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Supercedure cells during swarm season

Hi all,

I’ve just checked my hive and found about 8 supercedure cells on the face of various frames through ones of my hives. These were not present when I checked two weeks ago. We’ve had a fair bit of rainy weather here in Perth so it has impeded inspections.

Most of the cells were empty but a couple looked to have eggs (not sure as I am notoriously bad at finding eggs). Marked queen was sighted and plenty of brood in various stages. Still lots of room for laying in the brood box and the flow super is about 60% full of uncapped nectar.

This queen is old as she was part of a prime swarm I caught last year. She’s been a pretty good layer though and the hive is thriving, though I was planning to replace her with a purchased queen when they became available later this year.

Just wondering if I should be more concerned with swarming now? No swarm cells were found but I’ve had a read through of some other threads and come away even more confused than when I started!

**Added edit: Lots of drones in the hives, much more than at last inspection. Drone brood covers a couple frames in the hive.

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Hi Anna, sounds like your hive is preparing to swarm. They could be superseding your queen, but given the current season and what you have described, my bet is your hive is in swarm mode.

Given the stage you have found the colony, a pre-emptive split may not be guarantee they stay put. You will need to perform an artificial swarm (ie trick the colony into thinking they have swarmed).

Here is a good resource:

Which part of Perth are you in? NOR of SOR?

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I’m NOR. I’ve got a nuc box I can use, just didn’t think I’d need it just yet!

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It is very unreliable to try to classify queen cells as either swarm cells or supercedure cells based on their positions on the frame.

Although still unreliable, the number of cells and the time of year are better guides.

For me 8 cells, in fact anything more than two, is swarm preparations.