Queen cups

August 4, 2013

I took a moment this week to head over to my third hive. I had not visited it in a couple of weeks. When I arrived I could not believe my eyes. I opened the hive and discovered that the population had boomed!!! The hive was crowded.  At 1 pm in the afternoon, most of the bees were still foraging away from the hive. This was when those bees were not home. I could only imagine the lack of space when they returned for the evening. I needed to intervene. I did a thorough inspection. and was surprised to find multiple queen cups

Everything looked fantastic!  The queen was easy to find-she has a red dot on her. The brood looked great and the honey stores were good. They were just running out of room and a bit cranky because of crowding. I had already placed one honey super on the hive and decided to place another on top. This was like adding another floor to their bee high rise. With the extra space, they have more room plus busy work with new foundation to build out. I did find two empty queen cups. I removed them.

In my research, I have learned that most hives keep a couple of queen cups ready for use-just in case they need to requeen the hive.  However, it is not uncommon to find queen cups when the hive is getting ready to swarm. Queen cups are usually found at the lower portion of a frame. They look like dangling peanuts off the frame and have openings on the bottom. So, regardless of why they were there, I just removed them. It will not harm the hive.  Now with the extra space, if they were going to swarm, hopefully they will change their mind.

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest


Author/Blogger/Freelancer-Sharing adventures with backyard chickens, beekeeping, gardening, crafting, cooking and more.



9 thoughts on “Queen cups”

  1. I am learning so much about how interesting bee-keeping is – I never knew 🙂
    As an aside, can you tell us about the ring you were wearing in the picture – is it a symbol or text that's engraved? Sorry to be nosey, it just caught my eye in the picture on FB.

    • Thanks! Oh MaryJane, you are too sweet! It is called a LOVE ring that my husband presented to me in the Caribbean for our 10th wedding anniversary. I wear it on my right hand ring finger all the time.

  2. I still can't believe how brave you are. I'm 100% better with bees and love the thought of a hive but I'm just not that brave lol. The word 'swarm' just has me running for the hills lmao. Plus I don't like honey so I guess there's no incentive but I do provide bee hotels for any bee during winter.
    Love hearing about your hive experiences though, very interesting.
    What does that queen cup do though?

    • Queen cups are the places where the hive can make a new queen. Instead of them growing up in a regular cell, they grow up in the queen cups. The first queen to hatch will sting the other baby queens yet to emerge from their cups. If two hatch simultaneously, they will battle to the death of one.

  3. I find bees fascinating. I know very little, but enjoy NGO and Nature programs learning about all kinds of animals and insects. Not a fan of spiders though. I have been known to scream when one lands on me! 🙁 If I were younger, and less strapped for funds, I might try a hive. I do try to have flowers in the yard to attract bees and butterflies though. Hubby and I raise backyard chickens and are breeding Lavender Orpingtons and French Black Copper Marans to help supplement our SSA. I find your blog very informative and easy to follow. Thank you.

  4. That's fascinating! I can't wait until we can move to the country and get bees! Right now we have no spots in the yard that aren't occupied by rabbits, chickens, or crazy dogs, so until we move I'll just have to live and learn vicariously through you! 🙂

  5. I plan to try the pumpkin/squash/cucumber worming method! Thanks for the info!

    K at Tonga Ridge Acres

    P.S. I will also checkout the Tilly page on Facebook and ordered the posts sent to my email…that's 3 entries I think for the necklace drawing! 🙂 Thanks!


Leave a Comment

About me

Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.