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There Are Queen Cells In My Hive


After yet another post about rubbed-out queen cells could I post this?

A good idea for all beginners to print this off then commit to memory

Can't find Queen, did find queen cells..what to do?

Nice brochure thanks Dee


It would save a lot of panic :slight_smile:


It would also help that more beginners would read, learn the Bee Life Cycle and a bit of Basic Bee Husbandry.

I’m seeing more and more what a lot of older Beeks were worried about.

Quite a few prospective beeks are not really taking Bee Keeping seriously - If they were keen to buy a puppy or other pet they would begin to realise that it is not all Honey and Pretty Flowers



Great arrival to read n reference ! I’m going to re read again later so marked it on my phone for reference. Thankz !


This is a fabulous publication, thank you @Dee. I am going to have to try to make my husband read it - he has a murderous approach to queen cells. He isn’t going to like what it says, but hopefully he will have an openable mind, even if it isn’t exactly open yet… :wink:


Right now beekeeping is often Headlines n the Popularity of the Flow-Hive with a simple honey tap is drawing a few unsuspecting Newbee in as well.

This infusion of new people is good n bad. It is a might big responsibility for old Beeks to get off their “Soap Box” n help. New people are always needed to replace the older generation or the hobby n interest dies ! Yip ! A lot of very uneducated people trying to come in right now (including this returnee). We need help n encouragement not negativism !!! Yes ! There will many people fail because they didn’t check it out “one I O ta” (not at all) before investing in the “flow” …

I do appreciate any encouragement, thots n info !! That’s why I am here n taking local classes … We do have several beekeeping associations or clubs but not really local. My local bee supplier has kind of taken me under his wings as well as the class instructor who is a teacher at one of our collages n raise bees for a number of years in different parts of the U.S.
Again, Thankz for everyone’s help n support. This will keep me on course once my Nuc’s get her n I get my beekeeping feet wet again ! :+1::blush:

pix from our class on Hive Inspections n Record Keeping 201. We will work on live hives next class.


here in Australia they promote that you should keep an eye on your bees every spring to see if there’s Queen Cells inside… and if you do… get rid of them…

so that means, you need to be in your hives every 10ish days…

but then they say, by the time you see the queen cells, its already too late… the bees will swarm no matter what…

The Decision has already been made and they will swarm…

there’s so much contradictory information going around its hard to make head nor tail of it all… :confused:

I have already made some decisions for next season based on the information that I’ve gathered MYSELF over the past 12 months…


Here in the UK they advocate once a week - primarily because from Egg to Emerson is 16 days 3 Days as an Egg, 5 days as a larvae, and 8 in Pupate. Once the queen cells are capped (day 8) then swarming prep is already in hand and planned - capping day is usually the day the swarm leaves - weather permitting - but that means up to and 8 day window without a laying Queen and the Virgin has to emerge, kill the other Virgin Queens (sisters) and then be mated - if a Virgin is not mated within 3 weeks of emergence, she will be a drone layer as the ability to be fertilized is lost.

If you check weekly - even if they are preparing to swarm there are ways of splitting and pre-empting so you will not loose the main swarm and will be left hopefully with a second Queen right hive.

Bees have to Swarm to reproduce - it is a big part of the full bee cycle and understanding the cycle of Queens, Workers and Drones will go a long way to understanding how the hive works. If you understand the principles it will save a load of heart ache and worry - not to say there wont be any, you will be more prepared and will know what to do in each circumstance.

Hope that helps? :bee: :honeybee: :bee: :honeybee: :bee: :honeybee: :bee: :honeybee:


You have to understand the old nugget…bees don’t read books. They are programmed to survive and swarming is survival.
You have to bear in mind that these reproduction figures are fluid. Queens do emerge up to four days later than the 16 often quoted. They are not being kept back by the workers they are emerging late. The first emerging virgin running around killing her sisters is not as common as films about bees would have us believe. If the hive is strong the worker bees will keep back emerged virgins till the first is ready to fly then she will swarm with some of them. This is a cast or afterswarm and can happen more than once. The worker bees make the decisions.
2013 in the UK was a bad weather year for mating flights, some queens did not get out for six weeks yet still managed to get mated successfully. The bees strive to survive and have mechanisms that we do not understand to do so. So nothing is written in stone.
Bees will swarm well before queen cells are capped if you tear them down and the original queen is still there. They will just make more and leave early. They can make queen cells on three day old larvae which will be capped three days later, four days before you look into the hive again, left wondering where half your bees have gone and "how did I miss that queen cell?"
Much to ponder.


It’s all as clear as mud really…

I have an observation slash question:

I caught my bees as a small swarm back in November (spring) and they built up over the summer. The old queen put out some supersedure cells and the hive was successfully re-queened. The new queen is a fantastic layer, but she periodically (rather regularly actually) throws out supersedure cells (could be swarm cells but are usually in the middle of a frame, not the bottom). Why?

I was in there looking at a capped Q cell and literally watched the queen stride up and tear it down! She clearly doesn’t want to be superseded, but the colony keeps on creating Q cells.

Any thoughts on this, or thoughts on managing my colony would be cool. Cheers, Paul


Fascinating article by the way. Thanks for sharing.


Maybe she has poor genes, or weak pheromones. She doesn’t determine the supercedure cells, the hive does… So I guess the hive isn’t happy with the queen, even if she is strong and aggressive. Hard to know what is on the mind of a hive, but that makes it all the more worth studying!


Yes, the bees are unhappy with her. They would be in trouble when she fails. It might be an idea to remove her the next time and let the bees rear a new queen. You could pop her into a two frame nuc as insurance


Thanks Dee. My concern is that we are getting close to winter and I’m not convinced that the weather will be good enough for a virgin queen to mate before I winter down the hive. The 10 day forecast put the day time highs between 17 and 21c… when the next virgin hatches, if I remove the queen, the temp will be even lower… thoughts?


Then I would be sourcing a new mated queen asap.
I have lost 2 colonies over winter due to failing queens. It is such a sorry sight to see a cupful of dead bees surrounding a dead queen with not a single other bee in sight when you open up in the Spring.
It took me a long time to stop being sentimental about queens…a long time. I share your angst about it.
Organise that queen. Arrange her delivery after you have made them hopelessly queen-less and you should have no problem with her introduction.


Hi Dee,

Can you please point me towards some info on creating a 2 frame nuc? Or is this just two frames of bees and brood inside a five frame nuc…? I do like to experiment and the window to winter isn’t yet closed! (I think my biggest problem is that I just took a full frame of brood with two great Q cells out and put it into a friends failing hive, so I have less brood than usual).


Exactly like you say, but make sure you close up the gap with a follower/dummy board, and make a small entrance. If you had 2 frames of brood and food, I might give them an empty frame to work on too.


Five frame nuc.
One frame emerging brood…no queen cells as you are putting the queen in
One frame food
3 frames drawn comb
Small entrance.
Four days or so later swap the now emerged empty comb with the food frame.
One frame of emerging brood will give you three frames of bees. They will build up very quickly if the queen continues to lay as she has plenty of room and lots of nurse bees.


OK @Sting, I just want to clarify. @Dee’s instructions are for creating a 5 frame nuc, using 2 frames from an active hive, and 3 frames of stored drawn comb, if you have them. She is calling it a 2 frame nuc, because you are taking 2 frames from the hive in question, but it will actually have 5 frames. It is entirely possible (but less reliably viable) to make smaller nucs if you don’t have stored drawn comb.