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Comb built around queen's cage

Hello all! I recently (about 48hrs ago) popped a new colony into my hive. In doing so, I secured the queen cage to the top of a frame using a rubber band, the idea being that it would be easy to remove once the queen had been freed.

Long story short, the girls freed her very fast, and they’ve now built comb around the plastic cage! They’re working overtime - in just 48hrs they’d got her out and built a stack of comb. I could try to remove the cage, but I’m unsure I’ll be able to without really damaging the comb. Is it ok to leave the cage in there? It doesn’t seem to be bothering them at all and the hive seems to be cranking.

Thanks for your help!

Cut it out or you will have problems later on.



Totally agree with Rob. Take it out now. They will make repairs very fast, and it will do a lot less harm if you extract it now than at the end of the season.

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Absolute first time at keeping bees and I have just installed my very first swarm and after 2 days have the same issue, the queen cage was barely visible and the bees had built quite a lot of comb in just 2 days. So much so that I can’t even see if the queen is out, or locate the opening to check it. Can I assume that because they have built the comb and already commenced filling the cells that the queen is out of the cage?
What should I do to remove the queen cage and comb? Can I just remove it and let those bees on it find their way back into the hive, or do they need to be brushed off?
thanks in advance for your help!

Hi Robyn - I would bring a dull pencil out with you and open the hive to take a close look at your queen cage The pencil will come in handy if you find you need to release the queen yourself, which should be safe to do by your third or fourth day. Use your hive tool and carefully scrape or cut away comb that has the queen cage stuck to the frame. If your frames are foundationless, be especially careful about moving them or poking at the comb which is very fragile when new, and will fall off of the frame easily especially if it’s filled with nectar or sugar water. I don’t see any need to lift frames out this early and would wait to let the colony settle back down for another week before inspecting after this procedure.

Get a good look at the queen cage and make sure whether she’s in there or not - do all your actions over the open hive so bees can fall straight back in. Give a short, sharp shake to the cage if there’s a lot of bees clustered on it. If she’s in there, use your pencil to ever so gently push the candy plug inward to create a hole - be so so careful not to jam it against her! Let her out right into the hive and close it back up. If you see that she’s not in there, just take the cage away and close up.

Let us know how you do! :wink::+1: