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Small queen cells?

Hey guys, Since my last post I ordered my hive and installed a nuc and everything’s been going really well for the first month or so until I opened it up again today and now I have a bit of a dilemma. I think I’ve come across 2 queen cells although I’m not sure as they seem so small to me compared to all queen cells iv previously seen, if anyone could confirm whether or not queen cells can be this small I’d really appreciate it as I’m quite stumped at the moment. I couldn’t locate the queen but could find 3-4 day old brood before I had to close the hive up as it was getting way to hot. I intend to open it up again this afternoon for a better look but any advice in the meantime would be great.

Thanks in advance, cheers

Probably play cups. You’ll get some each season.

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There should be an open surface where the queen cup (cell) is smooth - at the lower edge. You need to look at that (and photo for us if possible). If it is empty, don’t worry, they do it all the time. If it has a glisten of royal jelly or a grub in it, you are in for a supersedure or a swarm. :blush:

If it is closed, they are making a queen, or trying to… :open_mouth: However, I have never seen a real queen cell that short, so I think either they are playing, or they are planning but haven’t completed things yet. :blush:

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Thanks for the replies, so I need to check it from underneath to make sure its empty, as long as it cools down enough this afternoon I’ll open it up to do that, as well as try to find the queen or new eggs again just to be sure. It’s sure got me worried as I was planning on putting the supe on soon which I couldn’t see happening if it swarmed or lost it’s queen. Cheers


I managed to get back into the hive this afternoon and look a little further into it. The cell was indeed empty with neither royal jelly or an egg in it so that’s a relief for now. I also found the queen and many more fresh brood so she still seems healthy. I suppose ill just have to keep an eye on it and hope no more have popped up next time i open up the hive. I had never heard of play cups before so that is something ill keep in mind for future sightings, so once again thanks for the answers, cheers


Hey Sean,
I get them quite regularly, I just peel up the side of them so I don’t have to check them again next time if they haven’t taken them down.

False queen cells, or play cups, seem to be an important part of the health of a hive as it is so common to find them in a healthy hive. There was a time I would destroy a cell when I found them but now I leave them as the colony will simply make a replacement. I don’t regard it a message warning of swarming or supercedure, they are often made and nothing more happens with them.

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