a drone had been kicked out and he wouldn't even fly. Im thinking more drones, that I didnt see, were also kicked out because they are not needed anymore.

I will follow up after I check the brood box this coming weekend, because a thread is more helpful to others when it has a conclusion.
 

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Lots of good advice here! You know, when one starts doing research on an issue with a hive, there can be many different answers. For me, it was hard to find out exactly how long it could take to transition from a queen cell hatch, to laying. I now see how the various factors can change that time frame quite a bit. Here in NC, we did have a number of days of weather that had rain and extreme humidity/heat, during the recent weeks. I did a walk around the hive in question today, and noticed a drone had been kicked out and he wouldn't even fly. Im thinking more drones, that I didnt see, were also kicked out because they are not needed anymore.

I will follow up after I check the brood box this coming weekend, because a thread is more helpful to others when it has a conclusion.
I have found this table helpfull
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For those following this thread..... here is the conclusion:

Today I inspected the hive that was trying to build a queen. I was anticipating the hive would have reached LW status this week, due to how things have looked for the last 4 weeks. I pulled out brood frames and found the first 3 or 4 empty of eggs. Then out of nowhere I found 2 or 3 loaded eith eggs. I checked very close and determined the eggs were very young, perhaps yesterday. When I was going frame by frame, I rechecked each queen cup to see if they started on a new queen, after adding the resource frame last week. No queen cup activity. So once I found the very young eggs, I went back and rechecked two frames. The last frame had the newly mated queen. She was large and running and doing deal. I was thorough and saw nothing out of the ordinary. What a relief.

So it ended up being a successful split so far. Not a crazy amount of beetles either. Thanks for all the advice!!
 

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I did not see your response to Greg's question. What was in the swarm cells you saw when you did the split? Just empty cups (which is not a cell yet)? Or eggs, jelly, larvae? And for the record, I have never seen a colony superceed and swarm at the same time. I do not think they would swarm with a poor queen that needs superceeding. And yes, good job putting a frame of eggs / larvae in when you were starting to get nervous. That buys you time by supressing laying workers and also shows if they need a queen as they will draw queen cells out of young larvae. Glad all turned out well in the end!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So when orininally I saw the supercedure cell, it had larvae in it. It may have been 4 or 5 days old at that point. I had a friend with me that wanted to learn about beekeeping and he was there looking with me. To be honest, I was trying to explain to him and didn't put enough effort into checking each and every swarm cup and the other two supercede cells. I was worried the hive would swarm because the hive was growing so fast. I knew i had a strong queen so when I saw the supercedeure cell I knew it was best to get my strong queen out and try my first split. I left the main hive with everything they needed and took a weak split and set it up with that strong queen.

After the split, I never checked any of the swarm cells and just kept an eye on the one giant supercedeure cell. I was feeling good about it and my small split became strong enough to produce a resource frame when I got to week 4 with no queen. And when I checked everything yesterday, the split had another resource frame I could have used if I didnt see any eggs in the main hive.
 

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good to keep patient.
good to try a frame with eggs.

sounds like you are off to the races.
congrats on the split.

"next" time, from split day wait 21 day till next inspection, the hatch, mature, mate, start laying , is not the time to mess in the hive IMO. you can tear a Qcell apart that is attached to 2 frames, you can squish a queen and not have eggs to recover, you can find nothing and order a queen only to have it killed.
best leave them get the requeen done and look when you feel there should be sealed brood.

GG
 
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