What to do with queen cells?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Layton, UT
    Posts
    8

    Default What to do with queen cells?

    I am a new beekeeper and began with two packages this year. One of my two hives ended up losing a queen before she laid any eggs. Completely devoid of brood, I purchased a new queen and introduced her along with a frame of brood from the good hive 11 days ago.

    It has been very rainy for the last several days and I had to wait until yesterday to get in the hive. The queen is doing fine and is laying eggs but I have two capped queen cells on the frame of brood that I transferred from the other colony. I am looking for guidance on how to proceed.

    I thought that I probably ought to kill the two queen cells before the adult queens emerge but I didn't. I will jump again in the hive when I get home from work and dispatch the cells if that is what is necessary but I wouldn't mind having an extra queen or two on standby. Is there any way I can maintain these cells and allow the queens to emerge without them and the other introduced queen fighting each other off?

    Again, I am a new beekeeper without an incubator or lots of bees to do a split with. I appreciate any guidance or ideas. Thank you

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    1,374

    Default Re: What to do with queen cells?

    Your choices depend on what your equipment is on hand and what your plans are. If you leave the cells when they get capped the hive may swarm. If you have a record of when you put the frame of brood in you could pull that frame to a nuc with a frame of brood (at day 9, no later than 10) you indicated they are 11 days old and capped do it now. You can add frames of brood from multiple hives to keep the hive from getting too weak. They should be good cells since the entire hive built them. The queen should fly out and return as what you want, queen in a spare box. And of course if you like your new queen you could remove the cells.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Layton, UT
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: What to do with queen cells?

    Thank you for the advice. I sure hope my little colony hasn't swarmed. I'd rather have two strong colonies rather than three small weak ones. If I make it home and it hasn't swarmed. I believe I will dispatch the two cells and chalk this one up to experience.

    I am looking forward to when I am more experienced and have advice to offer on the Beesource forums as well. Thanks again.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Glen Rock, NJ, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: What to do with queen cells?

    Hi maimes, welcome. I personally want to know what you do and how it works and what you think, please!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,486

    Default Re: What to do with queen cells?

    Chop them down, they might be gone already with a laying queen now present and laying. I was sure a new split was queenless the other day, found a hive superceding, I transferred a frame of brood with two queencells in the making. Checked 2 days later and they were torn down. I knew I wasn't queenless now although I hadn't seen the virgin lately and the other splits from the same time had been laying a few days already. Looked around and finally found a nice looking mated queen, hadn't started laying yet, nice frames of eggs today.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: What to do with queen cells?

    Leave the queen cells. The queen you have may not be that good. The one they raise is likely to be batter. If you destroy them and the queen is failing than they will be hopelessly queenless. Odds are a locally raised queen will be better anyway as she will likely mate with some local drones.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Layton, UT
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: What to do with queen cells?

    I opened my hive last night and the two queen cells were now opened. I saw my marked queen that I purchased and didn't see any evidence of the other queens, so I figure the purchased queen took care of them. I am happy at least that I have laying queens in each of my hives. Thank you for your advice and suggestions. I am sure I will be back with another question after my next inspection...

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