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Multiple eggs in cells


I’m from Saskatchewan, Canada and we just went out to our hives and I noticed that one hive has multiple eggs per cell. Just wondering if it could possibly be an over active queen and not workers laying?

They are not scatters around, they are all in order like a queen did it and they are placed in the bottom all nice too but there are two to three eggs is some??
Also if this sounds like the queen would you want to replace her or does this work it’s self out with experience. This was the weakest of the hives because they had quite a bit of mites coming straight from package and first year here for us with them. Is this her way of catching up maybe??
Or the horrible… workers laying and if you think so what would you do???


Hi Anna,
it sounds like a laying worker, as queens only lay one egg per cell.

Have you found/seen the queen? :crown::honeybee:
If your hive is queenless, they will dwindle and die out, as it is too late in the season to requeen.

Sorry to hear your bees had mites when you received them :frowning:️ It is really hard for a weak colony to make it through the winter here in Seattle; I’m guessing that you Saskatchewan beekeepers have some strategies to deal with the cold.

Here is a really informative post for you:

Good Luck!


New queens will lay 2,3,4 eggs per cell until they get it figured out. I’ve seen it with my own hives. Are the egg on the cell bottom if the frame is held flat? Laying workers can’t reach the cell bottom like a queen. If you’re seeing a lot of eggs per cell (6+) that is probably laying workers. If that’s the case, I’d shake them out a couple of hundred yards away and store the frames away until next year. Make sure to keep wax moths and mice out of them.


I have seen multiple eggs in one cell from a healthy queen as well.


Thank you. Very helpfully. I was expecting it to be the queen just wasn’t a hundred percent sure if laying more than one is normal. I checked them over really good and they are right in the very bottom very near all in a row just more than one. Does anyone know how this will effect the brood with more than one in there?


I’ll also be double checking to make sure they aren’t drones just to be double sure


Hello @Red_Hot_Chilipepper and @Plutoman15 wouldn’t it be unusual for a queen to be “getting the hang of it” this late in the season? Just curious as I’ve not seen it in my 11 years of beekeeping.
@Anna1 the nurse bees should sort it out if it is the queen laying, and move eggs to empty cells. Yes, keep your eyes on the drone caps.


Yes check for drones.
IF you decide to shake out you don’t need to go a couple of hundred yards. You want those bees to find a new home so go just maybe 20 yards. Smoke them really well so that they fill up with honey then tip them out. Take their old home completely away.
They will beg their way into another colony with their bribe of honey. The brood pheromone in the new home will suppress their laying. Those that do go on laying will have their eggs eaten by the house bees. Don’t waste them by emptying the bees out where they have no chance to survive.

Not at all.
This is a common time for supersedure and if a perfect one both queens will be there often till Spring


Thanks @Dee; always something new to learn :ok_hand:t4::honeybee:


Laying worker hives have a distinctive pattern of brood. This is actually more distinctive than the eggs, though the eggs are rather distinctive. A new queen may lay some doubles and occasionally some triples because she runs out of space or doesn’t have the hang of her job yet. But laying workers will lay six to a dozen once things have gotten particularly bad. Turning laying worker is more of a gradual change and knowing that may help you understand what you are seeing. A queenright colony has a few laying workers The egg police clean up after them and you don’t notice anything. When a hive goes queenless, in 9 days they have no more open brood. Once they are without the brood pheromones from worker brood, the ovaries of the workers began to develop. More of them will be laying, but at first the egg police keep up. The next step is when they don’t and a few scattered brood (and a few scattered eggs) are seen. The important things to note is that they are scattered and when the larvae get capped they have a dome cap on them. The other thing that happens at this time is the bees often start some queen cells which once they are capped, they tear down because they have drone larvae in them. If you catch things at this point you can usually introduce a queen and you can certainly give them a queen cell. The next stage there are thousands of laying workers, in fact about half of them will be laying workers. At this point there are sometimes dozens of eggs in the cells and they are not consistent like when a queen lays in them. A good laying queen lays a pattern of eggs. All in the bottom. All at the same angle. The ones in the laying worker cells are pointing in different directions and usually there are at lest four or five and sometimes more to a cell. Sometimes they are on the sides of the cells. The laying workers prefer the drone cells as they can reach the bottom better to lay their eggs on the bottom. Still the brood capping is scattered at first until all of those start to grow and then you’ll see a lot of cells with multiple larvae.and then solid patterns of drone caps on worker comb.


I’d like to know more on “smoke them well to have them fill with honey”.



Smoking the bees makes them engorge themselves with honey because they are in survival mode in case they need to leave their hive because of fire


This is a great site full of knowledge from the experienced beekeepers out there. So glad I have found this site. Learning every year that’s for sure


I do wonder then what Plan is in place for a wild fire front advancing at 30kms/hr!



you have seen bees immediately start to gorge on honey when you have used the smoker haven’t you Bill?


The truly brillant elements of apiary management take away from
other ‘hobbies’ in that variants can be tested, often in quick time.
Having just completed one set of tests around a claim read elsewhere
some two weeks ago I was all keen to test this one.
So, I have just returned from the apiary having “smoked bees well”, on frames and in the air (flying), and guess what?
They flew and/or ran off the frame/entrance… just as they have done
since time immemorial.
My bees must be weird, eh?



Bees will suck honey down when you open the hive even if you don’t smoke but not as much as if you smoke them.

Smoking them well means giving them three or four puffs under the floor/or at the entrance and a similar amount under the crown board but then leaving the hive closed up for five minutes



Your “smoking them well” is SOP as a first approach to any colony, I would offer any bee head down in a cell is as it was before any approach. But I read you are convinced so I leave it bee.



Hi Anna, We call this popping the clutch in Queen Breeder circles, new queens getting the hang of laying, lay multiple eggs in a cell, so do young vigorous queens. See it all the time when grafting. Some of the best queens in my breeding lines still do it and two years old.


This myth has continued mostly because it was started by L.L. Langstroth and he was seldom wrong. But in this case, I’m quite sure he’s wrong. I have opened many a mating nuc with no smoke looking for queens and been hard pressed to find any bees that don’t have their head in a cell sucking up nectar. I see no difference as far as bees with their heads in cells and the use of smoke or the lack of the use of smoke. I think smoke works because it interferes with their sense of smell which interferes with raising the alarm.

As far as “smoking them well” I think that’s a matter of “just right” rather than “enough”. A little smoke works better than a lot of smoke, but a little smoke works worlds better than no smoke.