In my seven years of keeping bees, (four of those years rearing queens) this is the first time I ever saw a queen cell that was packed with at least fifty eggs. They were clustered at the bottom in a ball about the size of a small pea.
The cell was 3/4 of an inch long and was still uncapped and there was absolutely no royal jelly.
The colony was a 3lb. package placed into a 5 frame nuc. The nuc was quite full, but not overcrowded by any means. Queenie was still in the nuc and appeared to be healthy, but I didn't see any eggs in any of the other cells. I'm guessing the workers have plans of their own.
It couldn't have worked out better, since this was the colony I planned to use for starting my queen cells.
Wow! I saw a CAPPED queen cell on Sunday that was at least four inches long. I don't know what's inside it, but I left it to see what happens. Unfortunately it's in a outyard and I may not get back to see it for a while.
That queen you have is either a Drone layer or a newly mated queen that's only layed a couple eggs. check for a good brood pattern in a few days if she's not doing any better you better get a new queen.
OK stepping way out on a limb here, but could it have been freshly laid SHB or moth eggs? SHB are known to lay eggs like you are describing.
Good call. SHB eggs are smaller than bee eggs. Is definately something to make sure you don't have. SHB is ruthless.
Since the cell isn't good for anything anyway, I would just remove it. Perhaps even keeping the cell under observation in a sealed incubator or mini nuc that you can seal up and observe this cell.
>Wow! I saw a CAPPED queen cell on Sunday that was at least four inches long.
Now with that giant..... might have a little trouble with small cell!!! LOL
It's the normal diameter. Just really long. Never seen one like that before!
Congrats Papa.....Maybe you're having twins..... just kidding! Let us know what you find when the baby(s) are born...
I've raised queens commercially and have run into a few of those very long queen cells, some almost twice that long. I dissected several and found that the larva was still alive but development had stopped.
Apparently the bees need some pheromone clue to trigger capping the queen cell. When older larva are grafted, the queen cells are capped faster and are smaller than when younger larva are grafted.
In those very long queen cells, the larva apparently never reach the proper stage and emit the right pheromone. So the bees keep on feeding and extending the cell.
I've let one go to see what happens also. It got to almost 9 inches long. The larva eventually died.
For really small queen cells just graft a 36 hour larva. Put it into a poorly feed hive with lots of old bees. Do it during a major honey flow and you might have trouble finding it, if it weren't on a cell bar. :> ))
[This message has been edited by topbarguy (edited May 19, 2004).]