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Surprise Capped Queen Cell!!

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Simon 

New Bee
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Location
Bredon, Gloucestershire
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national
Number of Hives
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I opened the hive tonight for what I thought would be a quick inspection (it's a little cool here still) to check for wax moth as I has spotted some droppings and a couple of larvae. I have a National, double brood with one Super so I wanted to check all looked well and was wondering when I'd be able to split into two colonies.

When I inspected, super was about half full of capped honey and both brood boxes full of nice brood (7 or 8 frames each), eggs, larvae and bees. I didn't find any obvious was moth trails, but I did find some play cups with eggs, a Queen Cell with larvae in a pool of Royal Jelly and a frame with a capped Queen Cell.

I concluded that they are preparing to swarm, and would be ready to split (following advice given here to wait until larvae in Queen Cells). Day old eggs and relatively calm nature suggest Queen still present.

Since I took some time manipulating the top brood box and didn't spot the Queen, I assume she is in the bottom brood box.

Action - I decided to take action immediately, due to the presence of the sealed Queen Cell. I want to split to create two colonies anyway, so this is a good opportunity. Here's what I did...

I set up a new stand and floor beside my hive, and put the second brood box on it (the one I assume the Queen is not in). I took out one of the emptier frames out and made space in the centre of the brood nest. I took the frame with the sealed Queen Cell (from the other brood box), carefully brushed off the bees into the original hive (in case I had missed the Queen) and inserted it in the centre of the new brood. I took an empty (drawn) Super and split the full and empty frames between each of the supers.

The orginal brood box (hopefully with the original Queen) is still on the original site, with day old eggs, larvae and some space. It's got a super with half stores (capped and not) and half drawn frames, with a Queen Excluder between. No Queen Excluder under the Brood box at the moment because the floor is screwed to the brood box from transport, but I might change that.

Second full hive has reasonably full brood box, no Queen, but a capped Queen Cell which should hatch in the next week. Brood with day old eggs and larvae and plenty of bees. Queen Excluder and a super with half drawn empty frames and half stores.

I want to start rearing queens (to have some spares and be able to select for temperment), so I took the unsealed Queen Cell and attached it to a drawn frame in my Queen Rearing hive. I shook in a few frames worth of bees from the hive roof, supers and brood frames (checking for the Queen!) and left it - My hope is that I haven't damaged the cell and they will be able to rear a Queen...but I'm not too confident!

I was planning to have a look at what they are bringing in in the next day or two to see if I can guess which is queenless (looking for pollen going to the queen right one) and planning to leave the queenless one alone for 2 or 3 weeks. Is this right? I left the play cups alone too (they are with the Queen) but am not sure about that.

This is only the start of year 3 for me, so I'm not too confident. I'll check my books later this evening to see what I've done wrong (!) but I would appreciate some of your sage advice.

Regards,

Simon

(sorry for post length...!)
 

Simon 

New Bee
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Bredon, Gloucestershire
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
7
Just had a thought - both Queen Cells were at the top of the frame. Does this mean they are more likely to be supersedure cells? If so, I probably want them to go ahead and replace them Queen.

I presume they will just build more now I've removed the ones they had?

Incidentally, today the original hive is bringing in loads of pollen. The new hive isn't doing anything, since I guess any flying bees would have returned to the original hice and the younger bees haven't started flying yet.
 

MJBee 

Drone Bee
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Dordogne 24360 France
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commercial
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16 a mix of Commercial, National, 14 x 12, Dadant and a Warre
When a colony produces only one or two queen cells they are likely to be supercedure cells regardless of where they are on the frame, though "usually" they are center to top of the frame. 6 - 50 cells = swarm cells and these are "usually" found at the bottom and sides of the frames.

If your original colony still wants to change it's queen they will build new cells. IMO supercedure cells produce better queens than swarm cells.
Regards Mike
 

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