View Full Version : supercedure cells

Aug 10th 2009, 10:52 PM
This might seem like a very obvious question, but never hurts to ask, right?
My dad and I started keeping bees this year after taking a short course at the U of MN. We only have one hive that we started from a package we got in the spring. Our queen was strong with a good brood pattern, filling out 3 deep hive boxes. Recently, however, we've noticed that there is significantly less brood as well as queen cells forming. I've read that swarm cells form near the bottom and in large groups. I've only noticed a few, usually near the middle, which makes me think they are supercedure cells. My question is, is it normal for brood to decrease as we near the end of the season? I am from Minnesota, and the summer has been on the cooler side. And if the queen is weak, and they are trying to raise a new one, should we let them?
Thanks for the help!

Aug 11th 2009, 05:23 AM
First, welcome to the forum. It's great to see another first year beekeeper.

Brood will decrease as the days grow shorter. You will have a fall brood cycle increase if you have a fall flow with such plants as aster or goldenrod. But it is very common to have a slowdown in August.

Are you sure your seeing queens cups, and not queen cells? Queen cups will be the beginning or the "base" structures, and remain empty most of the time. Some hives will have eggs in them from time to time and just keep emptying them.

Queen cells are once they start queens, the queen cup is no longer called a queen cup, but a queen cell.

If it is queen cells, I'd let them raise their own at this point. Keep in mind that after you no longer have capped brood, you run the rick of developing laying workers after about 10 days of no capped brood. You do have capped worker brood, right?

Keep on top of it.

Aug 11th 2009, 07:12 AM
BjornBee has covered the question quite well, so I will just add my "welcome" and hope you enjoy the forum.

Aug 11th 2009, 07:27 AM
Welcome to the site.

Bjorn did cover your question quite well.

Are you seeing any eggs still?


Aug 12th 2009, 04:52 PM
We do still have both capped worker brood and a few drone cells, as well, just significantly less than before. I believe we are seeing actual queen cells. The ones we have removed have had larvae in them, and were sealed.
Should I worry about the queen becoming fertilized if they do raise a new one, or is it fairly likely she'll become fertilized? I am not aware of any other beekeepers in my general area.

Thanks for all the welcomes and the advice!

Aug 13th 2009, 05:20 PM
Yes welcome by all means, ask a lot of questions.
I wouldn't worry too much about a new queen finding drones, it's true that there are not as many as earlier in the year. The bees usually know what they are doing. I'll bet there are a whole lot more bees around you than you think. Most beekeepers down here try to keep their hives out of public view for a number of reasons. Not to mention the "feral" hives.
I hope you didn't take out too many queen cells. You really shouldn't do that unless you need a cell for another hive. But, opening one up to learn from is 100% acceptable.
The internet forums has had a lot of conversation about this 09 springs package bees supercedeing so don't feel like the Lone Ranger.

Aug 15th 2009, 08:47 AM
Hopefully you didn't destroy all the superceedure cells, as the bees are effectively raising a " queen of last resort ", allow atleast one to mature, there will always be drones in the area to service your queen no problems there. My only real concern is you will have to artificially stimulate brood rearing by feeding them very heavily, and provide pollen substitute as the bulk of the nectar flows are done for the year. inj some areas there is a good fall flow, but can't rely on that.
Welcome to the board, and the world of beekeeping.