A Requeening Gone Bad


I added a caged mated queen to three splits last weekend. I checked on them today and found supersedure cells in all three hives. Here’s a sample (if you click the image to enlarge it, you can easily see the larvae swimming in royal jelly):

Supercedure cells in a recently requeen colony (July 18, 2015).

Supersedure cells in a recently requeened colony (July 18, 2015).

Here’s what I found in…

Split #1: The new queen DEAD inside her opened cage and several capped supersedure cells.
Split #2: The new queen alive and one supersedure cell full of royal jelly.
Split #3: The new queen M.I.A. (possibly dead) and several capped supersedure cells.

I have video of the whole bloody affair which I might post once I’ve determined what happened and what I’m going to do next. I’ll provide more details at that time, but feel free to speculate while I pour myself a drink…

P.S.: I say supersedure cell, but I suppose the more accurate term is “emergency queen cell.” Supersedure cells are created when the queen is failing but not yet dead, whereas emergency queen cells are created when the queen is suddenly dead. I think. Maybe. The difference seems so minimal to me, I always say supersedure. Furthermore, the presence of swarm cells means the bees are going to fly away, but presence of supersedure cells means they’re simply replacing a failing or dead queen. That’s how I sort it all out anyway.

JULY 23/15: I did a quick inspection of Split #2 and found a few frames of fresh eggs. Woo-hoo! The supersedure cell full of royal jelly is gone too. Way to go bees! All of this will be revealed in detail with a video and photos that are in the works.

AUGUST 05/15: Continued in Bees Returning With Pollen.

2 thoughts on “A Requeening Gone Bad

  1. Was the idea of adding a bought-in queen to speed up having a laying queen in there? Perhaps they are rebelling and want to raise a queen related to them. Bummer. What to do next… leave them to finish it off?

  2. Yup, the mated queens were brought in to get new colonies started with queens laying as soon as possible. If I did a walk-away split and waited for queens to emerge, then mate and start laying, it could be another month before there was any new brood. The subsequent colonies would likely never fill two deeps before winter set in. Not good.

    As it turns out, I created a walk-away split in at least one deep. A quick inspection in a few days will reveal what’s happening in the other two.

    I’ve created new colonies from splits in this manner several times over the past five years. This is the first time it didn’t work out.

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