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Swarming is a colony's way of reproducing. One queen cell is all it takes - sometimes the bees play it very safe by making multiple swarm cells. The most I've seen is 13 - but 1 is enough!

There are few absolutes in beekeeping - I occasionally hear that first year colonies don't swarm. I think it would be safer to say first year colonies are less likely to swarm but as you found out the hard way they do on occasion.

If you noticed a week ago that they just just about filled their super and didn't add another one that probably didn't help matters - but the bees had already started the queen making process in order to swarm before that inspection. The queen cell you saw was your warning. Sometimes the bees hide them so even if you are looking for queen cells it can be easy to miss some.

There are various methods of swarm control which work to various degrees depending on your resources and your efforts. There is no beating looking in the hive to see what conditions are. Are there cells available for the queen to lay in? That is the first question of swarm control!
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