Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Queen Cells - help!  (Read 1998 times)


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Queen Cells - help!
« on: July 22, 2013, 02:26:25 pm »
Another newbie question. My colonies arrived 5 weeks ago. They're both in double brood boxes now. I've actually got a question about both:

Colony A - They've almost fully drawn out the top brood box and they've got lots and lots of stores. The queen has been up in the top brood box but there are only about three frames there with some eggs on (and it is patchy from what I could see through the sweat this morning!). She has got brood at different stages all over including plenty of capped brood in the bottom box. However, I've found two queen cells in the bottom box as well - one is capped, the other not quite (but seems close). I'm waiting on a nuc box anyway so I can chase for that - otherwise no option of splitting the colony anyway - but how would you handle this? Incidentally, I didn't see the queen today but I think she's still there given the eggs - just that checking through two brood boxes in this heat with some increasingly antsy bees meant I couldn't recheck frames for her when I got to the end and hadn't seen her.

Colony B - No queen cells but loads and loads of brood - 9 frames from 11 in the bottom box and 6 frames from 11 in the top box. They are catching up on stores - I was worried last week they'd just have lots of bees but not much to eat but each frame in the top box now has that classic pattern of stores round the top and brood in the middle (quite a lot of it already capped). Should I put a super on? It seems late in the season to be adding one and I wasn't planning on pulling off any honey this year but it seems such a prolific colony - and much easier to handle, nice bees (who knew I'd have a favourite within weeks?).

Thanks for any advice,



  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Leafy Surrey
Re: Queen Cells - help!
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 02:59:48 pm »
I've just been through your situation with A.  It may mean that the bees are unhappy with the Queens productivity (or they just don't like her).  I took out the frame with a queen cell with a couple of others, put new ones to make up, and shook a small amount of bees into a new hive alongside the capped queen and put some sugar syrup on as a feed.  i turned the hive so access isn't the same as the one they came from.  Been a week now, and I will check them tomorrow.

With situation B, I would put a super on.  It's no loss either way.  You can always leave honey to feed them!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 03:02:03 pm by Greenerlife »


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Queen Cells - help!
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 06:02:23 pm »
We have done exactly as Greenlife has done with ours this afternoon. Boy was it hot out there and I know what you mean by antsy bees.
We did also manage to find the queen and marked her. She now has lovely red nail varnish  ;D
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Queen Cells - help!
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 11:43:22 pm »
Thanks both! I'm calling in help. Going to pick up the nuc box first thing and then a nearby beekeeper is going to come and help me move everything around (and will do a sanity check on both the queen cells and whether I need a super on the other one). He actually needs a queen in one of his colonies so we might try and juggle that one too so he can take one of the frames with the queen cell. I'm sure he has a plan.....

It's just all the little things - where to put the nuc box (the colonies are both on the same stand side by side at the moment), which frames to take out, how many other bees to shake in, what to do if the queen cell is a sign the current queen is not up to the job so I end up with a queenless colony, how to spot or mark the new queen, etc. etc. All questions I was not expecting to answer until next season but I suppose it's all good learning!



  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Leafy Surrey
Re: Queen Cells - help!
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2013, 08:01:42 am »
how many other bees to shake in,

Ha ha!  Count them in!   ;D   Seriously, me and my bee mentor read somewhere that it was a "cupful".  He wanted to know how big a cup was!  He even took a cup with him and scooped them into it.  I think the bees joined in our laughter - they seemed willing to go.  :excited:


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