View Full Version : swarm cells

May 22nd 2010, 03:09 AM
I have checked my colony this morning and found 4 unsealed queen cells, which I have removed, however I know that this is not ideal, and am wondering what to do next? should I have attempted an artificial swarm? The brood box is nearly full and I have got a half brood on top of that , but the bees are storing honey in it although there is also some capped brood as well. The super on top of the queen excluder is fairly empty.

May 22nd 2010, 05:36 AM
when you say unsealed, does this mean the cells were started (had a bit of royal jelly and larvae in them) or were they just cups (dry)?

do you have an upper entrance above the excluder?

May 22nd 2010, 11:32 AM
the cells had larvae in them, but I must have missed some because when I got home this afternoon, my next door neighbour had seen them swarm , so I guess that answers my question! I have had another look in the hive and although the numbers are down, there are still a lot of bes, but as I removed the visible queen cells this morning, I imagine that it is now a case of wait and see if a new queen will develop or not.

May 22nd 2010, 01:09 PM
Removing queen cells is the best way I know to make a hive queenless and watch them die. The only time I remove a cell is when I make up a nuc or install it in a queenless hive. I never destroy one.

May 22nd 2010, 02:13 PM
That is what I was going to ask, why are you cutting them out for. Once the swarm mode is turned on it is hard to reverse it.

Now that they have swarmed the old queen has left the hive and one of the virgin queens will emerge.........unless you have removed all of the queen cells. If you keep cutting them out where do you think a new queen will originate from?? Yes if there are eggs still avaliable the bees will make an emergency queen cell, but now you might go for close to 30 days without any brood.


Mama Beek
May 22nd 2010, 04:36 PM
I don't get rid of queen cells either..... I don't imagine I'll ever be able to look into a hive once every week or few weeks and judge correctly what "needs" done, but just like I know that the "jar of goo" in the fridge is sourdough starter and doesn't need to be thrown away I reckon the bees know when to make a queen cell.

It was hard to see swarm cells and not freak out though.... it just requires a shift in perspective and trying to anticipate the need vs. what I think should be done to change the bee's behavior. WBB and I just had this conversation a few weeks back, you never go into a lady's house and tell her what she doesn't need to have!

May 23rd 2010, 12:09 PM
with some luck you may have missed a few queen cells if not you now have a queenless hive. I know there are some books and people that will tell you to cut queen cells. I have never cut queen cells i always split. I think of cutting out queen cells like turning back the clock. cutting them will not stop the swarming no more than turning back a clock will give you more time in the day.

May 24th 2010, 05:28 AM
very nice analogy riverrat and I would suggest the proper response to queen cells. a split in hand should be worth two in the tree... right?

don't get totally discouraged gloriousolive since most folks will miss a queen cell or two generally located near the end bars. of course one frame of eggs and young larvae acquired from another hive and install into this hive in question might be good insurance.