Spring Swarm Cell Checks

Spring is the time of year when the worker bees decide how their living conditions are suiting their needs, and if they're becoming too crowded and need to divide the colony in half and find a new place to live.

That's why last weekend I placed two extra supers onto the hive to give them room to expand into and reduce some congestion. I'm also planning to split this hive to re-establish the white hive in two weeks when my new queen arrives.

I was hoping that when I looked in on the hive this weekend, I wouldn't see many, if any, queen cells being built for swarm purposes.

When I took off the cover, I noticed a few big black ants walking around the edge of the inner cover. None of them were in the hive, they might have been using the telescoping cover for shelter during the night.

A moment or two later, a few guard bees came out and removed the ants. By the time I switched my camera into video mode, all the ants were "taken care of" and gone.

The top white super was pure wax foundation, of which they have not drawn out yet.

Below you can see the blue medium super I used last summer.

Just for fun I pulled a frame found they've filled it about 50%.

They haven't begun to cap any of the cells, but you should be able to make out how the center of the frame is a little darker (filled) and the two outer edges on either side are lighter color (not filled yet).

I pulled several more frames in this super, and they were all about 50% filled. This blue super is the only one I have of already drawn foundation...hopefully they'll draw out and use the wax foundation super soon too.

I think during the next inspection I'll rotate the two supers, placing the wax foundation one below the drawn out super. Maybe it will encourage them to draw it out and use it.

Setting the supers to the side, I lifted the top and bottom brood boxes up on their ends to look for queen cells. Below is what I saw looking at the bottoms of the frames.

Lots of burr comb, some drone cells and queen cups.

I counted between 12-15 queen cups between both brood boxes, none of which had any eggs in them, and looking between the frames, I could not see any active queen cells yet.

I removed the queen cups and closed them back up. I'll check them again in a week to see how they're doing.

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