Bought a hive four days ago that now has several capped Queen cells. We made a decision to let whatever happens happen but if someone has a better idea we’d like to know.
We bought our first hive four days ago — a complete hive in a single 10-frame deep. One of us is brand new; one of us kept a couple of hives for about 3-4 years a decade ago.
They’re very active and very gentle. They’ve looked great from the outside. We went in for a first look today and found the following:
About four fully built-out frames with plenty of honey, a good deal of brood in all stages from early larva to capped, (not a whole lot of capped) and some pollen.
One of these frames was filling with honey but none of that capped. None of the pollen cells were full.
A lot of recent early work on the other 6 frames but nothing capped.
Lots of workers — they nearly filled the hive and of course at 2pm on a sunny day there were lots out working. A small but reasonable number of drones.
We couldn’t see any eggs but we’re not used to looking at black plastic foundation and it’s possible there were some. I couldn’t swear that the youngest brood I saw was hatched in the last day or two.
We didn’t see the Queen (unmarked) but I was never good at finding queens.
A large number of Queen cells, maybe 7-8, most of them capped located on all three frames with brood. A couple of them looked like a case could be made that they were supersedure cells, but many were obviously swarm cells. They were on the sides or hanging from the bottom of the frame
We thought of splitting them but there just wasn’t enough in the way of brood and food to do that, especially not knowing for sure that the hive is queenright.
We decided to close the hive back up. We put on a Queen excluder and a top box with unbuilt foundation and intend to wait it out. I think there are probably enough bees at this point to withstand swarming this early in the season, and if there’s no Queen we have a little bonus in the interruption of the varroa cycle.
We’d like to know if anyone has any thoughts on a better idea? We’re not interested in this point in talking about the purchasing process or the seller. I tend to think in terms of solutions.
Thanks for reading the long explanation. Your thoughts would be welcome!