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Swarm Cells in Culpeper, Va?



Any more info? I don’t remember your hive details. One brood box? All frames fully drawn and filled? Queen present?

Those certainly look like swarm cells, but with the lack of other knowledge, I would refer you to my usual link…



All cells were full, placed a second box above brood box 3 weeks ago, last week had all cross comb on top brood box, and queen cells, removed cross comb and queen cells and placed top box on bottomboard below full brood box a week ago today. Most brood cells are empty and nothing at all on the lower brood box now.


Hi @ddiesman, if that was my hive, I would break the queen cells down, cut all the drone comb out of those frames & place them above the queen excluder, keeping the remaining worker brood next to each other, bunched up in the middle. I would replace those frames with frames containing wax foundation in a checkerboard fashion. Then I would take a look in a weeks time.

Normally I would split a hive that presents with queen cells but I don’t think your hive is strong enough to split.

I would think about a split if the bees continue to build QCs.

If SHBs are in your area, those large areas of drone comb are a magnet for SHBs to lay eggs in. Especially as the drones start hatching, because the drones do nothing to stop the beetles from laying eggs in the unhatched drones.


In my opinion, leave the cells. Once they are capped, they are hell bent on swarming and they’ll do it with or without a queen cell at this point.

If you have an empty hive ready, you could find the original queen if she’s still there, and place her and 2-3 frames of resources in that box. That might fool them into thinking they’ve swarmed.

All of my hives have swarmed this year and it’s still going to be a record year for honey.

This hive issued one of the biggest swarms I’ve ever seen. It filled 3 deeps (it’s behind the split rail fence), drew out all the wax and has over 80 lbs of honey stored since May 9th and I had to add a super yesterday. This hive is 3 brood boxes deep (3rd box is in the high grass). Swarming is not such a bad thing :slight_smile:

This is the swarm it cast on May 9th:
2 new photos · Album by Ed Ridgeway


Ed - What did you use in the empty hive to lure the swarm in? The bees behaved like the queen was already in the brood boxes. Thank you, nice video!


I had one frame of old comb in the hive. Once I supplied a bridge to the hive, it’s just irresistible to them. Probably didn’t need the old comb, they are desperate for a dark cavity that meets their size and entrance requirements.

I actually spotted 2 queens in this swarm but there were probably more. They settled things amongst themselves quite nicely though.


Deleted by the master of deletion


Hey there Culpeper! Stafford here.


Well hello Stafford neighbor! How are your bees? How long have you been buzzing? Hee hee!


We started in March!

We have 2 8 frame hives going well and a couple 5 frame hives one of which is struggling to get going.


We started in March with 2 8 frames and then got another 8 frame in April. These are amazing creatures and I am loving every minute of it. I have learned so much in 2 months!


Did you take Jerry’s class in Remington?

Is there a local club in Culpeper? I joined the Rappahannock club in a Fredericksburg.

Have you joined the Virginia Beekeeping group on Facebook?

I really want to try a couple top bars as well, and maybe a long Langstroth.


I did not take Jerrys class, did one elsewhere, however Jerry is my supplier and is very knowledgeable and helpful. Just saw him yesterday, to help me with what to do now since I have swarm cells.

I just now joined the FB page you recommended, I took a sabbatical from FB for several months. Will be great to have a local group to network with.

Culpeper proper does not have a bee group, I can go to the one in Orange or one that meets in Remington once my schedule allows.


Maybe we’ll run across each other at Remington some time. I intend to take his second year course this winter.