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What next for the girls?


Good evening fellow bee enthusiasts! This is Martha from Brentwood TN. Today I ran an inspection and here is my current situation and what’s next?
I got my 5 frame nuke the last week in May. It filled to capacity an 8 frame. I added another brood box 2 weeks ago and it’s been filled with wax, brood, honey and a queen cell. I’m now at 98% capacity (just a little more comb needed for full frames) and wonder which direction to take now? My 4 beetle traps did not trap beetles and my bee beard had tripled. The bees are still taking syrup. Add a 3rd brood box or? I’m clueless! I had no idea bees could grow this large this fast and I’m feeling overwhelmed and excited as well. Any advice is welcome. :grinning::honeybee::eyes:


I suppose you mean you started with a nuc in May 2016? I think filling 2 brood boxes in a year is not much at all. Did you have a super on last year and did you get honey?
Why are you feeding?
Not knowing any history of your hive, that is the first advice I can think of.
And then put a super on, flow super if you have.
But first stop feeding. In May there must be something flowering where you are?


Sorry for mis-communicating. I started my hive March 2017


If mine was growing that fast I would not be feeding it. They seem to be going well enough on their ow. Overfeeding will stimulate swarming if you are not careful.



I totally agree with @Rmcpb, stop feeding them right now. That many bees bearding means they are overcrowded or overheating. I would get your Flow super on as soon as possible, if you haven’t already. If you have, are they using it?

P.S. With that many bees, you may want to consider a split. If you don’t, they may swarm anyway as Rob says.


Martha - the queen cell you found suggests (perhaps) a swarm is being prepared. Are you intending to try and catch it or are you going to split etc? That is quite a beard by the way. :fearful:


Yes, a wondrous beard you have there @Martha :smile:

I’ve got some queen cups in one of my hives too - I’m going back in today with another bee friend to check them out better because I may be in the same situation of needing to do a split before they swarm!

I’ll be eager to hear how your supering & possible splitting goes!


Well until my next bee club meeting is near I did remove my feeder and put the honey super on for more space for them and the girls are already exploring it. I am setting up another brood box/hive in case more adaptations are needed. My clover is in full boom so fingers crossed I’m on a good course until a more experienced person can check on my hive with me. Thank you every one for the discussion! Whoop I have BEE MANIA! :grinning::honeybee::honeybee::honeybee:


Additional information would be that the bees are already in the flowhive


I’ll have to split if necessary or remove the queen cell. I’m not sure of yet. My lack of knowledge causes me to hesitate. But I am ready with a nuke and frames or a new hive.


If you do that, and they wanted to swarm, your hive will just be left queenless (the old queen usually goes with the swarm). Better to put the queen cell frame into a nuc with a frame of brood and a frame or two of food, then at least you have a queen if they do swarm.


I think I’ll give that a try though I’m a little behind as I have all components for a hive but must build my frames. My bees are so full of drama! :grinning::honeybee::+1:


Make sure when you put the brood frame and honey frames in your nuke you shake in plenty of bees but not the queen. An easy way to di it is to put a new box with the frames but no bees on the hive but above a QE. The bees will move up to the brood but the queen cannot. Next day just take that box off onto another base and you have a new hive.



Martha, just wondering which part of the frame was the queen cell on?


Hey all - here’s my update from yesterday’s re-inspection on a similar theme to @Martha. @mbeeee I know you’re curious how it went too!

My friend Heidi, also a second year beek, joined me. This was great, but would have been totally excellent if her glasses came along too :nerd_face: But no complaints - this was the first time I had a companion to discuss findings with as I inspected, which was very helpful.

The hive with the three queen cups had torn down two and added another in a different spot. The two queen cups left were EMPTY :+1: (I had my glasses on) Also, the bees seemed a lot calmer than on Sunday. I suspect this had more to do with the lovely, warmer weather yesterday.

So we kept looking through this box for the queen of signs of her presence. Didn’t see her, and didn’t see any new eggs at first! Started to get concerned & then Heidi reminded me - that’s why you have two hives :sweat_smile:! As I took steps to transfer a frame of new eggs etc from my stronger hive, I kept thinking “why the heck would the bees tear down queen cells instead of filling them if there was really no queen?!” And decided to take another look for eggs/queen.

Still didn’t spot the queen, but after a more thorough look see I finally found brand new, same day eggs :rainbow::heart_eyes::princess:t4:

Phew!!! We closed everything up and I’m leaving them bee for a few more days/a week - strong hive will maybe need Flow super & slow hive will surely speed up with warm temps & great nectar flow, and be ready for second brood box soon.

When Heidi sends them to me I’ll post pics - she got some shots of the bees piling on an invading carpenter bee during inspection! Forgot my tea towels & had the box exposed while checking for eggs, not good :hushed:

Martha, how’s it going?


Thanks for the update, Eva. I was able to get into my hives very briefly this morning (wind has picked up, and weather is on the way), and made similar observations - a couple of queen cells had been taken down, and the remaining were still empty. Both colonies have begun to cover the second brood box I installed under the original, and still seem to be covering the first. I think I made the right decision in adding brood boxes (with honey stores and drawn brood comb) when I did.

I also didn’t see a queen in either box today, and my eyes have never been able to spot eggs, but I’m still seeing uncapped brood of various stages, so at day 12 since installation, I am pretty confident that the queens are still laying.

I am a bit concerned about the weather moving in. Because I had been worried about swarming, I stopped sugar feeding. But now I am worried (I sense a theme here) that the weather will keep them from flying for at least Thursday and Friday. I’m going to wing it, and assume that the at least 5-6 full frames of honey/pollen in each hive will carry them through till sunnier days.



That is a month or two of food for a smallish hive, so they will be absolutely fine.


You need to split your hive or half of your bees will swarm along with the queen. If you’re not prepared with another hive and on top of it when they swarm, they’ll fly away. Gone. To split the hive you need another colony set up and purchase a new queen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwGWN0AyoFg


Update on my hive as 2 days in a row my bees got a little crazy and I sprayed them down with sugar water and it calmed them. So I called a bee expert in commercial organic honey production and he came over and we went through my hive. He said I was doing a great job and asked me what I wanted to do and I said “what’s best for the bees”. We found 3 queen cells about to emerge on 3 frames, tons of brood and great health of the bees. I gave him the 3 frames and he said to call when my second hive is it together and he will bring back one of the queens or a new queen and some brood. How nice was that? He wants in return to see the flow hive deliver honey and suggested I keep my super on and assured me my bees currently have enough honey in the brood boxes to winter over in this area. This is why I believe in the American people! :grinning: I know it’s a little dramatic but I really do feel that way. Thanks forum for cluing me in to the signs about a hive split, swarm and queen cells. All the best! Sincerely, Martha the new bee keeper. :grinning::us::honeybee::+1::earth_americas:


There were 3 frames lower in the corner