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Brood in Super + Signs of Queenlessness


The summer was going great with my hive until a few days ago. I went in for my hive inspection and and there were a few issues:

  1. Hive beetles present and larva in the tray. I am installing hive beetle traps today and put veggie oil in the tray, which has been effective in killing any larva and beetles that fall into the tray. When inspecting the hive, I didn’t seem many beetles, only about 2 and managed to kill them both. They must be hiding where I can’t see them. Hopefully the traps will help!
  2. The queen also does not seem to be present in the hive. From the larva that I can see, it looks like she last laid a few days ago. I see a queen cell in progress with a larva in it, so hopefully they are breeding a new queen.
  3. The oddest thing was that there is brood in the Super! We have a queen excluder, so I am not sure how the queen couldn’t gotten up there. My first thought is that we have other bees laying drone brood up there, but some of the brood looks like it’s worker brood. This is only my second season of beekeeping, so I’m not totally sure, but am hoping someone can take a look? The first picture is of the Super with brood and the second picture is one of our brood frames and the third picture is of the queen cell with a larva inside.

If anyone has any insights, I would greatly appreciate it!


Finding a queen above a QX is not all that unusual. I have seen it many times with wire galvanized QXs & more than once with plastic Flow QXs of other beekeepers, that’s why it’s always best, in my view to inspect the Flow frames before harvest. Otherwise, as I’ve seen for myself, brood will get squashed during harvest, which can lead to a hive beetle strike.

I agree that looks like worker brood with drone brood in the Flow frame, as predetermined by the cell sizes.

I’m wondering if those queen cells are actually emergency queen cells on account of the queen being in the honey super. She would have been up there for at least 9 days, which would explain why you only have sealed brood in the brood box. She must have found an opening up, but hasn’t found the opening down, or hasn’t looked for one.

You can clearly see the clusters of hive beetle eggs in the second photo, plus the larvae 5 days later.