Protecting Q Cells

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Drone Bee
Dec 4, 2008
Reaction score
Dordogne 24360 France
Hive Type
Number of Hives
16 a mix of Commercial, National, 14 x 12, Dadant and a Warre
I gave two Nucs which were definitely queenless a sealed (just) queen cell on 16 Apr. A check on 18 Apr found BOTH nucs had torn down the cells.
Anyone any idea why they should do this?

The Q cells from my cup kit are due to go into mating mini nucs and the 2 nucs above on 25 Apr. In view of their actions so far would anyone recommend protecting the cells (wrapping in foil leaving the tip free)? Advice very welcome.

I wish I could find the book the bees are working from:(

Regards Mike
One was the Nuc I made up to act as a cell starter. I found the queen in the parent colony, put her in the bottom brood box and shook all the bees from the top brood box into the nuc.
The other was the "skinny queen" colony where the queen got into the super. To try and find her I "paired" the super frames - no luck. I then shook all the bees into the nuc through a queen excluder again no luck! I have since been through the 5 frames 3 times without finding her so either she is the most elusive queen ever or the nuc is queenless.
What are your views on protecting the Q cells in some way PH?
Your help is much appreciated:cheers2: Mike
I would give both of these nucs a frame of brood that has enough material on it young enough that they can make cells and lets see what actually happens?

If a colony tears down cells it usually means they already have a Q of some sort.

I would suggest a test frame as per above and take it from there.

To me queen cell tearing is quite usual. I think that they just sniff the cell foreign.

When we mate queens and take queens away, nucs bees become older, the difficulties to give a new quene or cell becomes bigger.

Just emerged queen bees take without doubt, but after 2 days it is often vanished.

There are problems. That is why I make mating nuc from rearing hive bees.
Queen cells are usually accepted when making nucs from the colony that reared the queen cells. When introducing a queen cell into a 'foreign' nuc I would alway protect it by using aluminium foil as you suggest.
Thanks PH and Eyeman.
The Nucs and Apideas will not be made up from the cell raising hive so I will protect them. If I have any cells left over I plan to put them in hair roller cages in a super to emerge.
Hope you have a great holiday PH and that the weather is kind to you.
:cheers2: Mike
Mainly having lovely weather and the islands are putting on a bonny show for us.