Found Capped Queen Cells on Drone Comb

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Crofter, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    On going through the hives to check that none are making swarm preparations I found capped queen cells on a drone frame I had placed to the outside. Two off the bottom of the comb and two about the centre. Frame mostly nectar, honey and pollen and a hand sized patch of capped drone brood; no worker brood that I remember. Everything else looks good, lots of eggs, brood open and capped and still some eggs and open brood in upper box.

    When is it allowable to destroy queen cells? My guess is we are two weeks to first frost and I already have two recent hives that I am feeding to get up to weight for winter so will be combining any hive that goes queenless. Anyways I did the unmentionable! Queens in royal jelly are sweeter than drone brood!

    The issue is complicated by the fact that I did some switching around and give and take amongst hives when completing hives for the two I made up recently; not certain that frame did not come from another hive, so for now will run with the hope that there is nothing wrong with that queen.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I had a funny one like that today as well Frank. Adam was over and we went through some hives. I found one with queen cells halfway there (3 or 4) and then I found a cell that was hatched recently. I figured I must have lost a swarm but I was seeing eggs, larvae, and then I found the queen, and she wasn't a virgin just hatched. No idea what was going on, so I left the old girl and probably a virgin in there, but I nicked the cells. Just a gut call.
     

  3. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I had momentary notions of putting the frame or cells into something and letting them do there thing and then I gave myself a shake! "You dont need any more bees this time of year, Frank!" That and the fact that the queen in that hive was a new one in June, made me opt to cut them out for practice.

    I have seen the bees tearing down quite well advanced queen cells too. I really dont know what my bees are race wise but something along the Carni or Caucausian with some yellow ones in the mix. I understand that Russian influence bees like to build and tear down queen cells on a whim! I know these ones have made me do some hair pulling this summer.
     
  4. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    Back when my bees still had a lot of Russian there was nearly always a queen cell. About the time they would cap it they'd tear it down and a week or two later there'd be another one. I got to where I didn't pay them any mind.
    ​I wish they still did it. Would be awfull handy starting nucs. Woody
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I guess first a question....
    are you already experiencing some night time temperature declines?

    and a snip...
    When is it allowable to destroy queen cells? My guess is we are two weeks to first frost

    tecumseh...
    I don't have any problem destroying queen cells but then again I have seen queens successfully mate here as late as December. I am guessing that a drop in temperature stranded a bit of egg or early larvae at the edges of the brood nest and some workers separated from the queen thought themselves queenless and began constructing queen cells. I have done this myself here in the early spring and usually looking back upon the situation I realize that some minor manipulation by myself likely encouraged the situation. When this happens it really is not a reflection on the acceptability of the queen but really hangs on temperature and not enough bee to really pack the area around the brood nest.

    furthermore... as Wolfer suggest and folks like Seeley inform us directly not all queen cells hatch (can't really recall Seeleys number here but the percentage that do hatch is really quite small) and some bees will simply keep a number of queen cells going almost constantly (the russians and africanized bee seem to apply here).

    I would thing the reasonable thing would be to do as you suggest in #3..... then if you were totally unsuccessful you could simple add the frames back at some time and if not 1) you would know better what the end date was for getting a queen properly mated at your location and 2) you would have a very young queen which you could add back to some hive that might perhaps have an older queen that you though might not make it thru till spring time.

    and as aways best of luck to ya' and do tell us how this situation evolves.
     
  6. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    There are lots of drones yet but they are being evicted. Drone brood is being uncapped and hauled out. These cells were just barely capped so quite a while to go before mating time. Probably iffy here. All queens are new this summer.

    I probably isolated brood on that comb by placing it against the wall wanting it to be turned into honey storage. Yes we have had some cold nights down close to 50F. It is all cleaned out and I think I will put it back in to replace one of the undrawn plastic foundations I had to put in to take space when I split over the swarm.

    I had one other hive whose queen was on the third summer and I took lots of frames with cells to start nucs. They wouldnt look like swarming but made cells. Didn't get to do any cut cell grafting that I geared up for. Maybe next year.