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Back in June my hive was threatening to swarm (crowded and honeybound). I preformed an artificial swarm and let the original hive create a new queen from one of the swarm cells.
She is laying well but my bees are still constantly creating queen cups (no larvae/eggs in them). The would be queen cells are both on the bottoms of frames and the middle.
I haven't been a beek all that long so I wanted to ask is it normal for a hive to just have queen cups "on hand" at all times?:pinch:
 

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Some hives always create these "queen cell cups", others rarely do.

I've learned to think of them as pieces of shaped burr-comb. Whenever I see a queen cell cup, occupied with either an egg or larva, I know it as a queen cell, no longer is it a queen cell cup. It may seem obvious, but is an important distinction. I'm sure that some queen cell cups graduate to queen cell status, but I'm fairly sure that most never do.

Why some hives create empty cell cups, especially when they are queenless, is quite a curiosity. I do not know if there are published research documents concerning this issue. If anyone knows of any, please let us know.
 

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have been beekeeping a long time 1959;

It is the way bees reproduce them selfs by swarms it is what they do, so I requeen a lot of my hives with queen cells and raise queen the same way. but when I dont need them I cut them out, and move brood to weeker hive to reduce populations and cut back on swarms good luck rock.
 

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In answer to the original question: Nearly. In the winter, when the colony does not have wax making ability, the insurance cups are just part of the wax reserve, along with "burr comb" and other wax stored for winter use. Insurance cups disappear. Come the spring buildup, they add a few as they grow and keep some available for the full active season.

Re the tangent: I wanted feral bees to study their natural traits. Didn't buy queens with selected characteristics. Q problems were always resolved by adding a frame of eggs/young brood from another colony. Normally, the QX colony would start emergency cells on the face of the added frame of brood. Rarely, the Q cell showed up on an insurace cup of the QX colony that was already in place when the frame of brood was added. Did they move an egg or young larva to the empty frame?? I think so.

Walt
 
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