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Can't find Queen, did find queen cells..what to do?


Hello everyone,

We picked up and transferred our first bee colony into our hive about a week ago. We gave them some time to settle down and then yesterday, we did a first inspection (will post a video as soon as it is edited).

Although there were a couple of bees in the super with flow frames, not much activity was going on there. This was as expected, since the colony came on 6 frames and we added two new frames with wax foundation.

We checked the broodbox and all looked pretty good. Lots of capped worker bee cells, cells with eggs and larvae in different stages in them as well, a nice stash of capped honey cells, worker bees working on filling more cells with nectar, cells with pollen, bees have been pretty active gathering pollen en nectar, bees working on building out cells on the two new frames with wax foundation, etc…

However, we did not find the queen. When doing the transfer of the colony, a week ago (see video here: Video: Transferring 1st colony into flow frame hive in France), we did not see the queen either, but did not take a lot of time looking for her, so we might have overlooked her then. And we might have overlooked her yesterday as well, should she have been covered with worker bees.

We did find a couple of unfinished queen cells (3-4, or so). We decided to leave them there, since we did not see the queen and could not be completely certain that there is still a queen. I’m pretty sure she must be around, since we saw eggs and larvae.

*Did we make the right decision by not destroying the started queen cells? (They are still only the round and open beginnings of a queen cell. I’m not even sure if there is an egg in them).

Additional info: we saw some capped drone cells at the bottom of a couple of the frames (still on the wax-part, not on the wooden frame), but no drones. We left those intact as well.

Please let me know what you think.



Where are you?
Do fellow beekeepers run two brood boxes in your locality? If they do you should be running them similarly till you get the flow frames on.
If the brood frames are not drawn it might be too early for your super.
If you are seeing cells with eggs then your queen should be there.
These queen cells, post a picture.
Are they queen cups or queen cells? Is there anything in them?
Yes best not destroyed till you know more
Drones, yes leave.

Have a look here


You did right. To this day, I’ve taken the advice of my old beekeeper friends and never, ever, destroy a queen cell.
You mentioned eggs , 1 per cell I assume, so everything is fine. Most bees keep some queen cups around all the time.

I don’t destroy any queen cells/cups because I don’t know what the bees know. It’d be like walking into your home 1 week into a 2 month long renovation project and saying, “omg, there’s no paint on these walls!”, and then firing the contractor because of it…

I recommend my previous instructions to another poster::

  1. Place lawn chair in close proximity to hive:
  2. Crack open a honey lager or favorite beverage and enjoy until empty.
  3. Repeat #2
  4. Repeat #'s 1,2,3 for 7-10 days and recheck hive.


@Dee - We are in the Auvergne, which is in the middle of France. As far as I know, fellow beekeepers do not run two brood boxes, just the one broodbox in the winter, and then a super in the spring and summer on top of that.

Not all brood frames are drawn, yet, they are working on it. However, on advice of the beekeeper who sold us the colony, we placed the (flow frames) super on top, as there is more than enough food available and placing it should help prevent swarming.

They are indeed queen cups, not cells, thanks for pointing out the technical term in English! I have not checked if there is anything in them, t.b.h. I will be sure to do so next time.

Thanks for the link, I will check it out!

Here’s a picture:

@Red_Hot_Chilipepper - Thanks for the reply, info and good advice. I was actually seriously planning on placing some kind of seating near to the beehive, because it is very enjoyable to look at all the busy bee activity.

So, basically, I can assume that we’ve just overlooked the queen, right?


If you’ve found eggs your queen is alive n well. I’ve had problems finding Her Magesty many times before. The new eggs n larva are just as good a sign that she’s doing her job.

Good luck n enjoy the journey …


I hardly ever try to find the queen. If I find eggs and larvae in a good pattern that is usually enough for me. Its quite intrusinve to dig out the queen each inspection, you just need evidence of her presence.



Thanks for the replies and reassurances, Gerald and Rob! I did not know it is actually quite common to not necessarily see the queen during an inspection.