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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Staples, MN USA

    Default What to do with/about new queen cells?

    I just hived 2 packages of bees 2 1/2 wks. ago. In one of the hives the queen is laying very well. In the other the queen had laid only about 1/3 the cells of the other. In this weaker hive, I have found 3 new queen cells. What's going on? and what should I do about it (if anything)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA

    Default Re: What to do with/about new queen cells?

    Welcome to Beesource!

    > In this weaker hive, I have found 3 new queen cells.

    Its not unusual for newly hived package bees to build queen cells. They perceive that the lack of brood may be the fault of a "bad" queen, and are preparing for the possibility of replacing her. Often the queen cells will be torn down by the bees before any new queen emerges.

    My suggestion is that you do nothing but observe. Removing queen cells, before you have more experience, may lead to a queenless hive.
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Cookeville, TN, USA

    Default Re: What to do with/about new queen cells?

    Assuming that these are the only bees you have I think I personally would take a more pro-active course than the one suggested by Rader-Sidetrack. Here's why - there is probably one of two things going on -

    1) as suggested they may be superseding her when there is nothing wrong with the queen except that she is getting a slow start, perhaps because of being caged a bit too soon or longer than ideal.

    2) They may be superseding her because she actually IS failing and only the bees can tell - it happens.

    If it is 2 then what Rader recommends is as good a course as any.

    If it is 1 then you could be trading a queen in the hand for one that might get eaten while mating.

    No telling for sure which it is, but I would take the queen and a frame of brood and make a small nuc until it works out. Worst case the laying queen actually does fail and the replacement virgin gets eaten by a bird while mating. Best case you end up with 3 hives. But you have a somewhat better chance of not losing the hive completely.


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