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Is My Hive About to Swarm?


I picked up and installed my first ever nuc two weeks ago.

Today was my second hive inspection.

The good news. I spotted the queen!

In other news. I spotted what I think may be signs of an impending swarm.

Do these look like swarm cells to you?


From your pictures, it doesn’t look too full or out of space.

Did those cups have larvae or jelly in them? They are probably just “play cups” if they’re empty.

Do you know if they were there when you transferred the frames? Or at your last inspection?

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I can see a queen cup in the second photo, I wouldn’t be concerned about that one. It wouldn’t warrant me looking inside it. However I’d look inside the two, possibly three queen cups in the 3rd photo because they are made with fresh wax & extended down a bit. They might be fresh queen cups, which bees build all the time, while they have no intention of swarming at that time.

To give a simple answer: if I have any concerns about extended queen cups, I always look in for eggs, larvae or even a wet substance that I think bees place in there to encourage the queen to lay.

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Just checked my photos from the first inspection on May 15th and I am certain that this is the same frame.

Going back to May 9th when it all began and there they are!

I’m going to check them tomorrow to see if there is anything in them. I have been advised to carefully remove them if empty and keep an eye out for further such activity.

I will also be adding a second deep.

All went well.
Second deep added.
Queen cups removed.
Spotted a drone hatching out.
A good result.

Fingers crossed for next weeks inspection.

There’s not much use tearing those queen cups down. The bees will only build them again.

After nearly 30 years of saying “bees hatch”, I discovered since being on this forum that eggs hatch & bees emerge. I’ve developed the habit of saying “bees, queens & drones emerge”.