Was my queen going to swarm?

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Curious..... Was this queen useless? Or about to swarm?
My hive had no eggs. Just 1 week old larva.Nothing smaller.
There were some empty incomplete swarm cells and 1 empty incomplete queen cell.
I checked hive before introducing a new queen about 6 days later.
Still no eggs. Removed empty swarm cells, then found queen cell actually had a small larva in it. Just couple days old.
Then I found queen.
Rain was about to bucket down ,so couldn't be bothered to do a split with cell. So removed it. Accidently hurt queen when I picked her up. So she's a gonner.
Were they replacing her?
I don’t know the answer, but FYI you get better responses on here with photos to help.

My hive that tried to swarm I thought had clearly held the queen back with much reduced laying the week prior. Cleary swarm planning as there were >doz charged but not capped cells.

But, weirdly after measures (Demaree method)were taken the queen hasn’t kicked back into gear yet (1 week later) Maybe she was failing too… she’s two, maybe older, needed to take better notes (lesson learnt there 😅)

Going to check tomorrow (🤞) and have a spare hive to merge if things aren’t looking promising.


Founder Member
Semi Commercial
WF I can't be sure without actually seeing the hive, but from what you describe it sounds like the hive had already swarmed and the queen cells hatched. The bees would have started tearing them down, thus you described them as "empty and incomplete".

You seem to differentiate between "empty incomplete swarm cells and 1 empty incomplete queen cell". In fact they are all queen cells regardless where on the comb they are placed. If there were many (you don't say how many) they would have likely been for swarming. The other reason for many would have been if the hive was queenless and they were emergency cells, but you say they were empty so if they were empty while there were unsealed worker larva in the hive, that is unlikely.

The queen you introduced 6 days later would have been killed by the resident virgin.

The queen you found at some later date was probably the virgin who by now might have mated but you don't give the time frame. The small larva in the queen cell may well have been from an egg by a laying worker, bees sometimes do this in disrupted hives.

Then you accidentally killed the queen so the hive is likely now hopelessly queenless. Keep an eye on the queen cell with a larva just incase it does develop into a queen but if it was from a laying worker it will be a male larva and die around capping time. There may also be some fertilized eggs the bees could raise a new queen from, if the queen you killed had time to lay some before her demise.

The worst scenario is that the queen did not actually die but is still in the hive, but injured and unable to lay eggs, this would be a problem for any requeening attempts.

All this is conjecture, my best guess as to the most likely scenario based on the information given.

Let's know how this turns out (y)
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It's difficult to say for sure what was going on with your hive without more information. Here are a few possibilities to consider:

  • The hive may have been preparing to swarm. When a hive becomes too crowded or the queen is not laying eggs at a sufficient rate, the bees may decide to divide the hive and create a new queen by raising a new larva in a queen cell. If you found empty swarm cells and a small larva in a queen cell, this could be a sign that the hive was preparing to swarm.
  • The hive may have been trying to replace the queen for some other reason. There are a number of possible reasons why a hive might decide to replace the queen, such as if the queen is not laying eggs at a sufficient rate, if the queen is not producing viable eggs, or if the queen is no longer present or functioning properly.
  • The hive may have been experiencing some other issue that was causing the queen to stop laying eggs. There are many potential causes for a queen to stop laying eggs, such as a lack of food or resources, an infestation of pests or diseases, or problems with the hive itself.