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Discussion Starter #1
Around March 20 we found swarm cells in a hive. We culled all but 2-3 cells and have been monitoring. About a week ago we decided to add a frame of eggs as insurance. Today we found they had indeed created queen cells on the frame we inserted but we also found new (a few) eggs on other frames - presumably from a queen that emerged from a swarm cell.
I was under the impression that a queen in the hive would have kept them from making queen cells. But now I’m wondering if a new queen was there when we added the frame of eggs but she wasn’t laying yet. Could that be it - the window of time between our adding eggs and the queen starting to lay was enough for them to get going on queen cells?
Thoughts?
 

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Consider what if the cells were supercedure cells rather than swarm cells. Could the eggs observed be from a queen with problems? Example are they drone eggs in worker cells either queen layed or laying workers? Did any of the cells observed March 20 appear to have emerged a queen? This question because workers will build cells around drone larvae in desperation.

Food for thought perhaps. I have had a few weird situations that can be baffling. One was the building of cells around drone larvae with a drone laying queen present.

I agree that a healthy queen or virgin queen in the hive should prevent cell starting
 

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I opened a hive for the first time this season. Found a small vergin queen running around and the old queen. I assume its a supersedure taking place. Only time will tell. The population wasnt massive so it wasnt over crouding or to many resources issue.
 

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You could have anew queen, but the workers already have decided she is lacking, and want to replace her.
Remove laying queen into anuc box.see how she does there, while letting the hive requeen again.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses. Sounds like I was thinking correctly that a (even non-laying) queen’s presence should keep them from making a new queen.
The frame on which they’d made queen cells went to another hive the day I discovered it. I figured since there were eggs in the hive they can always start again if needed. I’ll check later this week to see if they’ve started QCs again.
 

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"I figured since there were eggs in the hive they can always start again if needed. I’ll check later this week to see if they’ve started QCs again."

Except if they are unfertilized eggs ;).

My quote " I agree that a healthy queen or virgin queen in the hive should prevent cell starting". Usually, but.......what we see as a "queen" might not agree with the workers opinion. Bees can be very opinionated: For the most part they follow the common rules but the unusual exceptions can sure make your puzzler sore!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great point! I’ll introduce another frame with eggs from a known good queen and see what they do. They’re making new QCs again would be very telling.
While the 15 or so hives (including a few nucs) are more than my dad and I want they sure do make these type experiments easier.
 
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