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Thread: practice cups?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    BelAir MD U.S.A
    Posts
    30

    Default practice cups?

    Hello everyone, I have 4 questions for the group. Yesterday I took a look in on of my hives. I saw 6 or 8 empty practice cups on 4 bars. I also saw clusters of capped drone brood on 2 bars that had a lot of capped honey. This hive has 10 fully drawn bars (mostly brood) and I think 6 that range from being just started to nearly complete. This hive has expanded pretty quickly considering I installed the package back on April 28th. Now there are loads of bees in this hive, I bet 3 times than the original package. It's really amazing how much work they have done.

    So my questions are.

    When you see the capped drone brood on comb that is mainly full of honey is that an indication of having a laying worker?

    Is a laying worker an indication of a queen problem?

    Should you remove the drone brood?

    Are the practice cups an indication that they may swarm in the near future?


    Thanks in advance
    Dan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,046

    Default

    >When you see the capped drone brood on comb that is mainly full of honey is that an indication of having a laying worker?

    Not at all. Drone cells, being larger, are great for storing nectar. Probably just seeing some drones that haven't yet hatched and all the neighboring cells are being filled with nectar.

    >Is a laying worker an indication of a queen problem?

    Yes. A big queen problem. But why do you think you have laying workers? Is there no worker brood, multiple eggs in cells, that sort of thing? it sounds like if you have 10 combs of mostly brood and two combs with drone cells you're right on track. Drones are natural, especially at this time of year. If there is worker brood, you had a laying queen at least that recently and all's well. If there's capped worker brood it's all but impossible to have laying workers already.

    >Should you remove the drone brood?

    Depends. Not if you're striving to let the bees do their own thing, or striving to raise varroa mites . Some beeks cull capped drone cells to knock back the burgeoning mite population. Unless that's a management goal for you, let the drones be. Every colony wants some drones around, it's how they contribute their queen's genes to virgin queens from neighboring colonies.

    >Are the practice cups an indication that they may swarm in the near future?

    No, not in and of themselves. Every colony has some cups laying around much of the spring and summer in case they need them. Just seeing cups doesn't mean anything necessarily; they're quite normal. If you start seeing cups with eggs or larvae in them, your old queen's days are numbered one way or another. If you start seeing laid-up queen cells being drawn out from the cups, even sooner. Capped queen cells, pretty quick .
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

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