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Hey all,

Pretty new Beek here. Recently checking out a NUC install and noticed what I think is an emergency queen cell. Was hoping someone could help me verify that, and give a guess as to how old it is.


I've compared it to plenty of photos, but just can't shake the idea that I might be wrong due to inexperience.

QueenCellMaybe.jpg
 

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It's called a queen cup. Like a practice cell, or preperation if they do need a queen cell. As long as the queen does not lay an egg in there, it means nothing.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Flip the frame over and look inside. Based on location and the age of the surounding larvae, I bet it is charged and about a day or two from being capped. Just a hunch.
 

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Yes you need to check that cell to see if it is charged. The Q laying pattern looks pretty good so if the cell is charged you need to look further; is the Q injured? Brood area full of nectar/pollen and no where to lay? Where on the frame is the cup and are there others? Go into your profile and post your location. What is your set up? Deeps/mediums 1/2/3 with supers?
 

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Around the cup I see capped brood, open larvae and fresh eggs all helter skelter and intermixed. Some of the cells have multiple eggs. I'd call it a lot of things, but a good pattern is not one of them.

The cup appears to be getting extended with fresh wax, so my guess is that cup is charged and it's roughly a 3 day larvae, so a couple days from being capped.

There is a queen in the colony, fresh eggs standing on end attest to that. She is not doing well, larvae of all ages in a very small area around the cell and totally intermixed attest to that. Multiple eggs in cells suggest she is running out of room to lay, check that they have started building more comb since installing the nuc, assuming it was installed into new gear.

Assuming the cell is charged, I would let nature take its course allowing them to requeen. If there are more cells, especially along the bottom of the frames, I'd be thinking about swarm management for a queen running out of room to lay.

Without seeing condition of more frames and the colony as a whole, hard to make an accurate assessment, but with the information from just that photo around the queen cup, I would be 90% sure it's a supercedure in progress, and the bees have a good reason to supercede that queen.
 

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"Around the cup I see capped brood, open larvae and fresh eggs all helter skelter and intermixed."
I was thinking similar, wondering if it is a new nuc and the queen was dealing with the hand she was dealt for frames to lay. Wonder what she would/will do with a clean frame ( assuming install means she is now in a 10 frame).
 

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I was thinking similar, wondering if it is a new nuc and the queen was dealing with the hand she was dealt for frames to lay.
Hence the caveat, without seeing the rest, hard to make a good call on the colony overall. But I stand by the assessment for the piece we can see. Pattern suggests problems, and a supercedure in progress. If indeed the queen is ok, supercedure wont hurt. If she is the problem, supercedure will save the colony. It's a supercedure, will likely end up with a mother/daughter situation, so not a huge worry about a young virgin not returning from a mating flight. I would assess differently if

a) There was no sign of fresh eggs, in this case we have eggs standing on end, so less than a day old. They have queen.
b) I saw another frame with a full sheet of capped brood


Just my $0.02 ....
 
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