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Oversized drone cells?


Hi folks, I recently completed a successful swarm control split and checked on the larger of the two hives yesterday. This is the hive that made a new queen and I feel like she is doing a good job. Reminds me of her mama!
The original colony was a cutout and I had laced the comb into frames with linen thread using thumbtacks on the top and bottom of the frames, sometimes two smaller combs to a frames horizontally . Inevitably those frames are less than straight and one has a little hole between the original combs where they have never joined the comb up. While I have not had trouble inspecting them i have wanted to cycle them out in due course. So back to the inspection, on the fourth frame I discovered what looks like three really large smooth capped but domed rounded cells. I was shocked thinking they could be queen cells but i removed them and opened them up to find what look like drones. The location of all of them was right on a join between two of those original combs and the cell size is quite varied and in some cases a bit distorted. There was also a play cup, quite incomplete. I don’t think there is a plan afoot and I am (almost) positive they were not queens inside. Have you seen anything like this before?

See the round ball-like lump close to the bottom left side and the little hole above it?
This next picture is of the same frame inverted and you can see all the cells in question toward the top right.
These wavy frames are on their way out as soon as i can work out the best strategy to save the brood.


Some of my frames are foundation free. Where they join is a favourite place for queen cells. Drones tend to be at the periphery of any frame anyway so it’s probably just that. Queen cups are not an intention to swarm neither are drones; Queen cells are though


Put them above an excluder and wait for them to emerge if you really want to get them out. But if they are in the frame, I would leave them…


Hi Cathie, I always cycle those frames out fairly quickly by placing them above a QX after cutting any of the drone brood out. After the brood emerges, the bees will use that frame to store honey in. I like my brood combs to be nice & straight.

Yes & as @Dee mentioned, those joins in the combs seem to be a favorite place for the bees to place queen cups.


As I relocate frames containing some drone cells above the QX what happens to the drones as they emerge?
I always thought that they couldn’t pass back down through the excluder or is this wrong?
If they can’t escape are they destined to spend the rest of their life surrounded by all those females with no hope of fulfilling their potential?


No, they cannot get through the excluder. Most of the hives around here have a notch in the inner cover and even some of the migratory covers have a notch. The drones will need a way out. A shim or a stick under an inner or migratory cover will give them an exit.