Phoenix Hive...Daughters Know Best?

The Phoenix hive was one of 2 splits I made from the Blue/Purple hive earlier this spring.

It has had bad luck from the beginning, going queen-less almost immediately, raising their own replacement, and now that she's there and laying (although very slow) the girls have decided to replace her.

While pulling frames, I noticed one of the frames had 3 queen cells on it, filled with royal jelly and a c-shaped larva. The cells were just a few days away from being capped.

They're a little hard to spot in the picture above, so below is a closer shot and circled in purple. The bottom one has two cells side-by-side.

I set this frame aside and finished looking at the other frames, wondering what I should do.

I did see the queen, she looked big and healthy.

The Phoenix hive has had plenty of time to get themselves going, draw their second brood box of frames, etc, etc etc. The problem is that they've been weak from the get go. They've only drawn out 8 of their lower brood box frames, have taken almost no sugar in the past two months.

In stark contrast, the other split I made from the same parent hive has finished drawing out their second brood box, and now has a super on them.

I decided to leave this frame with queen cells on it, and see what happens. I marked it with 3 dots using my Sharpie marker so I could remember easily which frame they're on. The cells are not low hanging ones, and the conditions aren't right for them to be swarm cells, I think they're genuine supersedure cells.

I'm going to leave these guys alone for another week or two and see what happens. After all, I've heard Tom Seeley say the queen in the hive isn't a "ruler" in the way we think of a human queen. Instead, in most cases, the queen is simply the mother of the hive, and the daughters make most of the decisions. I suppose this is another case of daughter's know best.

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