Ok we did an inspection today and immediately noticed many queen cups- mostly on the frame faces. There was also drone cells at the bottoms of the frames and there were many drones visible in the hive. We saw the queen- but she scuttled away before I could get a picture of her. She looked well. There were many young bees and brood in all stages- also good stores of pollen and some honey. The weather this spring in Adelaide has been patchy- some very nice warm sunny days- but last week the biggest rainstorm in 50 years. There are many flowers around. We added the flow super about one month ago- the bees have cleaned up the flow frames and started filling the central frames with nectar though only a little so far. We also removed two frames of honey from the brood box and replaced them with new plastic frames at the edges of the box one month ago. The bees have managed to build up one face of each of these frames. The two outermost faces they haven’t touched at all. We flipped these around so hopefully they will fill them out.
Anyhow: to the matter at hand- queen cups! We saw at least half a dozen of them scattered over the central frames. I wrongly assumed they were all empty- but now realise I should ave looked closer to see if I could see any eggs in the base of them. I got some good pictures but don’t think you can see enough into the cells to see what is going on:
Is the hive about to swarm? Are these supercedure cells? I am annoyed I assumed they were empty and that queens had already hatched from them. I wish I had taken a photo right inside of one but looking at my images even if I zoom right in I can’t quite see if there is anything in them- though it does look maybe there is a milky pool of royal jelly in the cup pictured immediately above?
We haven’t seen these queen cups before in this hive- and have never seen so many drones. It is peak swarm season… All the frames were covered in bees- and the flow super was also full of bees- and many must have been out foraging as we inspected around 2pm and it was a very nice sunny day.
This hive has only one brood box and the flow super- I was hoping to make a split if possible as I am starting up numerous new hives so this could be a good opportunity? I would be very happy to get any advice about what is happening and a possible course of action? Is this an urgent situation?
here’s one more pic of a frame of brood: