I'm Unsure What I'm Seeing in My Hive
by Brad Baxter
(Cisco, Tx USA)
A Typical Queen Cell.
I'm very new to this and have not found someone locally to ask, so as you would expect this may be a very simple question.
I have two hives I put together last year and installed 3lb packages in each. Everything went fine through their first summer and they're now coming out of winter. I opened up one hive today to check things out and one was full of bees top to bottom (I use 2 hive bodies per hive) but I noticed clusters of larger than normal brood cells (usually on the bottoms of frames)hanging out and in general just kind of sticking out and around in clusters. I don't think they are queen cells because they look just like regular capped cells just longer and clustered so could they bee drones? They are full of larva.
I'm really afraid of swarming as I don't want to lose any bees right here at the first nectar flow. Any ideas? Any place where I can see some good pictures of inside a hive with comb in various stages?
Thanks for your help
It sounds as though you're seeing drone brood. The drone cells are a little larger and have domed caps. They're often on the lower potion of the frames, probably quite a lot clustered together.
Queen cells are very different, see the photo above, the cell is elongated and is usually on the lower part of the frame if it's a swarm cell. Supersedure cells are more often near the top of the frame.
Sometimes a colony will produce quite a number of queen cells, although they won't all be clustered together in the same place. It's more usual for a hive to make only one or two queens at a time.
It's just possible you have both drone brood and queen cells, although if you saw them side by side you'd see the difference.
I'm fairly certain you have drone brood but if you're still uncertain perhaps you could take a photo of it and send it to me.
The Bee Guy
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