Supersedure is the process by which an old queen bee is replaced by a new queen. Supersedure may be initiated due to old age of a queen or a diseased or failing queen. As the queen ages her pheronome output diminishes. Those cells are built in the middle or upper part of the frame.
Swarm cells are built prior to colony swarming, enough food, capped and uncapped brood with attending nurse bees are left to ensure that colony develops in full size again. These cells are located at the bottom of the frame.
Swarm cells are made during a time of plenty, superceedure cells are often made when times are not optimal but the colony believes the old queen is failing or about to fail, and respond in a emergency mode to save the colony. Swarm cells are the way honeybees reproduce new colonies, superceedure cells are a matter of necessity for colony survival. Both are queen cells, many believe the queens from swarm cells are better queens because of the better conditions when they were made.
Great thanks for all the info... I cant wait for my first hive...lol (Late April) I didnt know I had to order in Jan...lol so I almost got shut out.. But from what I was told The late april Nuc should be about the same if i started with a late march package..
and the difference is??? well neither I nor you can distinguish the end products, one from the other.
I think for a lot of new bee keeper this just has to be one of the most confusing details of bee keeping. often time meaning a new beekeeper see a swarm cell and thinks superscedure primarily due to the cells location. location by itself may give you a 'clue' to what is going on but location of and by itself does not ABSOLUTELY inform you of the underlying cause.
some improper or misinformed manipulations by beekeeper can produce superscedure cells that are really more like emergency cells < these two causes generally listed in most all queen rearing books as to why a hive rears a new queen are really quite similar.
An emergency cell may (because of the emergency, like you having killed the queen) be made from an older larva and therfore could have been raised toward queenhood for a less than optimum time.
Such a queen might be inferior. However, both swarm cells and supercedure cells start from the beginning in preparation for raising a queen and should be of equal quality.
Again, there is a line of thinking that superceedure queens, are reared in response to something cataclysmic happening to the colony, i.e. losing the queen. Conditions for queen rearing may not be optimal, and aged larvae may be the only thing available to rear from. Swarm Queens are the result of excess---excess brood rearing, creating crowding, excess nectar gathering crowding the brood chambers further with stored honey. Queens are voluntarily reared, not being forced to.
Another difference is that in any type of emergency queen cell (supercedure or otherwise) the queen cell is developed after the queen laid an egg in it. When they are preparing to swarm, they start the queen cell first and she lays an egg in the queen cell.
As far as the idea that emergency cells produce inferior queens because the bees use old larvae,, please read this:
[h=3]Jay Smith, from Better Queens[/h]
"It has been stated by a number of beekeepers who should know better (including myself) that the bees are in such a hurry to rear a queen that they choose larvae too old for best results. later observation has shown the fallacy of this statement and has convinced me that bees do the very best that can be done under existing circumstances.
"The inferior queens caused by using the emergency method is because the bees cannot tear down the tough cells in the old combs lined with cocoons. The result is that the bees fill the worker cells with bee milk floating the larvae out the opening of the cells, then they build a little queen cell pointing downward. The larvae cannot eat the bee milk back in the bottom of the cells with the result that they are not well fed. However, if the colony is strong in bees, are well fed and have new combs, they can rear the best of queens. And please note-- they will never make such a blunder as choosing larvae too old."--Jay Smith
I willingly accept Jay Smith's statement and accept the liklihood that I could be wrong. I wish, however, that he had backed himself up by pointing to the results of experiments. I confess that I have nothing more than the literature I have read stating otherwise. My information could be out of date because experiments have disproved it. :dontknow:
Science moves forward not by hypotheses but by the results of experiments that prove or disprove them. :rules:
It was probably untested hypotheses that started the cycle of repetition in the literature that bees might use old larvae and produce inferior queens.
Bees do not prefer too old larvae. As a matter of fact bees do not use such poor judgment as to select larvae too old when larvae sufficiently young are present, as I have proven by direct experiment and many observations."--Fifty Years Among the Bees, C.C. Miller
I am inclined to believe the concept that older larvae are not used, as even with the sudden death of the queen, thousands of suitably young larvae would be available, it's the larvae's inability to get fully fed that makes sense and would result in a inferior queen as fully fed or not--16 days later she would emerge.
Looks like this was a hot topic I dug up from last month. I checked my hives today and found several queen cells on a couple of frames of one of my first two hives (packages hived on April 3rd). This hive had more bees but a small queen when I had my first inspections some days ago. The hive with the smaller population had a more robust queen at that time. Currently, neither hive has drawn more than half of a new foundation other than the four old drawn ones in each hive. However, the hive with the nicer queen had nice tight oval patterns and she was busy moving around the cells. The hive with queen cells did not have tight capped brood cells. Mainly I saw a little capped and uncapped honey at the top of the frames. But, there were over ten queen cells on a couple of frames all located in our around the center line. There were none on the bottom. I did not see the queen but there were several workers and it was difficult to see everywhere. I read the following link randomly found on the net http://www.wbka.com/pdf/a012queencells.pdf and thought, hmmm, maybe I have supersedure cells and I should let them do their thing. But I read some comments on this thread and found myself unsure again. I am so glad I have more than one hive to learn what is normal and not so normal. I am also glad in a way this is happening because this is where my real learning is going to start taking root. Any suggestions or advice considering what I have described as happening in this hive?
They are supercedure cells and should be left alone. Also, do your playing in the other hive for the next 3 weeks. Then check the new queen. A hive replacing their queen should be left alone as much as possible.
Blueblood, I 2nd Iddeeâ€™s opinion, leave the cellsâ€™ beeâ€™. My 1 cent is let the bees decide whether to supercede or not. You may find that these cells or some have disappeared on your next inspection, and maybe not. You may just have a â€˜slow starterâ€™ for a queen from these packages.
Foundation: These bees are packages hived April 3[SUP]rd[/SUP]. Are you feeding light syrup? Light syrup will get them to draw foundation, but with packages this will take time because the colony doesnâ€™t have the work force needed, compared to an established, busting hive that can draw foundation within a week or two, and if you have a â€˜slow startâ€™ queen not laying well, this will take longer until she she starts laying. As the colony builds they will draw the foundation, and when a nectar flow kicks in, more foundation will be drawn. Feed syrup until the foundation is drawn, or they stop taking it. It takes 21 days for new bees to be born after the queen has laid an egg, if a queen from a package is a â€˜slow starterâ€™, (it does happen), give her a bit of time or as was said, let the bees decide, you may have a better queen than you started out with, unless you choose to requeen. Hope I made sense?!
Apparently your one hive of girls building supercedure cells doesnâ€™t quite agree with the queenâ€™s performance, they are ready to go and she is not:lol:
Yes, have top feeders on both of my packaged bee hives. They don't seem to drink it very fast though. I haven't had to refill since hive day. I was advised to take the inner cover off while using the top feeder...maybe I should do that to allow more bees to get up there better?
And yes, you did make sense. She was the smaller of the two hives. Consequently, the larger queen is doing better....
I will do that after work today. I think you were the one that suggested I do that when I hived them. One last thought on allowing the hive to naturally requeen. I reviewed "beekeeping for dummies" and my Indiana beekeeping asoc. Book and both advise against allowing this citing bad stock and/or inferiority. Both material does appear outdated. Newer literature seems to support it.