Phoenix Changes Mind About Supersedure

Last week when I checked on the Phoenix hive, they produced 3 supersedure queen cells and filled the cells with bee and royal jelly.

I decided not to interfere, figuring the bees knew best.

I just wanted to peek on them today, and see if the queen cells were capped, so I'd have a good idea on when to expect them to hatch.

I pulled the frame with the supersedure cells from last week only to find they had all been torn down.

In the picture above, you can see the largest queen cell in the upper right has been emptied, and is being dismantled. In the lower left corner, you can see the two queen cells side by side have also been cleaned out and dismantled.

I saw the queen in this hive today, so I know she's still there and alive.

Here's what I think happened...tell me if you think this is a plausible explanation or if you think I'm just crazy.

Over the past two weeks I've given the Phoenix hive a frame of bees/brood from the Blue/Purple hive to help strengthen it. Then I gave the Phoenix hive two frames from the PW hive, to hopefully (but apparently not) reduce their desire to swarm.

The Phoenix frame I saw 3 supersedure cells on were from one of the donor hives.

I'm thinking the nurse bees on the donated frames couldn't detect their old queen's pheromones any longer, or didn't like the queen in the Phoenix hive or couldn't detect her yet and built replacement cells. Then, after a few days of being in the Phoenix hive, they realized they already had a sufficient queen, and aborted their supersedure cells.

That's what I'm thinking anyway!

After having received a couple of donated frames to strengthen them, they're finally taking syrup, and fast too. They were finally ready for their second brood box, which I happily gave to them. Hopefully with all the syrup their wax glands are ready to draw out the top brood box and further expand their hive.

Above is a picture of how I left them, with their hive-top feeder in place, and a new deep brood box ready for them to draw out and use.

Comments For This Post: (2) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Mortimer Bondurant says...
Date:   June 7, 2012, 10:05 pm

Plausible, indeed.  But here's what's got me perplexed.  You've already had one spring honey harvest and the picture shows an additional five supers.  So, why do you need to supply the center hive with syrup?


Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   June 8, 2012, 9:58 am


Great question, and one I've actually been pondering myself as it seems until recently, the ants were the primary benificiary of the syrup!


This split had seemed doomed from the beginning. When I made the split two months ago I gave them syrup so they'd have resources needed to get going until the natural nectar flow started.


For two months, they never took any suryp, never brought in any natural nectar on their own, and remained the original 4 frames of bees from the split and never expanded. I hardly ever saw more than 1 or 2 bees leave/return to the hive.


Looking back now, I believe they were too weak (too small of a split) for them to be productive.

I've left the syrup on them, simply because I didn't know quite what else to do with them.


I needed them to draw out both brood boxes, currently just foundation, and if they ever decided to draw wax,  I didn't want the luls in nectar flow to cause them to stop. Once they stop, it's hard to get them going again.


I'm hoping now that they have a few extra frames of bees, decided not to supersede and are taking sugar, they'll (finally) draw out their frames and I can remove the syrup and they'll forage for their own natural nectar.

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