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Queen cell with larvae in it

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DanielSELondon 

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Hello,

I hope that you wise people will be able to help me out!

I inheirited a hive of bees that had taken over an old hive after swarming sometime last summer. When I got the hive it was in a bit of state (brace comb everywhere etc). I decided that I would do a shook swarm on the hive and put it onto fresh foundation in a National BB, and this all worked out well. I fed the hive for a couple of weeks after this.

A few weeks ago I noticed some (3 or 4) queen cups in the centre of the frames. I decieded to destroy these (to see if they would appear again and to check if they had eggs/larvae in them. They didn't have anything in them.

This is the situation now:

The colony is spread out across 7 frames that they have drawn out, there are stores of honey, pollen, eggs, larvae, capped brood (drone and worker). There are also between 6 - 10 queen cups in total across various frames - most of them in the centre of the frames. These all look empty.

This is the change since the last inspection - there is one queen cell with a larvae in it. They have drawn this cup out and it now looks like a classic long queen cell.

I was wondering what you would do?

I think that as the colony has space to expand on to the other four frames - which they are drawing out at the moment that they are trying to produce a new queen as the original may be quite old. I am tempted to leave them be and see what happens - but am worried that they might swarm.

What are your thoughts? I do have spare hive parts inc. nuc boxes and brood boxes but am relecutant to split them or do an AS as they aren't up to full colony size yet!

Thanks in advance!
 

VEG 

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They dont normally make that many cells when replacing the queen. Are you positive there are no eggs in any of the queen cups? If not go back through it in a day or two to see if any are charged, if they are you need to do an AS.
If you just leave them to it you could loose a prime swarm along with a few caste swarms.
 

Poly Hive 

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This is the situation now:

The colony is spread out across 7 frames that they have drawn out, there are stores of honey, pollen, eggs, larvae, capped brood (drone and worker). There are also between 6 - 10 queen cups in total across various frames - most of them in the centre of the frames. These all look empty.

This is the change since the last inspection - there is one queen cell with a larvae in it. They have drawn this cup out and it now looks like a classic long queen cell.

Play cups are play cups when empty and or occupied by an egg.

A larvae in one is a statement of intent and in your case I
read the intent as supercedure so please leave them alone to get on with it. And as a foot note knocking out play cups is a waste of your time and their energy. They are non threatening.

PH
 

sherwood 

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I agree with poly hive you appear to only have one queen cell and unless they populate any others you appear to have supercedure. Oh to wish that mine followed this form of behaviour.
 

DanielSELondon 

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Thanks for your suggestions - I really do hope that it is a case of supersedure!

So would you recomend that I just keep checking that the play cups don't have larvae in them? Am I right in thinking that I shouldn't bother the hive too much once the queen emerges? Will the two queens sort it out between themselves?

Also as I said the hive is at 7 frames drawn - should I add a super to it yet?

Thanks SO much for your help!

Daniel
 

tonybloke 

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no need for a super, it'll just be more space for the bees to heat!!
 

Poly Hive 

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If I have the numbers right here this National BB has three frames of brood, one queen cell and is going backwards?

I would not suggest a super, and I think you know it too.

I super on 8 frames of brood. You have three....

Give them three weeks please. check the play cups next week to assure your self they are just playing... and chill.

PH
 

DanielSELondon 

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Sorry I don't think I made the numbers clear!

The National BB has seven frames that are fully drawn - most of this is brood or larvae. Each has stores around the edge.

They have started pulling out the foundation on the eighth and the last three haven't been touched.

My original plan was to put on a super when they got to 9 full frames. I think I will stick with this plan.

Thanks for your help.
 

Mike a 

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I was taught the 7 frame rule, if you have a prolific queen who is laying wall to wall frames of brood.

Repeat with supers as well, place the newest super directly on top of the brood nest not on top of a mostly filled super.
 

DanielSELondon 

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Queen cell with larvae in it (UPDATED)

Hello,

An update on this particular hive. I think that I lost a prime swarm this afternoon. On returning home this afternoon I noticed thousands of bees in my neighbours garden and by the time I grabbed the necessary kit to recapture it, it was off. I watched as they flew into the distance! I have scouted around the local gardens but to no success.

I guess it wasn't supercedure! I have opened up the hive and can see two sealed queen cells and one (possibly two) with larvae. I have reduced the size of the entrance as I watched a bumble bee fly straight in to the hive and I want to try to ensure that this hive can defend itself. There seems to be a good number left behind and lots of sealed brood.

What else should I do now? Do I need to reduce the number of QC?

Thanks again for your help and if anyone is near Brockley in South London and notices some very well behaved bees (who like to swarm!) let me know!
 

DanielSELondon 

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Thanks for your help.

As far as I understand an artificial swarm - you leave the flying bees and queen on new foundation in present site.

How would I go about doing an AS without the queen?

Thanks.

Daniel
 

VEG 

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It is too late to do an AS now really as the bees have swarmed. I would leave 1 sealed queen cell and one open queen cell with larvae and leave them to it.
 

oliver90owner 

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Just leave the open cell, or the best one if you are sure the other had a mature larva and has not been shaken or otherwise treated roughly after capping You have insurance in a frame of eggs in your other hive.

Regards, RAB
 

DanielSELondon 

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Thanks for all your help. I have been through the hive this morning and there were three capped queen cells in total. Some other queen cups with nothing in them.

I removed all but one of the capped queen cells and will now leave them to it. I believe that the QC I have left was capped either yesterday or the day before. When would you next look in the hive?

I was thinking to have a look in just over two/three weeks time, as the queen should emerge in 7/8 days time and should fly to mate 5 - 8 days after that. Then it will take her a few days to start laying. This is providing that everything goes to plan - which as I am quickly learning it doesn't always!

Thanks again.
 

oliver90owner 

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Think harder about it and consider all the options/possibilities!. 7 to 9 days. The queen cell should either be 'ripe', so easily checked, or emerged.

If no queen is going to hatch, you will need to get a frame of eggs in there - without waiting/wasting another week or two!

I suggest you take a sheet of paper and write down all the possible scenarios. That should lead you to the correct action plan.

RAB
 

DanielSELondon 

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I shall do just that.

Other than looking for a darkened tip is there any other way of telling that the queen cell is 'ripe'?

If the queen has emerged the cell will be broken at the end - is this correct?

Thanks for your invaluable help.
 

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