supercedure AND swarm cells?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by d.magnitude, May 29, 2011.

  1. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    I installed 3 new packages about a month ago on a mixture of foundation and drawn comb (some w/ honey). They're all still in a single deep brood chamber each.

    Today I looked in and found that one had what appeared to be a few capped swarm cells (at bottom of drawn comb) and at least one capped supercedure cell (up on the top 3rd of a frame). I didn't see the queen nor any uncapped brood. This hive didn't seem much weaker than it was a week ago, so I have a hard time believing a swarm took off already, but who knows?

    My question is: Should I split this hive into 2 (each w/ a queen cell), or should I just leave it alone? I'd like to have more colonies, without buying queens. My only reason not to split using these cells would be potential "swarminess" since this was a relatively weak colony, but decided to do what it did anyway.

    If I leave it as it is, should I put another brood chamber on? I'm inclined to think "no", since there were still 1+ undrawn frames in there, and the population should drop before it gets bigger again. Then again, they may have felt crowded once before...

    -Dan
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Location of qcells is an indication, not a hard fact. They may all be supercedure cells. I would leave them as is.
     

  3. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    I'm inclined to leave them as-is myself. But if it was a supercedure scenario, wouldn't the old queen still be present w/ the capped cells? I thought in a supercedure the new queen was the one to do in the old girl.

    -Dan
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Maybe emergency cells?
     
  5. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Could be. I seemed to have a lot of superceding going on in my hives last year. Maybe I'm a chronic queen squasher. Just kidding (I hope). I'm actually very, very careful when manipulating frames, but I'm sure accidents happen.

    Are there any tendencies w/ position on the frame for emergency queen cells, or do they just make them wherever they can?
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    As far as I know, they just use whatever larva are the right age.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I would suspect unless the boxes you installed these packages into were quite small that they are NOT swarm cells.

    The position of the cells (as suggest by others) is only a clue as to what is the mechanism working here.

    Misplacement of a frame (during manipulation) with eggs/young larvae and associated somewhat with cooler weather (which would cause the workers to cluster in two location within the same box) can encourage the bees to produce 'superscedure' (in this case there is actually nothing wrong with the queen) cell.
     
  8. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    I actually went back in this hive today to see if perhaps I had missed the queen (I was back in the beeyard for some other stuff anyway, and I couldn't help myself).

    There was definitely no old queen nor uncapped brood, but I was lucky enough to see one of the queen cells hatching out! That was a first for me! I always thought the queen chewed open a little door on the end of her cell, but I saw several workers busily chewing away the side of the cell to release her. I didn't wait long enough to see her emerge completely (though I would have loved to), and just carefully put the frame back.

    Anyway, since I just installed those packages 1 month ago, that means that those queens were layed about a week after installation, right? No way they wanted to swarm at that time. I know I saw brood at weeks 1, 2, and 3, but there was no sign at all on this week 4 inspection. So what happened, and when did the old queen leave/kick the bucket/get balled?

    I'm still scratching my head about this one, but I'm happy that they raised a replacement. Hopefully she's more up to the job.

    -Dan

    btw- I'm pretty careful to put frames back where I found them, in the same direction; especially this early in a colony's life. I won't rule out that I could have rolled her, but I'm pretty sure I didn't stimulate a supercedure by mixing up the brood frames (though I'm interested to learn of that possibility).
     
  9. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I am not sure but I would think those bees chewing their way through the side of the queen cell are not interested in releasing her. :confused:
    I would think that perhaps they already have something in there that they have accepted and are going to eliminate this one. :(
    By going through the side of the cell, the bees are going to "release her" before it is her natural time.
    I could very easily be wrong and I will wait for those with more experience to chime in.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    again... what PerryBee said in post #9.

    dmagnitude writes:
    Anyway, since I just installed those packages 1 month ago, that means that those queens were layed about a week after installation, right?

    tecumseh:
    about 16 days prior to emerging. so the eggs were laid about 2+ weeks ago.

    ps... the bees will remove the wax from the very end of a maturing queen cell. removal of wax at the end of the cell seems to mean the cell will soon emerge.
     
  11. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Hmm, curious. If the workers were aborting that queen cell, I wonder why. I could see the queen inside wiggling around and she looked well beyond the pupae stage as far as I could tell. I'll have to keep an eye on this hive and see if I can tell which queen cell ends up hatching out the "proper" way.

    Perhaps it would be prudent to add a frame w/ eggs from another hive to help this one through the lag, and just in case none of the existing queen cells are up to snuff.

    -Dan
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Dan writes:
    Perhaps it would be prudent to add a frame w/ eggs from another hive to help this one through the lag, and just in case none of the existing queen cells are up to snuff.

    tecumseh:
    yes.

    if you in anyway suspect the queen cells might fail young larvae would be my choice and if the adult population was declining a frame of sealed brood.