Swarming instinct, queen substance etc

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SteeveeTee 

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In a previous post I described my poor AS skills (located the queen, she managed to get into the new hive with nuring bees) and an esteemed member of the forum suggested I would in the future suffer "hypothetical swarming nuc". Just goes to show how clever you all are...

The cock up AS weeks ago - I put the flying bees on the old site with loads of space, foundation, frame of brood and no queen so had to let them create a QC from an egg, this week the new queen has hatched and mated and started laying (I consider myself lucky this has happened so quickly). She has been laying for 4/5 days, and the colony already has 4 queen cells.
I have two questions,
1. Whay don't they think they have swarmed - new queen (so lots of queen substance?) plenty of space, some brood to look after now- shouldn't all the pheromones in the hive be telling them there are no problems.

2. Today I knocked down all queen cells, will check again on Thurs. If more queen cells will then AS (properly), will have two small colonies (they were split once and the other half moved totally away), but I plan to re-unite them when the new queen hatches and mates. Is this a plan that should give me a strong colony for the winter (and perhaps a little honey)?
 

Moggett 

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I've had queen cells built in the AS side despite a newly mated queen. It is suggested that some new queens take a bit of time to start producing pheromones in enough quantities to stop new queen building. I don't know for definite but it seems to make sense.
 

SteeveeTee 

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OK, thanks. Other folk seem to be waiting weeks for the queen to start laying, will I have to wait weeks for her to settle into a routine then. I now wonder if knocking down QCs will be a better option than another AS. My understanding is that the bees who want to swarm get more and more desperate and keeping knocking down QCs is a hiding to nothing eventually.
 

Moggett 

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To be honest when I found the first ones I took them out. However, since then I have just left them with one as they could be superseding due to knowing something is wrong with the queen. I'm only just getting down to my preferred colony numbers by slowly merging the AS colonies so don't want to go through all that again. My gut feeling is that they won't swarm which could be wishful thinking, or 'dealing with swarm cell' fatigue - famous last words and all that.
 

drstitson 

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it is well recognised for bees to build supercedure cells after newly mated queen starts laying - HM doesn't necessarily get all pheromoned up for some weeks.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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mbc 

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If a colony with only newly layed brood builds queen cells they are generally (never say never but you could bet you're house on this!) not about to swarm, so the cells are either being built because the new queen is defective or, as sugested, her pheromones havent properly kicked in yety and the old bees automatically try and raise queens from the first brood. Either way, destroying these cells isnt achieving much.
 

Finman 

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2. Today I knocked down all queen cells, will check again on Thurs.
Newly mated queen and then queen cells. That is not normal. There is something wrong in the queen and bees want to change it. No help to brake the queen cells. Cells is a sign that things are not OK.

Explanation is not pheromones, because you cannot see them. No help from that idea.

The queen may be sick, injured, etc.... I have met new queens which slow down laying, they are swollen and soon nothing comes out. What I undestand it is nosema.

It is often said that new queen are that and that . But new queens are ready to go when they start. Good queens start nicely. I do not wait that they become better if they have poor laying at the beginning.

If something is not normal, I find often rigid antenna, dried leg, missing claws, black spot in abdomen...
 

Finman 

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It is better to buy a new queen. To rear a daughter from sick queen is not a good idea.
 

alanf 

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...the cells are either being built because the new queen is defective or, as suggested, her pheromones haven't properly kicked in yet...Either way, destroying these cells isnt achieving much.
I'd agree. Seen that a couple of times this year. I suspect the odds are stacked against there being a high quality queen from those boxes. The original queen seems to be lacking; as decided by the bees, even if were only low pheromone levels it could be more likely to swarm later. Most of the queen breeders I've read stress the need for queen cells to be built in the strongest possible hives. If there is another superseding cycle, after a couple of queen raising delays any hive has started to lose some of the masses of nurse bees that it started with.
 

SteeveeTee 

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Advice seems to be buy new queen, the one I have is duff. The original queen, (given to friend) also sounds like is having trouble so I guess the social thing to do is remove all their genes from the local gene pool, shame as her temperament was excellent.
 
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