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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Today I briefly checked the nuc that has a capped queen cell in it. The tip of the cell looked removed and I could see some fuzzy white stuff. Are the bees tearing down the queen cell or is something else happening?

Found this cell in a very, very large well populated hive (along with TONS of swarm cells in various stages of development - filled and unfilled - no other capped) along with a healthy looking, laying queen. Decided to split on the spot. This was last Sunday.

Is there a way to tell if the queen in the cell is dead or alive?
 

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It sounds like she may be about to come out. From what I've heard they help remove some of the capping before she emerges and what you're seeing is the cocoon.

Although I'm a new beek and may be completely wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmm, I've never heard of the bees helping the queen out. Always thought she chewed her way through.

Either she is emerging or she is dead.
 

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Read Michael Bush's site about bee math. He talks about the tip of a queen cell being cleaned down to the cocoon just before emergence.
 

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>The tip of the cell looked removed and I could see some fuzzy white stuff. Are the bees tearing down the queen cell or is something else happening?

They always remove the wax from the tip starting about one or two days before she emerges.

"They had resumed their usual occupations on the third : they attended to the young, worked within the open royal cells and also watched on those that were shut. They made a waved work on them, not by applying wax cordons, but by removing wax from the surface. Towards the top this waved work is almost imperceptible; it becomes deeper above, and the workers excavate it still more from thence to the base of the pyramid. The cell, when once shut, also becomes thinner; and is so much so, immediately preceding the queen's metamorphosis from a nymph, that all its motions are perceptible through the thin covering of wax on which the waved work is founded. It is a very remarkable circumstance, that in making the cells thinner, from the moment they are enclosed, the bees know to regulate their labor so that it terminates only when the nymph is ready to undergo its last metamorphosis.

"On the seventh day the cocoon is almost completely unwaxed, if I may use the expression, at the part next to the head and thorax of the queen. This operation facilitates her exit; for she has nothing to do but cut the silk that forms the cocoon. Most probably the object is to promote evaporation of the superabundant fluids of the nymph. I have made some direct experiments to ascertain the fact, but they are yet unfinished."--François Huber, New Observations on the Natural History Of Bees Volume I Letter XI
http://bushfarms.com/huber.htm#letter9
 
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