I inspected one of my colonies on Saturday late afternoon and found a number of queen cells – 2 sealed, 4 unsealed and 5 with eggs in them. The queen cells had been raised in the 5 day period since my last inspection. The queen was still present and there were 3 frames of brood with quite a few eggs. A bit of a surprise as this was a nucleus colony set up a few weeks ago when the parent colony showed signs of swarming. I had hoped that by setting up a nuc with the old queen they would stop wanting to swarm. The queen is 2 years old, but the number of queen cells doesn’t indicate it would be a supersedure process.
With the queen still present and being unprepared I decided to leave for a day and go back in on Sunday to take out the queen and bank her.
Well the bees decided not to wait and had tried to swarm. The front of the hive was covered with bees and quite a few were on the floor. But fortunately for me I now clip all my queens and so the swarm was without a flying queen and didn’t take off. The clipped queen was on the floor surrounded by a few bees, so I picked her up and put into a Butler cage and banked her on top of one of the other colonies.
The bees gave up on the swarming activity, well at least for now, and within half an hour had gone back into the hive.
I will need to go back in a couple of days and reduce to just one queen cell.