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Supercedure?

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SER 

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I put a second brood box on my only hive about a month ago and they did seem to be doing really well and are really busy, last weeks inspection was brief due to the weather and I appear to have missed QC's.

I found the following situation today...

Top (new) box....
1. Partial drawn
2. Almost fully drawn, with stores
3. Almost fully drawn, with stores
4. 1/4 capped Brood the rest Eggs & Lavae
5. 1/4 capped Brood the rest Eggs & Lavae
6. 1/4 capped Brood the rest Eggs & Lavae
7. Full frame of capped brood
8. Full frame of capped brood
9. Small patched capped brood
10. Partially drawn

Bottom (original) box....
1. Stores
2. 1/4 Capped brood only
3. Eggs & Lavae
4. Full frame of capped brood
5. Lavae and 2 Sealled QC (middle of frame)
6. 3/4 capped brood & lavae
7. 1/4 capped brood & lavae
8. Empty cells, 2 sealled QC (middle of frame)
9. 1/2 capped brood 2 sealled QC (middle of frame)
10. Stores

Would I be right in thinking that with the laying pattern and the small number of QC's in the centre of frames I am looking at a supercedure? I don't think they have swarmed judging by the quantity of bees.

If this is a supercedure what is my best course of action, remove some cells and leave well alone?

Thanks in advance

Cheers Si,
 

mbc 

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If they havent allready swarmed their about to. Find the queen and AS them or if shes gone ( dont be fooled by lots of bees remaining - they wouldnt go without leaving enough bees to cover the brood ) and you want increase then think about splitting the two brood box's each with a cell ( make sure the cells havent allready hatched by checking the end isnt hinged )
 

oliver90owner 

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Without some history of the queen, we wouldn't really have a clue as to whether they are superceding before swarming or what. Queens are often superceded if the were, themselves, a swarm queen, or if they are getting 'long in the tooth'. But that number of queen cells seems more like she has gone already.

You certainly need to do something. I would remove those frames with the two sealed cells and make up a couple of nucs or more with lots of house bees, etc if I only had one colony. Are you going to increase? Is that the plan? If not your honey crop may take a bashing if they throw casts.

If you don't find the queen, look again in a couple of days time - no queen, no more eggs. Presumably there is copious drone brood already hatched? If not, it may be supercedure. Lots of options, but some action needed as those queens could be hatching quite soon if you missed everything a week ago.

Regards, RAB
 

mbc 

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RAB,
Your quite right I shouldnt have been so definate when I havent seen the hive or known the history etc. but I posted what I thought was most likely - I guess south devon is fairly simular to west wales conditions - and writing caveats each time one posts would be time consuming
 

oliver90owner 

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Yep, I know. Most of what we say is wrong most of the time. The bees have their own agenda!

Regards, RAB
 

SER 

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Thanks for your replies. My plan this year was to go for an increase which is why they had the second brood box.

The queen is 2009, so she isn't long in the tooth it was just position and number of QC's that made me think supercedure.

There are some drones but not copious amounts.

If I was to effectively split the top box and make a couple of nucs with 2 of the frames containing QC's I then AS the original box and hope that is that, if they decide to supercede the old queen then they can do that later.

Cheers Si.
 
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MJBee 

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As RAB said your queen cells are very close to emerging so time is short. A double brood configuration is ideal for an increase. Just remove the top brood and divide into two 5 frame nucs ensuring that the remaining brood box and the two nucs each have a queen cell, and at least 1 frame of stores.

When making the split you need to check for the presence of eggs. If they are present you have a queen in there somewhere and you need to find her. She may be slimmed down ready to swarm and be very elusive. If she is present you will need to artificially swarm the remaining brood box. Although this will give you 4 small units there is plenty of time for them to build up or re-unite later.
Good luck Mike
 

SER 

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Well, I spent a good while this afternoon going through both boxes looking for the queen, I seperated the frames into pairs in different boxes to try and make it easier but could not find her! Eggs are present so she has been there recently.

Tomorrow I will make a couple of nucs, if nothing else it makes the increase I was after this year. but without the finding the queen I can't AS, I don't think she has already gone, I have a couple of bait hive in the area as a backup.

Thanks for your replies.

Si.
 

Poly Hive 

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Split the boxes. Go have a cup of tea.

Observe the two after 20 mins or so. The queenless one will be showing search signs, running about on the front and so on.

Narrows your task by 50%

When you pair the combs how many did you have in the box? I use three pairs.

Narrow your odds all the time.

PH
 

MuswellMetro 

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I think it just that the bottom box has lost contact with the queen who is laying in the top box...the bottom box has sensed the loss of queen pheromoneas she is on different brood frames..they think she is failing,so superscedure starts
 

SER 

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Interesting you say that MuswellMetro, it was one of my first thought but I discounted it knowing lots of people run double brood boxes without problems.
 

Haughton Honey 

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Lots of Commercial hives.......
Interesting you say that MuswellMetro, it was one of my first thought but I discounted it knowing lots of people run double brood boxes without problems.
A little pointer here for those that are wanting to try double brood is to ensure that you DON'T remove the brace comb built between the two brood boxes....which enables the Q to more easily travel between the two.
 

SER 

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I had planned to make up the nucs and find the queen in order to AS this morning at about 10 o'clock, at 9:45 they swarmed!
It was the first swarm I've seen and what a sight it was!

Thankfully they settled about shoulder height in the hedge, I got them into the skep without too much hassle only for them to leave on mass whilst waiting for the remaining flying bees to join the rest.

They settled again about 10' down the hedge and again went into the skep only to leave again!

This time they settled in exactly the same spot as the first time! I got them into a cardboard box, which I closed up as soon as I had the majority of the bees in it.

They are now in a hive with a queen excluder/includer.

So it was an interesting day which taught me alot. A great experience!

Photos to follow.
Cheers Si.
 

birchdale 

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I think it just that the bottom box has lost contact with the queen who is laying in the top box...the bottom box has sensed the loss of queen pheromoneas she is on different brood frames..they think she is failing,so superscedure starts
I agree. Mine have all been so slow completing the Bailey Comb Exchange this year, too cold to build wax; I think that although the Qs had moved upstairs, the house bees in the bottom boxes couldn't sense the Qs pheramones. The hives are Dadant & Commercial so pretty large! The Qs are laying very well. Some rather good supercedure cells to play with now.
 

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