Do sealed emergency queen cups always produce queens?

Fairly new beekeeper here.

One of my hives was busting at the seams last week so I removed a few frames with brood, eggs, pollen and capped honey and placed them in a nuc box.

Doing an inspection today, I noticed that there are three or four capped emergency queen cups. Does this mean that I’ll definitely have a new queen in a few weeks, or is it still too early to tell?

Which box has the queen cells? The nucleus, or the original hive?

Well, nothing in nature is 100%… :blush: The only way to know whether you have a fertile new queen is to see eggs and uncapped larvae in the box which had queen cells (and no queen).

The key word is fertile, although, as Dawn says, nothing’s 100%. I think it would be safe to say a new queen will be made and hatch.
Whether it makes it back from the mating flights is another matter…

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The nucleus is the box with the queen cells. The original hive that I pulled the frames from still has a productive queen.

That sounds good to me!


Hi Jason, you’ll definitely have a new queen, however, as @skeggley said, there’s no guarantee she’ll make it back successfully mated. I read in one of my early books that a queen has a one chance in 7 of failure. That is always something to keep in the back of your mind whenever you do a split. The good news is: if you do 7 splits, only one will fail:)

Thanks Jeff. I’m definitely not ready to do 7 splits!

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If you have sealed queen cells, you’ll have a new queen in a few days. Then she has to leave the hive for a few hours and mate with up to 40 drones and make it back without being bird food.

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You are welcome Jason. If you have enough bees to break the split into two, that will be good insurance in case one queen fails.