I can’t tell if the bees are trying to do a late swarm or if they are trying to supersede their current queen, but I’m hoping Simeon can help me here!
This hive is a deep box and two supers, no queen excluder. Yesterday I went in and there are a lot of bees in the deep box. The top super is basically empty, and the middle super is about 30% full of bees with open and capped brood, and has one swarm cell with a large larva inside. That box is about 50% drawn out with comb… In the deep brood box, I found 11 queen cells on 3 frames, of which 8 were capped, the other 3 have larvae inside. They are not necessarily at the bottom of the frames, some are in the middle of the frames and some at the bottom of the comb where the nees stopped building on the foundation. I heard piping coming from the front right corner when I got into the brood box, and the bees seemed to run towards the sound. I found the queen on the other side of the hive and saw her lay an egg. The interesting part though is that the bees seemed to be keeping her corralled, as in they didn’t get out of her way as she walked, and they were actually walking on top of her. She was moving very slowly. She is also really small! She’s not much bigger than the other bees. she came that way when I got the nuc this spring, but she has been producing a lovely brood pattern and there are ample bees in this hive. I can’t figure out what they are doing (planning to swarm vs replacing current queen), and what I should do (make a split vs let them sort it out). I’m hoping to have someone come look at this colony ASAP within the next few days so I can sort this out if they are preparing to swarm.
Thank you so much!!