Does the urge to reproduce trump all?

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BeeKeyPlayer

From Rainham, Medway (North Kent) UK
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I've read Wally Shaw over the years (including in May's BBKA news) say that the only queen cells that beekeepers should remove are swarm cells. Leaving emergency and supersedure cells poses no risk of swarming.

And yet, I've found to my cost, and read here, that at peak swarming times, bees may well decide to swarm given the chance, even though the queen cells may have been generated on an emergency impulse, or there's one spare in the supersedure process.

Given the chance, it seems that the urge to reproduce is irresistible.
 
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Perhaps his view can be explained, but I've always found they want to swarm on the emergency ones.
 
a lot of this is down to the insistence by some of giving queen cells different labels solely on their position on the frame/in the hive
Anything more than one queen cell, wherever they are, as far as I am concerned and they are thinking about swarming ... although sometimes they don't ! Better be safe than lose a swarm...
 
a lot of this is down to the insistence by some of giving queen cells different labels solely on their position on the frame/in the hive
Yes, that might be the case with supersedure cells, but I'm referring to an unambiguous situation of emergency cells, or a situation with just a couple of cells which may well be supersedure. Would you treat these the same as swarm cells and remove all but one (or two)?
 
Leaving emergency and supersedure cells poses no risk of swarming.
I have taken Wally as gospel when I tried a couple of his modified Snelgroves
Only once, mind.
Dont believe him.
I asked him about it and he told me that he looked into the box with the EQCs weeks later so never really knew anything apart from the fact that we’re usually queenright.
 
I have taken Wally as gospel when I tried a couple of his modified Snelgroves
Only once, mind.
Dont believe him.
I asked him about it and he told me that he looked into the box with the EQCs weeks later so never really knew anything apart from the fact that we’re usually queenright.
(including in May's BBKA news
Oh dear. Perhaps another tap on the shoulder might be warranted?
 
that might be the case with supersedure cells,
but how can you be sure they are supersedure cells, not just swarm cells. the only unambiguity cones from emergency cells, but then again I opened a hive this afternoon where I am pretty certain the queen died rather suddenly last Thursday, and if I didn't know what had happened, I wouldn't have been able to say for certain they were EQCs
 
but how can you be sure they are supersedure cells, not just swarm cells. the only unambiguity cones from emergency cells, but then again I opened a hive this afternoon where I am pretty certain the queen died rather suddenly last Thursday, and if I didn't know what had happened, I wouldn't have been able to say for certain they were EQCs
Makes sense. I infer that you recommend treating any and all queen cells as swarm cells, because we can't be sure that they're not.

Still, I'm not clear if you would treat EQCs differently in cases where you ARE certain that they really are that.
 
I infer that you recommend treating any and all queen cells as swarm cells,
this time of the year, yes, if I find a solitary QC, even though I may be fairly confident it's supersedure, I would nuc the queen and leave the colony raise a queen from the 'supersedure' cell.
Checking the nuc a week after will either reveal the bees just working normally and striving to build up again - in which case you can assume it was swarming and you were right to split.
If you find another supersedure cell, what have you lost? you have potentially two colonies headed by new queens
Still, I'm not clear if you would treat EQCs differently in cases where you ARE certain that they really are that
I would always (as I did yesterday) reduce to one QC as only a fool would leave a strong colony with multiple QC's and the opportunity to throw a prime swarm headed by the first virgin out.
Bees are opportunists, they won't pass over the chance to multiply because someone had decreed they don't swarm on EQCs, by God, it's the reason that some colonies cast themselves to a standstill if you don't go in a week after swarming to take down the EQCs
 
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this time of the year, yes, if I find a solitary QC, even though I may be fairly confident it's supersedure, I would nuc the queen and leave the colony raise a queen from the 'supersedure' cell.
Checking the nuc a week after will either reveal the bees just working normally and striving to build up again - in which case you can assume it was swarming and you were right to split.
If you find another supersedure cell, what have you lost? you have potentially two colonies headed by new queens
Coudn't agree more. Did exactly that over a week ago with a Q from last July -when I rechecked days later I found another cell.
 
this time of the year, yes, if I find a solitary QC, even though I may be fairly confident it's supersedure, I would nuc the queen and leave the colony raise a queen from the 'supersedure' cell.
Checking the nuc a week after will either reveal the bees just working normally and striving to build up again - in which case you can assume it was swarming and you were right to split.
If you find another supersedure cell, what have you lost? you have potentially two colonies headed by new queens

I would always (as I did yesterday) reduce to one QC as only a fool would leave a strong colony with multiple QC's and the opportunity to throw a prime swarm headed by the first virgin out.
Bees are opportunists, they won't pass over the chance to multiply because someone had decreed they don't swarm on EQCs, by God, it's the reason that some colonies cast themselves to a standstill if you don't go in a week after swarming to take down the EQCs
Thanks Emyr, very clear.

a prime swarm headed by the first virgin out.

(For pedants: although prime means first, I would say that for many people, the term 'prime swarm' does not include a first swarm headed by a virgin.)
 
(For pedants: although prime means first, I would say that for many people, the term 'prime swarm' does not include a first swarm headed by a virgin.
well they'd be wrong - prime swarm is the first one to leave the hive, regardless of whether the queen is mated or not
It also has nothing to do with the size of it.
 

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