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Doing post mortems on beehives the other day trying to figure out what killed him. On three hives I found multiple sealed queen cell supercedure cells. Im wondering if anyone has experience this and what would cause it. Seems sad to lose three hives for such a crappy reason. Out of eight hives I still have two left kicking. Is this why people commonly requeen in the fall?
 

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Well we typically use Oxalic Acid up here. I didnt treat these colonies, had two collapse from mites for sure. These ones were weird though all thriving 3 weeks ago and riddled with Queen Cells. Went through every dead bee looking for mites and an explanation... found three in one of em. Tons of honey left, and decent clusters three weeks ago.
 

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I'm trying to understand why bees would raise queen cells in March in Ontario.

In those 3…when you say they were thriving…was there sealed brood? Eggs/larvae? Were the queen cells new? Were they supercedure or emergency cells? Did you find any dead queens?
 

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I pulled a few frames from a dead out and also found several queen cells. One looked like it had opened naturally while the other was still capped. My record keeping is not the best but I am thinking the queen was several years old. I assumed the queen failed late and she was not able to get mated. I am planning on a more in depth look when the weather is better.

I treated with a half dose of MAQS in late August and followed with a couple doses of formic acid on pads in early September. I started earlier then usual with MAQS as the mite load was getting high and I had some MAQs in my bee shed.

My 7 other hives were alive with medium + clusters.

Regards Peter
 

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I also saw queen cells in one of my deadouts this year. They were relatively small compared to others I have seen. I surmise that the queen died early in the winter as brood production reached its end and temperatures fell, and that the hive dwindled to nothing over the next few months.
 

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I found a drone layer in one of my colonies last week and on inspection there was a single opened supersedure cell in the centre of a frame of stores. I presume this colony tried to supersede its queen last autumn/fall and the virgin failed to mate. In my experience perfect supersedure with the two queens laying together for a while is not that common and the old queen is often gone before the new one has even mated.
 
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