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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I'm new to the group and have only had two hives for just over two weeks. We recently had our hive inspected and we found what the inspector called supercedure cells in one of the hives. There were three very large cells that the inspector said were for new queens and that he thought the hive had decided they needed to hatch a new queen as the old queen's pheromones were getting lower.

My question is (especially after reading some of these posts) is how would you tell the difference between the hive wanting to replace their queen and stay put versus wanting to swarm? Is there a difference between supercedure cells and swarm cells?

When my husband and I purchased our nuc hives we were told we had a new queen in each. However, when the inspector took a look at the queen in the hive that was in question he noted that the queen did have this years color marking of green-but below that it appeared that she had a red dot (last years color). Also, space is not an issue as the bees are just working on pulling out a new frame or two and we have a shallow box on top for honey when they need it.

Any input would be greatly appreciated,

DebCP
 

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Supercedure cells typically are on the top half of a frame. Swarm cells will be on the bottom portion of the frame.

Also, space is not an issue as the bees are just working on pulling out a new frame or two and we have a shallow box on top for honey when they need it.
Space in the brood nest is what you need. If the top of the frames in the broodnest are full of honey (ie, honeybound) and the queen doesn't have the room to lay more eggs, it will trigger the swarm impulse. It does not matter how much room you have up in the honey supers if the brood nest is overcrowded.

If they are drawing out comb in the broodnest, you 'should' be ok. Adding empty frames to a broodnest is a good way to stop the swarming impulse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
wow-thanks for the quick response...

Hi guys...thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I'm not sure I'm posting properly but will work on format next time. When we inspected the frame it appeared that there we two queen cells towards the upper/middle portion of the frame and then a third close to the bottom.

It sounds like since my hive has plenty of room inside that I shouldn't worry too much?

Regarding the queen, I have sent an email to the breeder asking her what's up with the two colored dots-seems a bit fishy to me.

Thanks,

DebCP
 

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The way I understand queen cells is that a hive preparing to swarm is still quite organized and has the willing participation of the "old" queen so the new queen cells will be made hanging off the bottom bar of a frame where there is plenty of room for a big cell. A supercedure cell, on the other hand, is made in preparation for a mutiny of sorts so the worker bees will take a cell where the queen has already laid an egg and extend the cell to allow for the extra feeding and physical growth of a new queen. That is why the supercedure cells will be on the comb somewhere.

As for the colored dots, I imagine you got marked queens. They should have a single colored dot that make them easier to find during an inspection. The color of the dot also helps a beekeeper know the age of the queen as each year has a unique color on a 5 year rotating schedule (I don't know the color for this year or the sequence but I am sure you can find it if you search the forum). What color and size are the dots?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
supercedue cell & queen

Hi Carl,

Yes, the cells were definitely where the queen would have been laying her eggs. So definitely looking like supercedure cells.

The dot on the queen (on the top) was a bright green which is the color for 2009 queens and the dot below that one was red, which was the color for last years queens. I did just get a response from the breeder who said that they didn't have the right color pens when they started marking and that we have a "late winter queen"...that there shouldn't be any problem with her. They are now saying that they will replace the queen if we want but that it is unnecessary. So now I'm in a quandry, not sure if I should be trusting them after I was told I had a 2009 queen and whether or not to ask for a new queen. One thing is for sure, we are committed to having a marked queen due to the problems with Africanized bees in our area-so just letting a new queen take over is not an option for us.

Thanks,

DebCP
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Queen Issues

Hi Carl,

Thanks for the feedback...asking for a new queen is what my gut is telling me as well. Personally, I'm not comfortable dealing with this breeder anymore after being told that we had a 2009 queen. Not sure why I'm feeling bad about asking for a new queen, guess it's just the way they responded. So ...guess I'll just suck it up and be a big girl and tell them what I want and not what they want to hear.

DebCP
 
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