What is happening- ?supersedure cells in requeening hive

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Mar 26, 2023
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Hi. I’m a newbee and the last month has certainly been a bit of a learning curve.
I started off with two overwintered nucs (marked 2022 queen).
On 8th May, one hive swarmed- I saw it go, and caught it into a new hive, marked queen is there. I went through original hive, took down all QC (I think this was a mistake), then went through again three days later on 11th May and left all but one QC.
I must have missed one, because on 24th May my wife saw the same original hive swarm again- presumably a cast swarm. I hived this as well in a nuc box.
I went through the original hive very briefly and there were two hatched QC, so I thought this was a cast swarm and both swarm and original hive had virgin queens.
I had a quick look in both hives this evening (perhaps a bit early- 17 days after cast swarm). The hived cast swarm (in a nuc box) is doing fine- uncapped brood and I thought I saw the unmarked queen but I’m not certain.
I then had a quick look in the original hive. One frame had about 8 supersedure type sealed QCs right in the middle of the frame. The bees were reasonably calm. I couldn’t see any brood or eggs- but I’m not great at seeing eggs anyway and the light wasn’t great.
What do I do?? How can they have made new QCs at this point as it’s now 33 days since they should have had a laying queen? Surely there weren’t any eggs for them to do this?
I’m rather inclined to just leave them be and see what happens over the next week or two- I have still got the two swarms which I can use to requeen if necessary.
I didn’t take any pictures but can do tomorrow. They’re definitely not drone cells.
Thanks and sorry it’s rather a long post.
Can laying workers make QCs? I’m fairly sure these are QCs not drone cells.
Apologies for the very poor quality pictures- I had forgotten how difficult it is to take photos with an iPhone in gloves. Ended up using my nose to take a video which was a bit awkward to say the least….
Today I’ve taken down all except the best one- the remainder all had larvae in them. No eggs, some capped brood (which again doesn’t make sense as I thought queenless since 8th May).
After chatting to an experienced person from the course, am currently planning to see what happens over the next week or two and hopefully will requeen from this.
Many thanks once again,


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Can laying workers make QCs?
yes, but they are not viable
some capped brood (which again doesn’t make sense
it does make sense - it's drone brood from laying workers

Today I’ve taken down all except the best one
why bother keeping it? you've just said there hasn't been a laying queen in there for over a month - although they will try in desperation, bees cannot make queens out of unfertilised eggs

After chatting to an experienced person from the course, am currently planning to see what happens over the next week or two and hopefully will requeen from this.
try chatting to someone who knows what they're talking about.
Many thanks indeed, Jenkinsbrynmair- I hadn’t even considered laying workers.
But does that fit with a definite witnessed swarm (presumed cast with virgin queen) issuing from the hive 17 days ago, which I captured? I inspected that swarm hive yesterday and plentiful eggs, and uncapped brood, and saw the queen- ie it issued a now mated viable queen. Also- a second potential swarm caught in my bait hive a couple of days ago, and really cannot have come from any of my other hives. It’s obviously too early to tell whether this queen is viable (and indeed I suppose it could have come from another apiary).
Further- there’s no uncapped brood nor eggs that I can see, and the scanty brood there is looks like standard worker brood.
What would you suggest I do- Shake out and use hive elsewhere, add a frame of uncapped brood from another hive, or wait and see?
(The person I asked ran the beginners class and is the most experienced BK I know- but he hasn’t seen the pictures nor the hive so I accept he is a bit limited by that).
Many thanks once again for your time and expertise,

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