Larva proof of queen?

My daughter and I opened our hive today to try to make sure our queen had not flown away four days ago when we direct released her into the hive (we were uncertain). The bees had been in the hive for about six days.

We were not able to spot the queen, in part because of the layers of bees around the forming comb. Unfortunately, during the inspection a piece of comb fell out (even though we were trying to be very careful to not tilt the foundationless frames - I felt terrible about this :frowning_face:).

On the plus side, we were able to inspect that comb, and it looks like there are larva in there.

OTOH, I read on

Worker bees are female and can lay eggs as well. But because they do not take a mating flight their eggs are unfertilized and they will only produce drones. The queen is the only bee who can create both male and female bees.

Here is a picture I took of the comb, with the larva in it. Does this prove we have a queen, or could these be worker larva?



Those are eggs and they are perfectly placed. You have a queen and she’s doing her job. Check again in 9 or 10 days so when the cells are capped, they are flat. That tells you there is workers brood developing which is what you want.


Nicely captured, The eggs look fresh and being at the back of the cells it looks like a strong laying queen.

Worker eggs are laid on walls or multiple eggs in a cell, usually a while after losing a queen as her pheromone wears off that inhibited the workers from laying.


Thanks for excellent photo Nick, you certainly have a laying queen going by the position of the eggs.
Queens are normally very timid and most times when you hold a frame up to the sunshine to look for her she has already gone to the shady side of the frame.
When I see larvae (not larva, that is molten rock in a volcano) I take that there is a laying queen, but seeing her is a bonus. I do mark my queens so I can keep tabs on her age and if I find an unmarked queen in the hive then I know she has been replaced.


You have a queen. Those are beautiful eggs, and that is a publication-quality photograph. Very nice!


1 Like

Now that Nick knows those tiny gems are the queen’s eggs, not larvae quite yet, I felt compelled to help with the correct way to use the word. Larvae is the plural of larva, molten rock is lava - regardless of one’s accent :wink::upside_down_face:

Really beautiful photo @Tartuffo, keep them coming! As a first- year beek I also managed to dislodge a chunk of new comb during my first inspection in spite of delicate handling. It’s an awful feeling for sure…I learned a lot by doing, not always doing it so well :flushed::nerd_face:


I humbly apologize Eva. A big lack of attention when I went to school. :pensive: I was a bad boy in my school years.

1 Like

No worries, and sorry to be a show-off! I have some kind of extra perception for grammar and spelling, that school helped with, luckily for me. In math I mostly stayed under my desk and read books :shushing_face:


Peter48, I’m very new here. How in the world do you “mark a queen”?

Hiya George, I figure our friend Peter is probably snoozing down under about now so here is a pic of what’s known as a push-in queen cage:


With a helper holding the frame, you locate her and carefully push this type of gizmo into the comb, over top of her so she stays put while you use a special paint marker to place a small dot of color on her thorax. There’s a standard to the color & sequence, so you can identify how old a queen is by what color mark she has.

1 Like

@Eva gave you one choice. I actually prefer using this device:

Once she is in the chamber, you can move the plunger to gently hold her against the silicone rubber “bars”, and apply a dot of paint to her thorax with one of these:

Then she will look like this:


As Eva said it is just day break here.
There are a few different ways of restraining the queen while she is being marked with only minor differences, they all do what they are designed to do. There is 5 different colors to use depending on the year so you will always know the age of the queen.
The advantage of marking a queen is she is much easier to find in the hive so saving inspection times. Very handy if you have to do a split and want to be sure about the queens location.
If you find an unmarked queen if a hive that should have a marked queen then you would be right in thinking that the hive had swarmed. So marking queens gives you more information about the hive.
Remember restraining a queen needs to be done softly, just enough to hold her in place for a few seconds for the dot to dry.
Have a look on You Tube for videos about it.

1 Like