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Patrick Rose

October Queen Cells

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Patrick Rose

I was doing a hive inspection today and I found a sealed queen cell. I saw the queen today and some uncapped brood as well. Am I in trouble for the winter? 

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Bob Ragsdale

Certainly a capped queen cell is not something that you want to find at this time of year. I have two colonies that swarmed about 4 weeks ago. One has requeened, the other, it isn't clear but I think they haven't. I am concerned about the second.

At this time of year if it were my colony I would want to take action to prevent swarming or the change of a queen. To have a queen get successfully mated this late in the season is very iffy. If I spotted a capped queen cell and the old queen, I would cage the existing queen and then cull the queen cell(s). After a week I would check to ensure the colony hadn't started a new queen cell. If they had not, I would release the queen, if they had, I would keep her caged and wait another week. If I couldn't find the queen to cage her, I would let nature take it's course and not cull the queen cell(s).

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Frank

How heavily were you feeding this colony?  Have you stimulated the colony to produce the queen cell or is this the colony detecting the existing queen is exhausted?  I agree with Bob's critique above but is this colony still producing brood?  Either path, this colony will deserve special attention over winter into Spring.  The queen may die over the winter or be prepared to do a combine or early spring queen cells and swarm early early.

Edited by Frank

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