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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased and installed a 5 frame nuc into a 10 frame box about 2 weeks ago. My first inspection last week looked good with new larva and lots of capped brood. I have been feeding them since we have been so dry and they seem to have stored a lot of it along with pollen. They are taking about a quart a day. Today when I expected everything looked really good except for they were starting to build 2 queen cells towards the top of the middle frame. Inside the brood area I see very small larvae that have been layed with the last couple of days. Why would they be building queen cells if the current queen is still at work? I talked with the gentlemen I bought them from and he is willing to give me a new queen but it's a 9 hr round trip and I'm hoping I don't have to do that. He recommend giving them until next week and see what it looks like then. He was also stumped as to why they are building cells. They have plenty of room and seem to be slowly drawing new comb as I can see changes last week to this. Just wondering if anyone might have any suggestions for me?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Assuming that what you are seeing are in fact queen cells, the most logical answer is that you inadvertently killed or damaged the queen last week during your hive inspection. The presence of very small larvae, but no eggs, would indicate the queen stopped laying eggs approximately 6 days ago. If you do not see eggs, you do not have a laying queen anymore. Good news is that she left young larvae for the bees to make a new queen with. Check next week to look for eggs or larvae, most if not all of the brood should be capped at this point. Close it up and give it three weeks before looking inside again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Assuming that what you are seeing are in fact queen cells, the most logical answer is that you inadvertently killed or damaged the queen last week during your hive inspection. The presence of very small larvae, but no eggs, would indicate the queen stopped laying eggs approximately 6 days ago. If you do not see eggs, you do not have a laying queen anymore. Good news is that she left young larvae for the bees to make a new queen with. Check next week to look for eggs or larvae, most if not all of the brood should be capped at this point. Close it up and give it three weeks before looking inside again.
Thank you!
 

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Agreed. If the hive is now queenless and starting queen cells, it is not the fault of the guy who sold it to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Agreed. If the hive is now queenless and starting queen cells, it is not the fault of the guy who sold it to you.
I never said it was his fault. He is a super nice guy and willing to help me out. I'm new to this a d just looking for opinions
 

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Why would they be building queen cells if the current queen is still at work?
PaleIO:

Just curious- are they truly queen cells (i.e. they have jelly and larvae in them) or are they queen cups (i.e. a downward facing cell made ready for the possibility of raising a queen but empty inside)?

I only ask because I have several colonies that always like to have a few queen cups around and they tend to be (but not always) more on the body of the frame rather than at the bottom of the frame. I wonder if they are around as the colony's way of 'being prepared'.

Finally, it is possible that the nuc has a mind to supersede the queen- do you know if she overwintered with the colony or if it is a nuc made up this Spring with a mated queen?

Just tossing a couple other ideas out there- might be worth doing a careful frame-by-frame inspection to see if you can locate your queen which might give you a good idea of what they are up to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I finally got back home and checked my hive yesterday. They seam to be in great shape! I can't find any sign of the 3 queen cups I found last week and finally spotted the queen! She looks happy and healthy. We had a lot of smoke in my town from a 20,000 ac fire a lot of last week. Could that have triggered them to build them in preparation of leaving in the chance of a wildfire? Kind of like Litsinger said maybe just being prepared? From this week to last it seams the population has increased significantly so I am hoping they decided all is well.
 

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Glad to hear all is well, PaleIO. In my limited experience, some colonies seem to like having a few queen cups around even when everything is going well, so it may not have been in response to a stressor but may just be part of the SOP for your colony.

Glad to read that everything is progressing well for your colony- best of luck to you the rest of the year.

Russ

p.s. Love seeing the zia symbol in your avitar- brings back good memories of my childhood.
 
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