Outyard Queen: Time for a replacement?

This week my dad is out of town, so I checked on the bees at our outyard solo.

We figured they needed more sugar syrup to help the new packages draw out their frames, so I took two gallons of syrup along with me.

The first hive was doing well. I pulled the first frame half way out of the hive and saw the marked queen on it. I was able to spot brood in multiple stages easily, so I lowered the frame back into the hive and closed them up.

The second hive was really well populated. The first frame in the top box that I pulled I saw two supercedure cells half way up the frame. I moved the frame into the sunlight and saw an egg and royal jelly in each of the supercedure cells.

I put the frame aside and looked through the rest of the top box, finding no more eggs or brood in any stages anywhere.

I started looking in the bottom box, and only found 1 frame  with eggs and larva. The other 9 frames in the bottom box were either filled with pollen and nectar or left empty by the bees hoping their queen would lay eggs in them.

The picture above is for my notes of where I saw the supercedure cells. The top box, fame #5 from the right (marked with a "12" in black sharpie marker designating that as a frame we put into rotation back in 2012) had 2 supercedure cells on it. The bottom box, frame #6 from the right had a single supercedure cell on it.

The queen in this hive was laying, just not very well, and the bees know it.

On the very last frame that I pulled, I found the queen and was able to get her marked. She's large and beautiful looking, but may not be this hive's queen for much longer, if the supercedure queens are able to mature and take over.

After I marked her, I closed the hive back up careful not to damage the supercedure cells and gave both hives more sugar syrup.

Comments For This Post: (2) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Holly says...
Date:   May 24, 2014, 7:16 pm

I am always amazed when the workers know that the queen needs replacing.  It's such a relief to see this so the beekeeper doesn't have to figure out what to do.  The workers know what to do and choose a new heir.  Whew!  What a relief!  I'm anxious to hear what happens when the new queen emerges.  Will she fight to the death or will the queens coexist?

Anonymous says...
Date:   June 2, 2014, 8:06 am

Pull her out now and put her in a nuc as an emergency backup.

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