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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had a large hive I split the other day and took a whole medium brood box off of a deep. Checked and made sure no queen and it became its own hive. I had all stages of bees from eggs to capped brood. I left this hive queenless for about 3-4 hours like I have done in the past and late that afternoon I put a new mated queen in her cage in the hive. This was Thursay. I went made sure the queen was released on Monday and I found her just doing her thing but one of the frames in the medium box had 2 queen cells that were newly capped. So I decided yesterday that I would come back this morning and take another split and get the new released queen out of the hive an into another and let the bees raise the cells and hatch them, but today when I get there to do this I was suprised to see that the bees had already chewed down the cells. All that was left was like a half chewed cup from what was a good size queen cell of about an 1.25" the afternoon before. I really didn't want to split the hive anyways so I was somewhat happy about it. The new queen in the hive had started laying and had a nice patch of new eggs laid and what was eggs last Thursday when I did the split had nice little larva so I guess in just a few hours the hive went into emergency mode and until the pheramone of the new queen and her eggs calmed the hive down they were prepared to do what bees do and make a queen. I just haven't ever witnessed them chewing a already made queen cell down but I assume this is typical in situations like this.

Clark
 

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I would guess that it was the queen that was released into the hive that tore down the cells, not the nurse bees. Once the cell was tore down and the queen larvae was stung by the new queen, the other bees will go eat the royal jelly and possibly eat the dead larvae or discard it, but I seriously doubt the nurse bees killed a capped queen cell.
 

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I have witnessed this same thing in my hives. Particularly the Russian hives. They tend to keep a viable queen cell in the hive all the time. It is the workers that decide to tear it down and it is usually about 2 days prior to emergence when they do. Russian bees do this as they tend to take brood breaks when the nectar/pollen don't flow freely. The old queen quits laying and their response is to start a queen cell as she has a problem. Then after it has been capped and a few days prior to emergence, the old queen will lay up the place and prove she hasn't anything wrong with her, and they tear down the queen cell. Pretty neat the way they work.
 

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Sure could have...... sneaky of you but it can work... Worse case say that queen failed you could always put the back together again ....
 
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