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Supercedure cell in my hive...hmmm


My first hive that is about a month old had a supercedure cell in this morning. The hive is growing really well. I added a second box last weekend on top since the bottom was 80% filled out and full of bees. 2 weeks ago I merged some italians into the hive since I already had 3 hives and didn’t want anymore. The original hive and queen are buckfast bees. The queen is marked and has a clipped wing.

A week or two ago I moved one of the outer frame into the middle since it wasn’t being filled out as well. Do you think since I seperated the brood a little that the bees thought the queen was gone? I found lots of fresh eggs and the queen looked healthy.

I decided to remove the queen cell (which was in the middle of a brood frame). I also tried to put all frames with brood on them together. I have two new queens coming in a few weeks that were for my other two hives but I could use one for this hive if I need to.

Why did they build a supercedure cell?


It depends on how advanced the supercedure cell is. If it is only a cup, there’s nothing to worry about. If it was me, I would have left the brood how you arranged it, with the outer frames towards the center, however not side by side. I would checkerboard them.

The bees always put the queen cups in place. Apparently people call them 'play cups". Ignore them as long as they are only small.

You only need to put all the brood together before the onset of cold weather. However never separate it by any more than one frame. I hope this helps, cheers


The queen cell was completed and capped. It definately had a queen in it with jelly. Just one that I found.

I have heard that queen with a clipped wing are sometime seen by the bees as flawed. Don’t know if that is true or not.


That probably is true. Now at this stage, what I would do is remove the queen from that hive with a few frames of brood & bees to start a new colony & take it far enough away so the older bees don’t return & let the bees in the old hive carry on with the supercedure queen.


Do you think it could be the bees that I merged with the hive not fully accepting the queen? I had an extra package that I merged with a 3 week old hive using the newspaper trick which worked as advertised. They were merged just a week ago.

I just read an article that said it is common for hives that have just been merged or a new queen introduced to build supercedure cells initially.


Yes well that’s possible. If it was me, I would have kept it at 2 colonies. I reckon 2 queens are better than one.


What seems odd is the queen looks healthy, lots of fresh eggs and good tight laying pattern. Drone cells on the outer frames. Everything looks good best I can tell.


I just did a full hive inspection. No supercedure cells this time!

Hopefully the one from last weekend was just from the commotion of the bees I added to the hive the week prior.

The top box is very full of bees and the second brood box is starting to get filled out. Fresh eggs, uncapped and capped brood. The capped brood fills the whole frame all the way to the edges.

I did see a cell or two that had two eggs in it. Does that happen sometimes? Also, on half of one side of one of the outer most frame was about 1/3 drone cells. Could there be a laying worker in the hive with the queen and the 1,000’s of brood?



Hi Joe, they are beautiful looking frames of brood. I’m a bit puzzled by the drone brood on one side of one frame. Do you mean one third of the frame is drone brood? The bees wont normally build worker comb on one side & drone comb on the other side unless one side has been damaged & the bees repaired it with drones. If it is drone comb: that would be built by the workers for the queen to lay drone eggs in. If you have SHB in your area, I’d recommend tearing it down. If you do, the bees will replace it with more drone comb. The best option would be to tear the drone comb down & place that frame above a QX to let the workers hatch. That’s provided you have enough bees up there to care for that brood. Another alternative would be to use that frame to help out a weaker colony. Replace that frame with a frame of fresh foundation.

You wont have a laying worker working alongside the queen. A good indicator of a laying worker is drones being raised in worker cells. Not just the odd one, but every one.


Thanks Jeff. It will be a week and a half until I can do another inspection. I will try to get pic of the frame with drones. I was surprised how uniform the area of the frame was with drones. It was like someone drew a line and made one half drone and one half workers. Maybe they are just really organized bees. It was only one side of one frame like that and it was one of the outer frames.

I did see one cell with two eggs but only one.


Hi Joe, I wouldn’t be concerned about a double egg laying in one cell. If you have a strong population of workers, that half a frame of drones probably wont spell disaster for your hive. However if your hive swarms or weakens for some reason & there isn’t enough bees to protect the brood, the large areas of drone comb will get less protection than worker comb, that will allow beetle the opportunity to lay eggs in it.


The bees sensed something is wrong with their queen so they wanted to replace her before it’s too late.


A week after the supercedure cell she is still laying fresh eggs in any space she can find. The frames are really filled with brood, wall to wall on the 5-6 middle frames. Outer ones mostly pollen, drones, and honey. They have a second brood box on the bottom that is starting to get drawn. The queen has a clipped wing which I have heard some bees don’t like and see it as a flaw. So far she has been very productive and they did not build a second queen cell a week later.

I still think the bees I merged with the hive had something to do with it but time will tell.



Are the cells charged and capped?

Sometimes they practice with play cups. You only need worry when charged with egg/larvae and Royal jelly. Soon as it is capped they will be off (weather being good) or already absconded



There was only one in the middle of the framed capped and charged (being the middle and not bottom and only one, I assumed supercedure). I decided to remove it knowing I have 2 new queens coming this month, if the bees were correct in replacing her. She is a new queen the was installed with the packet first week of May. Her laying pattern is perfect and continues to lay.

No signs of swarming otherwise. I added a second box at the same time.


It is never a really good idea to remove capped cells like that. If they have swarmed you have killed the new Queen. If she is clipped the new virgin may have ignored the old Queen it does happen.

You need to have a plan and equipment to deal with such situations.


There were fresh eggs and I have queens coming so I wasn’t concerned about being queenless.

Are you saying the new queen would allow the old (she is new this Spring) clipped queen to continue in the hive and both be laying?


it has been know for the new queen to live side by side the old one


Hi Joe, for me 5-6 frames filled with brood wall to wall would be sufficient to give a colony a good workforce. I wouldn’t add another brood box, chances are they’ll make more drones down there & not many workers.

I’d be trying to get the bees up above the QX & into the flow frames. If your conditions are good & your population is healthy, I’d move the two outside frames above the QX, after removing the drone comb. Then move the two brood frames on each side to the sides, then fill the gaps with frames with fresh foundation.

If you don’t use foundation, the bees will most likely build drone comb. Going by your photos, the bees still have enough room to make drones in the gaps. If you use wax foundation, the bees will more than likely build some drone comb, however the vast majority will be workers.

Anyway, this is what I would do, good luck with that, cheers