Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Strange queen cell business

1576 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  CSbees
I have seen some debate on whether workers move eggs to make a queen, the concensus being that they don't. This may raise some question...

I have a double deep nuc colony that has been queenless, tried to get them to raise a queen with donated eggs and failed twice, even after dumping all of bees away from hive to deal with laying worker.

Last weekend I did another dump and isolated the returning bees to the lower hive body with a sheet of newspaper. In the top hive body I added frames of eggs, larve, and bees from another colony in the hope that they would start a few queen cells before the groups combined through the paper.

What I found today was three queen cells below the newspaper. One was closed and seemed small compared to others I've had before. The other two were open with a big fat larvae in lots of royal jelly. There were still a few drone cells on those frames from the laying worker but there are no young larvae or eggs that I found so it looks like I got rid of the laying worker.

There should have been no fertilized eggs below the newspaper. So do workers move eggs? Do they ever make "queen cells" for the eggs of a laying worker? What kind of creature is going to emerge from these things? I am very curious so I will be watching for the next week to see what happens and for a while after that to see if someone starts laying worker eggs again...

Any thoughts?
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

· Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
54,355 Posts
On rare occasions they raise a queen. But usually it never emerges.

Thelytoky = A type of parthenogenetic reproduction where unfertilized eggs develop into females. Usually with bees this is referring to a colony rearing a queen from a laying worker egg. This is very rare, but documented, with European Honey Bees. It is common with Cape Bees.

There is an article on beesource on Thelytoky in LUS bees.

Huber observed drone eggs in queen cells:

"It is a singular fact, that the females, whose fecundation has been retarded, sometimes lay the eggs of males in royal cells. I shall prove, in the history of swarms, that immediately when queens, in the natural state, begin their great laying of male eggs, the workers construct numerous royal cells. Undoubtedly, there is some secret relation between the appearance of male eggs and the construction of these cells; for it is a law of nature from which bees never derogate. It is not surprising, therefore, that such cells are constructed in hives governed by queens laying the eggs of males only. It is no longer extraordinary that these queens deposit in the royal cells, eggs of the only species they can lay, for in general their instinct seems affected. But what I cannot comprehend is, why the bees take exactly the same care of the male eggs deposited in royal cells, as of those that should become queens. They provide them more plentifully with food, they build up the cells as if containing a royal worm; in a word, they labour with such regularity that we have frequently been deceived. More than once, in the firm persuasion of finding royal nymphs, we have opened the cells after they were sealed, yet the nymph of a drone always appeared. Here the instinct of the workers seemed defective. In the natural state, they can accurately distinguish the male worms from those of common bees, as they never fail giving a particular covering to the cells containing the former. Why then can they no longer distinguish the worms of drones, when deposited in the royal cell? The fact deserves much attention. I am convinced that to investigate the instinct of animals, we must carefully observe where it appears to err. " --François Huber, New Observations on the Natural History Of Bees, LETTER III. 21. August 1791.
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.