Swarm Cell Surplus

It’s been a week since I called the hive supply guy, and also since I checked the bees. We’ve had wind and rain for the last few days, but there was a break in the clouds today that gave me an opportunity to check the bees (even if it was still blustery and rather cold).
There are hundreds of drones in the hive. More than I’ve ever seen. The lower box was FULL of them, though the top box was where most of the drone cells were. There were also lots of swarm cells. LOTS. I stopped counting after 14. There were 3 or 4 each on the bottoms of four of the frames, and several more scattered about. I found the queen and she’s still her usual large self, and there was about a frame of fresh eggs, so they won’t be swarming tomorrow at the very least.

I immediately called the supply guy to ask, again, when my hive would be here. He was on his way to his supplier and would hopefully be getting things today. He said my hive could be here either tomorrow or Tuesday, depending on what was happening with his supplier. He also told me to call him later in the day to find out what was going on, so I’ll be calling him in about an hour.

There was an almost empty frame on the edge of the bottom box, so I moved that into the center to provide more laying space for the queen. Even if it’s relatively small and won’t deter swarming at this point. The abundance of swarm cells was alarming, not only because of their number but because eggs were being laid right next to them. All of the swarm cells were surrounded by drone cells. There was about two to two and a half frames of nectar, and plenty of pollen. Clearly enough to swarm anyway.

I’ll update this after I’ve talked with the supply guy again. Fingers crossed the hive is on its way!


The supply guy was done for the day when I called, even though we agreed that I’d call at 4, and they don’t close until 5. I’m a little annoyed with all of this. The person I spoke with said that my hive was not in the shop, so that means I’m stuck waiting until tuesday for this hive. Over two weeks is way too long of a wait when the website says that the hive is in stock and its overnight shipping. I definitely won’t be ordering from these guys again. So far I’ve seen nothing that shows they care about my order and they don’t seem too concerned about getting me the hive as soon as possible, even though I’ve told them how urgent it is. I understand it’s an up and coming business, but I feel like because of that they should be working extra hard to get the order shipped. Two weeks without supplies is ridiculous.


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4 responses to “Swarm Cell Surplus”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    Lots of drones and queen cells suggests they are thinking of swarming, I’m surprised the queen’s still laying and they haven’t slimmed her down to fly yet. As you say, at least they won’t be off tomorrow. Maybe the cold weather is making them think twice. Are the cells capped yet?

    Sorry to hear you’re going to have to wait yet again, two weeks is a long time when you have a hive set on swarming.

    • willowbatel says :

      None of the swarm cells were very large or had eggs in them, but their abundance made the bees intentions more than clear. They don’t have any new capped honey stores, but who knows what that really means. They still haven’t touched those few pockets of capped honey left over from the winter.
      It has been raining all week, with lots of cold wind as well, so the bees have been out in reduced numbers. If there’s a break in the clouds and the wind they all rush out and cover the front and part of the top of the hive.
      I’d probably be less frustrated if the hive guy and his team seemed more apologetic/ sympathetic about things, but their lack of concern is annoying and definitely makes me feel undervalued.

      • Emily Heath says :

        If they don’t have an egg in yet that’s not so bad then, they usually (supposedly!) don’t swarm till a queen cell is capped. Hmpfh, sounds like the hive guy doesn’t appreciate his customers at all.

        • willowbatel says :

          oh ok good. I’m guessing they’ll eventually get fed up with waiting to swarm and just do it. Hopefully they haven’t reached that point yet and nothing bad will happen in the next few days. I’m just ready for this hive to be here; the last two weeks have been slightly stressful because of the number of swarm cells. I definitely won’t be buying from these guys again.

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