I think my new hive wants to swarm

Hi, I’m new to both the forum and bee keeping.

We got our first hive and nuc approx 6 weeks ago. There were 5 frames and a queen in an 8-frame hive. We put an additional 2 foundation frames (with wax coating) and a frame feeder ont he outer sides of the hive. On advice of the person we purchased the Nuc from, we have fed a sugar/water mix every 2 weeks (so 3 feeds). We were planning on stopping this at the last feeding. While a small amount of bees are on the new frames the have only just started working on one frame showing very early stages of creating new cells.

On the weekend we saw two queen cells - one in the middle of the frame and one at the bottom of the neighboring frame. There has been a lot of bearding but we have been having hot and humid weather (we rarely get high humidity on central Vic). The hive receives afternoon shade but they are still out of the hive at dusk and quite active flying short distances. At first I thought it was training flights but now I am not so sure.

Being the novice, I still have not located the queen yet. I didn’t notice any eggs at last inspection but saw numerous very small grubs.

We have a new brood box ready to put on, but the original is not yet full so not over-crowded.

Finally, I heard it was the wrong time of year to swarm ??

Any suggestions? Thank you.

It sounds like early days, really the only indicator of a swarm is going to be finding queen cells you said you saw two, was one of these queen cells hanging off the very edge? The one in the middle likely a supercedure cell, the one at the bottom is probably another spare if it was only these two. For a queen to hatch takes around 16 days, where the cells capped off already?

Very small grubs is a great sign if you were not able to spot eggs.

See if you can spot eggs on the next inspection, as the queen cells might be emergency cells created from some of the old queens last eggs if she perished, so I would not be inclined to remove them

A swarm will all leave in one go, you will certainly know about it when it happens, it sounds like they are exploring with orientation flights and looking for some forage. If you have a light on in sight of the hive this will create some activity with the bees flying towards the light.

It would be an out of season swarm if they did but it can still happen, bees can be unpredictable and although a new colony is unlikely to swarm, It could be the case if they were a nuc created from a split to prevent an expected swarm in the original colony.

Can you post pictures?

Thanks so much for the reply, Kieran. I will take some pictures. They were both uncapped as of last Saturday. the bottom cell was at the bottom but not hanging down from the edge if I recall correctly. No lights around to distract them. They were purchased approx 75km away - interesting point about nuc being created from an original split.

Seems to be some reduced activity but this could be due to a lot of reasons including temperature. I think there is a fair bit around to forage on and they seem to be coming back with a lot of pollen.

Thanks again for such an informative response.

I had a look in the hive on Friday and could NOT find the two queen cells!!?? I looked at the bottom of the hive to see if I had knocked them off when I put the frame back the first time I saw it but no evidence. The been have been filling out/building frame #6 quite nicely since looking a week previously.

So what could have happened to these 2 queen cells? My husband saw them too so I’m pretty sure I didn’t imagine them! We did notice a bump in the cells and wonder if they are creating a new queen cell. I will post pics shortly.

Happy to say we saw eggs this time too as well as more very small grubs

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Maybe it was a split and the new queen that hatched killed the queens inside the cells and the bees were removing these rather then building them. Or the may have been naturally requeening if she was an old queen.

If you saw eggs and grubs that is great!

Look forward to seeing pictures.