Apiary Hive Report 16 July 2023

Default Hive Reports Featured ImageClick HERE or on the logo for the full report. Today’s lead beekeeper was Gillian Turner, One of the colonies had drawn queen cells on several frames, and Gillian used this as an excellent training opportunity. All frames were examined, and the position of all queen cells noted, then the cover board went back on while the rest of the colonies were inspected – just in case one needed a queen cell. 

On the basis that the bees are probably happy with all of the queen cells that they have produced, our choice considered two aspects: position and appearance. The position is about physical protection from our handling of the frames; if it sticks out, there is a damage risk; if it is snuggled close to a side frame or well tucked into the wax, it stands a much better chance. Queen cells are sometimes built in clusters; removing unwanted cells without damaging the preferred cell can be difficult.

New queen cells have a smooth surface, and the bees build up a dimpled surface as the new queen develops. A sealed queen cell with a smooth surface may be a dud. Occasionally very long queen cells are seen; this happens when the larvae become detached from the royal jelly and drops down the cell, the workers extend the cell to accommodate her, but it’s pointless; no queen will emerge from these cells.

Swarm and supersedure queen cells tend to hang down the frame and are easier to spot. Emergency queen cells may hang down, but they are commonly mixed in with other broods, the cells being more curved, blend in with the surroundings and can be harder to spot. They might look small and stubby, but the bulk of the cell is hidden, and they will contain a full-size queen if allowed to develop. When the preferred queen cell had been selected, the rest of the queen cells were removed, and the frames were shaken off to check that none had been missed – it’s very easy to miss a queen cell on a frame covered in bees.