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Queen Cups - normal or not?

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malawi2854 

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Hello,

New beekeeper here... please be gentle.

My colony is doing well, under what appears to be a brilliant queen, they have brood on 5-6 frames, and are expanding well. They have almost an entire frame full of capped honey (which I'm not sure is normal!), and they have one frame which is pretty much empty, they are about 2/3 through drawing it out.

Ever since they went into the hive really, they seem to have been producing queen cups. This scares the hell out of me, but my Dad (who kept bees when I was younger) doesn't seem to think it's anything to worry about at all, and that it's perfectly normal for them to make them, and just not make use of them. He thinks I'm overreacting - but everything I've read tells me to fear queen cells like the plague! :leaving:

Am I right in thinking that there are queen cups, which are just little goblet-shaped cells that they make, and aren't that much to worry about - and there are queen cells which are more peanut shaped, which will be used to raise a new queen, which SHOULD be worried about?

Or am I completely wrong on everything? I've very confused!


Also - just out of interest more than anything else - that frame of capped honey - it is almost all capped honey - it's a 14x12 frame, any idea how much (roughly) is in there?


Thanks!
 

MuswellMetro 

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Hello,

New beekeeper here... please be gentle.


Thanks!
welcome, and remember any question you ask, helps others, who want to ask the same question

Queen cups or play cups, are normal, so long as they are empty and you have sufficient laying space for the Queen

but just check them to see there is no eggs or larva in them as they can quickly change to queens cells if there is a sudden increase in forgage or you have fed 1:1. syrup

The Bees fill up the brood with honey/sugar as the stores are full, then queen has no option but to lay in the play cup...and vola, you have a queen cell


QCells are peanut shape, yes, but scrub queen cells can be little bigger than drone cells, and the can hide them, check around the edge of the frames for bumps..The bees dont read books

honey, a super frame of honey is about 1kg ( 2.2lbs, )so a 14x12 of honey is about 3kg
 
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Midland Beek 

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Queen cell cups are absolutely normal.

It is useful to note that queens lay in everything they come across - worker cell, drone cell or queen cell cup. If a queen lays in a queen cell cup, it is the workers choice whether they get a new queen. If the workers don't want to rear new queens, then the egg is chewed up.
 

malawi2854 

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If the workers don't want to rear new queens, then the egg is chewed up.
Sounds a lot like treason to me! Bees continue to amaze me more and more every day!

thank you both very much for your help - all the books make anything vaguely QC-like sound like the end of the world!

So, should I squish the cells they make, or just leave them to it and keep an eye on them?
 

Peter Cox 

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Sounds a lot like treason to me! Bees continue to amaze me more and more every day!

thank you both very much for your help - all the books make anything vaguely QC-like sound like the end of the world!

So, should I squish the cells they make, or just leave them to it and keep an eye on them?
Leave them bee and play with them that's why they are called play cells. Actually called play cells becuase the bees build them for practise so they know how to do it if they need to do it. Better to know where they are than for them to build some more for real where youve never seen them
 

oliver90owner 

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Sounds a lot like treason to me

The workers run the ship. They decide on what to do and when to do it. The queen is simply the egg-layer and unique pheromone supply for the colony.

Queen, as a term, was possibly not the best word when it was used for bees, but it has always been that way and was a good way to describe her. They thought she was the ruler, in those days long ago when they knew no better..... We now know differently.

A bit like 'electricity flows from positive to negative' and 'the Sun rises in the east'. Both are 100% wrong, but we keep using the same terminology hundreds of years after we have found out the real way things happen!

Regards, RAB
 

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