Round queen cell

In the 2 years we have been keeping bees, I have never seen a round queen cell.  Most queen cells are elongated, but this one is a round ball.  A week ago this hive was doing fine and had a queen, then while inspecting them we noticed they were a little aggressive.  My poor husband got stung 4 times and finally put on his gloves. We looked and did not see any new eggs and searched for the queen, but did not find her.  There were 3 other queen cells in the hive too.  Maybe the queen died from natural causes? Maybe she was rejected from the hive for some reason?  Who knows for sure.  The queen cells look like emergency cells, so we left them as is and will check this hive in 2 weeks.

A round queen cell.

A round queen cell.

Close up of round queen cell.

Close up of round queen cell.


What’s the Queen Doing There?

We recently moved our nucs into regular sized hives.  We opened up one hive and found the queen on top of the inner cover. What is the queen doing there?  Since it was a relatively new hive to her we assumed maybe she got a little confused, so we gently guided her back to the opening of the inner cover and back down into the hive.

Laying Worker Bee

A laying worker is a worker bee that lays unfertilized eggs in the absence of a queen. Only drones (male bees) develop from the eggs of a laying worker because drones only have one set of chromosomes from the mother.

This is one sign that you have a laying worker in your hive and that the hive is queenless. You can see multiple eggs in a single cell.

This particular hive we knew was queenless because we were trying to let the hive rear a new queen, but they were unsuccessful.  We bought a queen and introduced her to the hive. All is well now.

Queen cells

While inspecting our hive this weekend we found some queen cells – a possible sign that the hive might have been preparing to swarm.  We made a quick decision to attempt a split.  We moved these new queen cells into a nuc hive along with a few frames of brood, bees and food (honey & pollen).  Now time to wait and see if it is successful.

Marking our queen

We saw our queen the other day and we decided to mark her.  It makes it easy to find her when you are doing a hive inspection.  It also helps during swarming season to know when a queen swarmed and you have a new one.

Queen in the marking cage

Queen marked - white dot on her back

The markers we use are Posca by Uni.  And if you are wondering why we used white, it is because there is an international color code you follow depending on when the queen was produced.  This queen was born in 2011.

Years ending in 1 or 6 = White
Years ending in 2 or 7 = Yellow
Years ending in 3 or 8 = Red
Years ending in 4 or 9 = Green
Years ending in 5 or 0 = Blue