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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my hives swarmed on 6/23. I was able to capture the swarm and install them in a new hive.
All good there. The swarm cells hatched and I waited and waited. After 2-3 weeks no brood so
I figured the queen hadn't returned from mating. At this point there was no longer any
brood in the hive. I added a frame of eggs/brood from another hive and they created
some queen cells. These hatched and I waited and waited. At that point I was ready
to throw in the towel on this hive and I was going to combine them with another. I
did one last inspection 2 weeks ago and finally there was larvae and I saw a queen. This
past weekend during an inspection I noticed they had created 3 supercedure cells.

The question is since it is so late in the year should I get rid of these queen cells
or let nature take it's course? Normally I respect a hive's decision but it is the
beginning of September which seems very late to get a queen properly mated and then
be able to build up the winter bees. The queen that's in there seems to be laying an ok
pattern I just think the hive got impatient waiting so long for new brood. Thanks for
any advice.

Jon
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Had to get my calendar out to double check. Your new queen should have been laying now for about two weeks but there have been no new bees since the one frame of brood around July 14th. Age disparity is very high and most of the bees are nearing the end of their lifespan. IMO, that could be a reason for the supercedure cells. I am one to hedge my bets so I would remove the frame with the supercedure cells to a mating nuc once they are capped to see if they can still get mated and if so, make a strong nuc with other resources. I would not leave the cells in the hive lest the seemingly good queen get the boot and the hive end up drone laying queen going into winter. Your temps are similar to mine so you should have no problem over wintering just three or four frames of bees in a nuc, or even a full sized hive with follower boards to control space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice. I'll give that a shot. Some drones are still being produced so that may work out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, a day late and a dollar short. I had capped queen cells on Saturday and today they are empty. Hopefully things work out. If not I'll combine with a weaker hive.
 

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Guess they changed their minds. I am in the middle of something similar. If it doesn't work out, no big deal, just recombine.

I have one colony I have been 'playing' with mercilessly this month. Split a colony I thought might have problems in order to force a brood break, so half of it was queenless in a nuc in late August. The queenless portion didn't make queen cells so I popped in another frame of eggs/brood to see what will happen. Give them a few more days to see if they are doing anything with it. I also gave away a hive today, so I put that same nuc in it's position to get a big group of field bees. I peeked in tonight and it is chock full of bees. Hope they make a queen.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Were they torn down by the bees or did a virgin emerge from them. If the bees tore them down, you are good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One looks like a virgin emerged. the others were torn down. I'm guessing the first one out killed the others and then the bees tore them down.
 

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Well, a day late and a dollar short. I had capped queen cells on Saturday and today they are empty. Hopefully things work out. If not I'll combine with a weaker hive.
I had a similar situation and timing. Cells Saturday and by Sunday one emerged and one torn out the side. In about two weeks we will know whether they mated and start laying.

I am not sure I want this queen since I destroyed cells several times and may have set the scene for a caste queen. This late in the season does not give much time to observe a queens performance. Her mother is in the other box above the division board so I still have options.

I have had similar late swarm preparations/possible supercedure games by the bees and it can make a person scratch their head! It is a little dicey whether to try to winter 2 singles or recombine for a fat double. I have a while to meditate on it; that is what makes beekeeping fun!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Over the next month I would expect the hive to get noticeably weaker as the older bees start to die off. Just be prepared for that observation and have a robbing screen ready if needed. Late queens, properly mated, tend to lay later into the fall than say a spring queen, so having an adequate number of bees to overwinter should not be a problem. Come October, you want to see several frames of capped brood with a reasonably solid pattern. For now, you need to give her around two weeks to figure things out before disturbing her again.
 
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