Capped brood in super?

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New Bee
May 31, 2009
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North Linconlshire
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I've just inspected my hive and have found capped brood in the super. Two weeks ago, I put a new super onto the BB without a queen excluder and left for a week. The super had undrawn new foundation in all frames.

Inspected 7 days ago and quite a lot of the foundation had been drawn out and was started to be filled with honey. Queen excluder was then put in place, I had a look through all the super frames to check that she wasn't there before the excluder was put on (or so I'd thought!).

Today, all super frames have bees on them (apart from the two at the front). In the centre I came across a frame that had some larva on, then the next had larva and capped brood.

Looked through the BB and all frames had bees on, with lots of capped brood, only difference to last week was the amount of drone brood which was mainly on the third frame from the front. Now there is a lot on the second frame from the back, but with none inbetween.

Any ideas on what is happening/happened? How do I manage the supers now? One thought is to shake all bees from the super frames into the BB and loose the two frames with brood on, that way I'll know that the Queen in where she belongs. I counld't see any eggs on any super frames, nor in the BB for that matter, but plenty of uncapped larva in the BB.
Three week cycle. Eggs to imago. When the Q/E has been there three weeks you should be able to say those frames will be brood-free.

Alternative is that she is getting through the excluder.

A National brood is likely not big enough anyway, depending on type of bee, frames used, time of year, weather,nectar flow, etc.

If egg laying is compromised by lack of space two things are happening. One, The colony is losing potential foragers. Two, the chances of swarming are increasing.

No eggs in the super would indicate she is downstairs - but that may be because there is no room upstairs and there is some below. For you to ascertain by observation, if she remains there.

'Losing' frames with brood on, is counter productive for the colony. If it is the drone brood you are referring to, you might be well advised to check for varroah mites when capped and take appropriate action on the results. Extra drone brood, if on worker foundation, is a likely precursor to swarming, so mighrt need more brood space now.

Regards, RAB
I was referring to removing the two frames in the super that had larva/capped brood on and replacing with two new undrawn super combs. Then all bees to be shook down into BB and replacing the queen excluder, knowing then that the super was empty of any bees.
I wrote: 'Losing' frames with brood on, is counter productive for the colony.

Sorry, mis-read re drone brood, and that it was just downstairs.

If there are no eggs upstairs 'Her Majesty' is not there. If there are eggs downstairs, that is where she is. Simply observation and patience required.

Regards, RAB
Similar situation.
8 days ago I placed an empty super underneath a full but as yet uncapped super .
Today I inspected colony.
Queen right (seen.)
Eggs brood all stages (8 frames of)
Bees happy ,working with Gusto(10am 11 degrees ).
No queen cells (a couple of play cups not charged ).
On replacing qx, then supers , I looked into top (heavy )super to see if capping had commenced.
In the centre comb, was a small patch (couple of inches) each side containing drone brood, all other cells in entire super stuffed full of honey .

My theory (for what it's worth) is that seeing that the super between the qx and the full super contained a mixture of drawn frames and frames of foundation, probability is that the cold snap of the last week resulted in the super bees isolated from the brood box by the empty super had assumed Queenlessness which subsequently encouraged a laying worker ??.

I have winkled out the larvae and uncapped the half dozen or so capped drones and decided to leave the colony to sort themselves out .

There is no evidence of damage to the qe and the tiny amount of brood ,all drones suggests a precocious worker ?

One reservation I have with this theory is the short time (8 days ) span between the eggs being laid and the brood being capped meanig the eggs were laid prior to the addition of the second super , when the first super was sitting on the qe. The uncapped would have been laid less than 9 days ago. Mmhhh!!.

John Wilkinson

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