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When inspecting one of my hives yesterday I found an emerged swarm cell. I'm trying to guess about how long ago they may have swarmed. Does anybody know how long after a virgin queen emerges do the bees break down the old cell?
 

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I think it would depend on whether or not the workers need space for a queen to lay. I have seen them cleaned out in a few days but also seen them hang around for a week or more. A few questions. Is the colony queenright? Are there eggs? Are you sure it was a swarm cell or supercedure? A swarm commonly leaves when the cells are capped and quees will emerge around 8 days later.

Without more info you could conceivably have no queen, two queens, a virgin queen, a mated queen not laying yet, etc.,
 

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Ditto crofter. I have seen them quickly tear them down and take their time doing it.
 

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> Does anybody know how long after a virgin queen emerges do the bees break down the old cell?

I raise queens so I see a LOT of emerged cells. There is no real pattern to how quickly they are torn down. Some colonies do it quickly. Some never get around to it...
 
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