Sunday, June 28, 2015

again, I think they're going to swarm soon

A couple weeks ago, I was very worried because I thought my bees were about to swarm and had foul brood. After lots of advice, it turns out I had seen a row of drone cells and a few uncapped queen cups. I had also noticed that the bees were beginning to store food in old brood frames, which surprised me and I thought there was something wrong like foul brood or other nasty disease. My beekeeper friends probably got tired of reassuring me that my hives were OK. And, as one pointed out, foul brood and swarming are two complete opposites: An overly healthy hive and a sick one.

But at my last inspection yesterday, I am again concerned one of my hives will swarm. But it's the other one this time. My green hive has:
- about 20-25 capped queen cells located at the centers of frames
- packed full with built out frames all the way to the edges, 50:50, food:brood
- no action on the honey super that I put on about 2 weeks ago

I didn't inspect the lower brood box because I worried I wouldn't have been able to pick the top one up off the ground and get it back into place (I'll get a bench).

For comparison, my other hive (the white hive) has:
- no queen cells (This hive had 2 or 3 uncapped queen cups 3 weeks ago. They disappeared.)
- some action in the honey super (though only a little), about half a frame is built out
- a little extra space at the outsides of frames

From reading a bit, it seems my bees need more space. If the green hive has decided to swarm, it will be too late for any thing I can do. (Maybe its a supercedure, since queen cells are located in centers of frames, but there are SO many of them.) For both hives, I will try
- making and adding a couple follower boards for each hive so bees will have space to hang out at the edges
- adding a slatted bottom rack

And I'll buy an extra brood box in case I want to split a hive or catch a swarm.


  1. Lots of queen cells in the center, yeah sounds like they are going to replace here if she isn't dead already (perhaps during an inspection she got squished? I did that my first year). Also packages are known for superceding the queen usually due to the poor mating flights that early queens are known to get.

  2. I didn't realize there would be so many queen cells i a supercedure. There may not have been any eggs in the hive, I couldn't check very well. I did not see the queen. I did see small larvae, though not many.

    I hate squishing bees but it happens so often! between frames, between racks.

    1. You do the rocking motion when returning frames? Slowly back and forth so the girls move out of the way. Cuts down on squishing them. Now I only squish 1-5 on a full inspection and only at the end of the inspection.

  3. Yes, its mostly putting the boxes back together that squishes them. I'll work on the rocking motion for frames. Usually I'm trying to hurry as it takes a long time for me to do a full inspection. Does it take you a couple hours? Pulling out the sticky frames and getting a hold of them takes time. And my smoker keeps going out. Arggh. I think I need to take a course in starting a smoker! I think there are UTube videos I should watch.